Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Scrubbing away the years

This diatribe is loosely related to the whole construction thing. Really. Stay with me and all will become apparent...

So I ventured into the basement this evening where my two bikes - the good one and the beater - were waiting patiently in the shadowy space behind the furnace. The good one is a lightweight hybrid, the one I ride when I want to enjoy myself, the one that would probably disappear in a heartbeat if I ever locked it up outside. Which I don't. So it never actually goes anywhere. I ride big, fast loops to wherever my wanderlust takes me, like the two Great Lakes within striking distance of my house. Then I come home and tuck it back away, out of sight.

The beater is quite another story. It's a big, rough-around-the-edges mountain bike. It was once a desirable machine, a Miele, with solid gears powering a solid, purple frame. But the years have taken their toll on this machine, so the casual observer would simply ignore it. Which is a good thing, because this is the machine that I bought, used, expressly to commute to work. I didn't want to cry if it ever got stolen.

As you may know, I've been working from home for a few years, so the beater bike sat unused and unloved all along. Until today. While driving home with the sunroof open, it dawned on me that it was almost time for me to return to my bike-commuting ways. I admit it's easier to simply jump in the car and drive. But I miss powering myself to the other side of the city. I miss the extra zing it adds to the workday.

So when I got home I pulled the beater out of its long-term parking spot, pumped up the tires, got the computer working again (rule #1: I never ride a bike that doesn't have a computer on it) and made sure all its parts still worked. I picked up a new lock and gloves, too, and will soon replace the ratty old paniers with bags that don't look like they're about to spill my clothes and lunch all over the road. Toe clips are on tap for tomorrow, and if the weather holds, Thursday's the day for my first ride.

In so many respects, it's trivial, I know. But what is life if not for the little things that bring little smiles to us and those around us? Maybe I need to rethink things a little. Pretty soon, I'll have the time to do just that, at least twice every workday.

Your turn: How do you get to work?

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momemts in time said...

It seems ironic to contemplate getting to work as I sit here with no driving for 4 weeks and thankful that I now have a 'walking' plaster ~ ie can move around the house and further afield slowly taking crutches with me.

Work is 6-7 miles away and my wife does not drive and no one from woirk lives anywhere near me. The nearest train station is 3/4 mile from home and occasionally I would not have to change to get to the one 1/4 mile from the office. Busses are more problamatic as my office is on the far side of the city.

In the past I have sometimes cycled but our city is not at all bike friendly, so normally car or train is used. In two years we may have a tram operational...

I have been contemplating a small motorbike / scooter. If we had proper cycle routes that would be preferable but since our city is built for cars we need fundemental changes so green & healthy optiopns are not just available for the few who live closer or can use the off road tracks.

But yes on the days where I have cycled I felt better and my Dutch bike could do with more regular use...

daisy said...

I drive to work. It's 11 miles which isn't too bad, but to take a bike would be through a not so neighborly part of town and well...can't really take it on the expressway! So...I drive....a bit shamefully.

theMuddledMarketPlace said...

In good weather, if work is close by + if there are facilities for safe parking ...then i cycle.
And usually sing at the top of my voice while i do it!

Sometimes my husband gives me a lift.

The rest of the time a weekly bus ticket works well. I've met fascinating, irritating, cheerful, appalling, helpful, drunk, young, old, infirm, bombastic and ordinary people this way. Mixed in with everyone, I'm sure there have been angels too.

Anne said...

I drive. I've been riding in with my husband more often recently since we at the same location and the kids' schedules are more stable. It's about a 30 minute drive, or a 1.5-2 hour trip using public transportation. Google Maps is telling me it'll take an 1:40 to get to work via a bike. I'll stick with the car.

MB said...

Bikes have computers? Man, I'm still living in the dark ages.

I've been unemployed since November so the only commute I have now is a drive to the gym. When I was working, it was a mile walk to the train station and a 15-20 minute train ride into the city. I used to bike to work but it got too dangerous. Every jerk stuck in traffic did their best to run me off the road.

Be safe out there.