Uphill Both Ways

To travel to and from the Waldorf training center, I take 5 modes of transportation over the course 18 hours spanning 240 miles. I joke that I am getting a degree in Expert Commutting. This is because I live quite far from my school. Living far away has a host of great reasons that I will get into another time. Today, I would like to write a portion of my commute. Specifically, the distance between the training center and the basement apartment that I rent out two nights a week. 

The distance between my school and my apartment is between 2.0 and 2.5 miles. The variation in distance depends on the specific streets traveled. I use my bicycle to get to and from the school. I have also walked the whole distance a few times. The majority of my travels are on a smooth, level, fairly busy thruway style street. 
The training center is located on the same grounds as a Waldorf school hosting pre-K through grade 8. It is located near the top of a hill in a medium-sized university town in the Pacific NW. When in class, I feel as if I am literally sitting on the limbs of trees. 

up the hill and in the woods
The basement apartment is located atop a steep hill with a beautiful view of distant mountains. 

a view of the mountains
As I wrote before, my 2.5 mile bicycle commute is flat, primarily. However, both the school and my apartment are located atop hills. This means 

I travel uphill both ways.

I feel as if I have passed into some sort of elite club. Thirty years from now, when I speak to my grandchildren, I will have the privilege of letting them know that, 

Back in my day, we didn’t have fancy self-driving cars or hover boards. I had to ride a BIKE to school. It was hard work on using my own energy power… And get this! It was uphill. Both ways!

For a more scientific way of looking at this, I bring your attention to Google maps beta bicycle directions (I highly recommend them). Below is the altitude readout from apartment to school. As you can see, I start out 154 ft above the flat part. There is also a serious steep bit right at the beginning. When I roll down it I have the back brake locked down and I feather the front brake. It’s actually quite nerve-wracking. Then we flow through the middle, nice and smooth, until the gradual ascent of 190 ft to get to school. 

making 190 ft look like cake

Not a numbers person? No problem. Below is an image of my bike on the road with the camera level with gravity. This is on the way back to the basement apartment after school is finished. 


Need I remind you, I travel uphill both ways.

SO! Why do I mention this? Good question. I mention this because my twice daily twice weekly commute, uphill both ways, is a metaphor. Oh, it is real, don’t get me wrong, but it is also a metaphor. Twice a week, while on my way to school, I begin downhill. I think to myself, “Wow, this is going to be really easy.” Then I hit the smooth transition into pedaling and I think, “I can manage this.” And just as I think I’ve got it handled, I hit the hill. I have to climb. I have to put all my efforts into making it up that hill. Most of the time, I have to get off my bike and walk. I don’t JUST walk, either. I have to push my bike up the hill, as well. Just like school. I think it’ll be a breeze, “I’ve done this before,” then I realize I have to put some effort into it. THEN, I realize that actually, it’s more than I can handle right now, at least withiout having to push. 

Twice a week, for the next 10 months. 

And that’s just the first year. 


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