Yes, it was a sad day.
But then a funny thing happened. Actually, it wasn’t that funny. My wife’s car, through lack of good fortune, blew a head gasket and found its way into an expensive automotive shop on the south end of town. We were down to one car, which meant I’d need to find some alternate transportation to work. In our house, there are really only so many transportation options. I had no choice.
So I pulled out my trusty mountain bike. Yes, the bike I’ve owned for ten years. Yes, the bike that has electrical tape holding the seat together. Yes, the bike with the rigid fork and the rigid tail that frequently leaves my lower back feeling a little bit sore. I love that bike.
My biggest concern last night was that I’d freeze on the way to the office this morning. So I gathered all the warm clothes I could find (gloves, glove liners, wool socks, sock liners, leggings, arm warmers, long underwear top, helmet shell, etc.), and when I got up this morning, I put them all on and left to ride my bike in the dark.
Naturally, the sun wasn’t scheduled to rise until 8 a.m., and I walked out the door at 7:30. So yes, my second-biggest concern was getting hit by a car. As it turns out, that would be the only real concern along the way. The weather was much warmer than I’d anticipated (I didn’t have to use the chemical hand warmers I’d stashed in my backpack), and I was sweating up a storm halfway through the ride. Trouble is, it looks like most motorists have forgotten how to react to cyclists.
With no other traffic around, cars would drive up nice and close to my left handlebar. When I started moving through one four-way stop, a truck started rolling forward at me. I sat up, gave the guy a look and asked (audibly and visibly), "What are you doing?" Maybe it wasn’t as awkward as I thought it was, but I didn’t feel particularly trusting of the metallic coffins rolling past me.
I got to work just a few minutes after eight, like usual. And like usual, this is only 10 or 15 minutes longer than my usual commute time by car.
I guess I wasn’t the only one with this commuting idea, either, because two more bikes have joined mine on the rack since I parked it this morning. Well, I guess it is off-season, after all.