Thursday, December 20, 2007

Life's rich texture

Thursday spinning, prowling for Friday

Hectic, determined, undeterred

Not caring to be one day

Short of a full week

Long night of a late December

Dark from night,

Light from snow

Short of a full year

Raucous skiing, silent in the woods

Heartbeat, deep breaths in

The twilight reaches out

Short, in a full life

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bike -vs- express bus

Yesterday I rode to work even though there was a prediction for significant snow. I rationalized that worst case I could always throw my bike on the bus rack and bus home in the evening if the snow seemed like too much to ride in. I left work early just to give myself a bit of an edge on dealing with the snow which had been falling quite heavily all afternoon. When I pulled out of the parking garage (indoor, heated... I will miss this company when my contract ends this month!) the traffic was completely stopped. Gridlock was in full force with no more than one car clearing an intersection per green cycle. Cars were pointed every which way as each tried to beat the other for the best position in the traffic snarl and most of the drivers were in fact snarling at each other. Not me! I twisted and turned between them all as I rode merrily along, slower than my usual pace but at a steady pace roughly one block forward motion for each car length of forward motion my snarling neighbors were making. So I smiled at them all and happily peddled along. The bus stop where I would catch the bus, should I decide not to ride home, is about four blocks from my office. I had traffic radio on quietly in one ear and was hearing that it wasn't going to get any better so even though I arrived at the bus stop at the same time as the express bus I would ride did, I just kept on peddling. It ended up taking me something under an hour which is more than twice my usual time but what a great ride. Of course when I got home, I had to shovel so I ended up with quite a workout, all of it with a smile on my face. This morning I woke up and was a bit tired partly from yesterday's workout and partly from fitful sleep about my contract ending and not having another one on the horizon. In any event, I decided it would be a bus day. I bought a Go To Card last May and put $100 in it. If you don't know, this is a card where you prepay and then when you ride it gets deducted from the balance. When I bought it I thought it would be great if I made it to October before I had to replenish it. Well I have missed very few bike commuting days and even though I have used it a few times for non-commuting trips, this morning it registered a balance of $79 after charging me the $2.75 express fare. It's been a good run for commuting but it's only going to get better. See it took over an hour on the express bus this morning and when I passed over the trial I normally ride, there was no traffic on it at all. The time I spent this morning actually on the bus (which was of course late...) was more than I ever spend riding to work AND showering. Don't get me wrong here, I like taking the bus sometimes but today I would have gotten to work quicker and more refreshed if I had ridden. The message I'm taking away is that when the going gets rough, ride the bike! Now if I can just figure out how to keep my glasses from fogging up when I ride in the cold I will be set...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Car 222, Bike about 300

So I started keeping track of my car mileage a few months back figuring I would compare bike vs car and then my bike computer broke so I can only guess the bike mileage. In October I only drove the car 155 miles, 210 in September and 222 in November. Like some others in the bloggesphere, I am just making small changes that affect my life. I am not trying to save the world but then if everyone made this kind of small change it would change the world. I rode today, first snow ride of the season, and it was pretty uneventful. Took about the same amount of time, perhaps a little longer but not so much as to notice. The bike lanes were all gone since the streets weren't plowed to the curb yet and the bike count in the office bike rack was down from around twenty last Friday to six today. Tomorrow snow is predicted again and it may be snowing when it's time to leave and I just may ride the bus. The express bus that comes by two blocks from my house takes almost exactly the same amount of time as it does to ride but it's not as fun. Either way the car will stay in the garage...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Two views of stupidity

So I realize at about 7:30 on Friday night that we are nearly out of cat food and since I worked from home, hadn't gotten a lick of exercise. Seeing as how Chuck & Don's is only around 4 miles away, I jump on my bike, pack on my back to go pick up food for the kitties. It's around 10 degrees with a slight breeze and I have a lovely ride there and on my way back I pass a building on the Midtown Greenway Trail where two people are standing outside the door in shirtsleeves, clearly freezing their butts off. At first I don't know what they are doing out there so clearly not dressed for the conditions so I am looking at them trying to figure it out when I realize they are looking back at me with the same level of puzzlement on their faces. While I am riding by on the trail in perfect comfort, they are freezing their butts off to take the opportunity to stick burning leaves in their mouths. And then I start to chuckle as I realize we are sharing a thought bubble in this cold dark night: "If that isn't the most stupid thing I have ever seen..."