Today my hippie leanings came closer to full circle when I commuted to work on my bicycle. I thought about it a week or so ago when the cycling club at work was trying to attract interest in a charity ride and Bike to Work Day, which is next Friday the 16th. I figured it sounded like a good idea, what with my wish to lose the perpetual five extra pounds, my tree hugging (spewing fewer diesel fumes daily has to be a good idea, no matter how efficient my fuel mileage may be), and what the heck, why not set an example for other drivers who are feeling the fuel price pinch? It hasn’t hurt me yet, but I might need this backup transportation someday. Also I saw what I guess was a muskrat, which has to be a good sign for the day. Or something.
I happen to live at one end of an underused greenway (and parkway) that follows a meandering creek. The greenway and parkway are inefficient for cars with all the creek-following, but it makes for a pretty ride and the lack of cars is great for biking on the road. One does risk serious corporeal damage on the divided highway that makes up the rest of the route after the greenway ends (if Indianapolis would just finish the planned greenways I’d have one all the way to work, but I’m not holding my breath on that one), so on the advice of another bike commuter who has taken this route for years (and who was hit by a car last month), I just took the sidewalk in that area. The highway goes to the city dumps, industrial areas, and the airport, and there is so much debris-dropping large truck traffic that it’s the one area I’m uncomfortable taking the pavement. No one was on the sidewalks so it all worked out. Hey Indy, how about some bike lanes on Raymond?
I waited for a few lights and had to navigate security gates at work, but other than that it was a direct route of about seven miles. I predicted the one rude/dangerous thing a car did, turning in front of me with no signal, and I didn’t need my pepper spray for any dogs or thugs, so I’d say it was a success. I was in the showers at work within 45 minutes of leaving home.
Of course now I’m thinking of all the doodads I would like to buy for my bike, a Gary Fisher I purchased several years ago but I haven’t mountain biked in the last few years. I’ll probably go for Kevlar-belted commuter tires rather than the knobby ones I currently have, panniers to replace my backpack, and I need to finally learn how to change a flat. I had all the stuff to do it but now the tire levers are missing and I never have had a flat for practical experience. Would my roadside assistance come? They say as long as I have my cell phone I can be in any vehicle…
Michiana readers: your bike to work week is June 2-6 because you are pussies about May weather.