CommutingI started riding my bike to work. It's not a long ride, only two and a half miles. And I'm not doing it to save the planet or improve my health, even though I inadvertently may be doing both. I'm doing it because we have three drivers and only two cars. Well, four if you count my daughter who just got her driver's license. But she can walk to school, or - as she too has been doing, ride her bike to school.
After riding for only a few days, I've realized something that I've never thought of before: When you drive through an area, no matter where you're driving through, you're not really there. You can see everything that is passing by, but you are in your car. You may think you are in the area, city, or neighborhood that you see out your window. You may tell people you are or have been there, but even if your windows are open, from the time you pull out of your driveway until you reach your destination, the only place you are is in your car.
On my bike, I am where I am. I am a part of all the places I pass through. I can talk to people, pull up to yard sales, dodge rocks, sticks, and small critters, get rained on, either battle or work with the wind. I can pass students on their way too and from school. I can stop easily for impromptu conversations with strangers. I'm not encased in my automobile. Its a very different feeling. I'm much more aware of my surroundings - which I'd better be if I'm going to get to work and back home safely and without incident. No plugging into any digital musical devices for me while I'm riding. I need to hear those trucks sneaking up on me from behind.
I'll be riding until January when my son returns to college. After that, especially if they weather is dicey, I'm sure I shall return to the embrace of my cocoon. Or maybe not. My next door neighbor leaves his house around 5:30 every morning, no matter what the weather is like for his ten mile bike ride to work. It does give one pause.
Labels: Bike Riding