Two Days of "Regular" Commuting
0 comment Wednesday, April 16, 2014 |
Heyo, David here. I've been a reader of the site for a long time and Will was nice enough to add me to the roster after I inundated him with links to my own stuff in the hope that I could contribute.
I was going to write an intro post (complete with awesome action shot) but today is all rainy and I'm too impatient to wait until then to begin. So following Mr. McNeal's lead, here we go!
This year I've been doing pretty good with my continuous commuting streak. In fact, since late November or early December I hadn't accepted a ride, taken the bus, or driven an inch of my seventeen mile commute. Beside riding my beloved river ferry to get from Olde Towne Portsmouth to Downtown Norfolk it was all me and my lil' legs. Which makes me proud, as I take any kind of pussin' out when it comes to riding as a failure on my part.
Of course I can't take all the credit: I don't own a motor vehicle and my girlfriend's car was out of commission with a flat tire and a dead alternator, plus we're both lazy and don't know how to work on cars so it was dead for a while. Making good decisions is easy when you haven't got a choice, and basically having to ride everywhere is a compulsion I enjoy.
Then came a schedule change and a borrowed car, complete with stickers so I could actually drive onto the naval base, which is something I'd never done before. I refused to register my gal's car because it would take too long and give me an easy out I didn't want. So even on the days I drove into work I could still appease myself by riding really hard for the mile it takes to get to my building from a parking lot off base. Also with the schedule change came the necessity of taking a bus with only two spots for bicycles instead of the paddle-wheel ferry which has enough room for all of the peeps and their bikes I'd ever seen riding in the area combined. But that's a different rant for a different day.
So one fateful Saturday I woke up late. Very late. Should have been at work fifteen minutes ago late. Which made it about 6:15 in the morning. There was no way I'd wait for a bus and then bike for half an hour to get to work, only to spend ten minutes changing before clocking in panting, sweaty, and over an hour late. If we hadn't been borrowing a car I would've had to, but this was one situation in which driving seemed like the better idea. Logically, it was. Practically, not so much.
I was still over an hour and a half late despite wielding a vehicle that can easily travel over twenty miles an hour for long distances, due to traffic. And when I actually sat down and began my day I soon remembered the energizing effect my morning ride affords me. I was a zombie after thirty minutes. On the way home it wasn't much better. I had nothing fun to look forward to immediately after work, nothing to blow away the dust of a busy day at the grindstone. While some days I dawdle a little before mounting up and riding home, without that freeing exercises the stress of my job doesn't get worked out before I get home. And more traffic! On a Saturday! How do people do it day in and day out?
The next day I worked was Tuesday and after being dumb and staying up till 3:00 in the morning on my days off I couldn't get to sleep Monday night. By the time I would've had to get up and catch a bus I'd been asleep for like four hours. So I foolishly decided to just drive it in. Again, mistake. Tuesday's traffic was so much worse both coming and going, but especially on my return home. I think it took me over an hour in annoying and scary traffic with upset people. We talk a lot about angry or inattentive drivers almost hitting us, but I think in those two days I had more close calls than in two weeks of bike commuting. Definitely much worse on the nerves, definitely not as much fun. People are nuts man, no matter what you're rollin'.
It was good for me though, to see how the other half lives. It's sorta like this thing I do, where I drink moderately but as the year goes on I push it further and further until one night I'm puking on my jeans and blacking out as my friends carry me into my apartment, after which my imbibing returns to a respectable and minimal level. I think it's good to see what you're not missing so that you can enjoy what you have even more.
Since then there's been only one incident where a full bike rack at 5:00 in the morning has caused me hop into a car, but I learned my lesson and only drove myself across the river to a safe parking lot before unloading Jenny and resuming business as usual.
Now if I can just find a way to cross the Elizabeth without motorized transport at all...

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