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Gear Prudence: I’m starting my dream job next week. It’s exciting, but there’s one problem: I’ve bike commuted 10 miles each way to my old job for the last five years and have loved it. But my new job is only a quarter mile away from my apartment, and it seems like it’s too close to bike to work. Is there a minimum distance when bike commuting doesn’t make sense anymore? —Choosing Lovely Occupation, Sacrificing Exercise
Dear CLOSE: Yes and no. A quarter mile isn’t much of a bike ride, and it’s highly unlikely that you’d derive the same joys from it that you have from your former 10-mile commute. Moreover, you’d probably spend as much time getting your bike out of your apartment and locking it up at the office as you would spend actually riding; the math on that simply doesn’t work. In this regard, walking to the office makes more sense and there’s much to recommend it: You still get to spend some time outside and embark on at least a little physical activity before and after the workday.
But also consider this: Maybe having your bike with you at the office rather than at home will facilitate some post-work cycling. Take in some recreational laps or ride to the grocery store. Certainly not every place you’d want to ever go is within walking distance, so you could still bike there. And if there isn’t a place you’d want to go that isn’t within walking distance, come up with one. Also, you must have a really great apartment. —GP
Gear Prudence: I hate riding up hills. How do I hate this less? —Clearly Legs Inferior, Massively Bummed
Dear CLIMB: Sun Tzu said “Know your enemy,” and far be it from GP to disagree. Hop on your bike and take a trip to the National Museum of Natural History. Assiduously study of all the geology exhibits. Read some books about glaciers. Watch a PBS special on plate tectonics. Better yet, rewatch the Sound of Music. If the hills are alive, then surely you can smite them.
Here’s the deal: Hills are what they are, and there’s not much you can do about it. Riding up them is both a physical and mental act, but it’s mostly mental. Part of the trick in overcoming them isn’t thinking that they’re not objectively bad but convincing yourself that you’ve already ridden over a hill comparatively worse. If you’ve done it before, you can assuredly do it again. Or get off your bike and walk. It’s not the end of the world. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.