Last weekend I was in the Northampton/Amherst area of Massachusetts, cycling and coffeeing and culturing with my friend Norah. We rode primarily on the Central Mass Rail Trail, an 11-mile stretch of shady paved path, designed for multi-use. I posted about our cycling here– Together and separate cycling.
I’m back home and having a tough week, partly because of busyness and deadlines, and partly because of the death of someone in my circle of close friends and their families. I’m hosting a gathering of those close friends and family on Friday, so it’s both a busy and a sad time.
Today I had a therapy appointment, which is about 4 miles from my house. It’s an easy bike ride– somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes, strongly dependent on traffic lights. 13 minutes is my land speed record, requiring perfect sailing through all intersections.
Nonetheless, I find myself sometimes having an inner debate about whether to ride there and back. Considerations fly around, like:
- Maybe it’s going to rain/hail/unleash locusts before I get back;
- Maybe it’s too hot/cold/windy/muggy to ride comfortably;
- I really should go to the grocery store/post office/random other store afterwards, so I need the car;
- I’m feeling low and not up to the effort;
- Insert random other free-floating anxieties here.
This morning, however, I remembered something: I rode all weekend with and without Norah, entirely in 20-30 minute chunks. The rail trail isn’t that long, and my destinations were all pretty close by. So I pedaled here and there and other places, all in small increments. By the end of the weekend, I had racked up 34 miles without even noticing. All from riding for 20 minutes at a time.
So I did it again today. It was easy: I have loads of biking clothes for multiple biking situations, my old reliable road bike was fully present and accounted for (just needed to pump tires), and it was ONLY 20 MINUTES.
Actually, I got there in 15 (no traffic to speak of– yay). And I rode home– didn’t keep track of the time, but it didn’t take longer than 20 minutes.
So we’re both on board with this. What’s the value of 20 minutes?
Readers, how do you feel about doing something (walking/yoga/cycling/swimming/etc) for 20 minutes (or some short amount of time)? Is it harder to do? Easier to do? Do you always do it? Do you never do it? I’d love to hear from you.