Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Cycle Commuting

The thing I like best about myself (or like most consistently) is that I am a fulltime bike commuter. Nearly every day (that I go to work) I ride my bike at least part of the way. Most days, I take the bus on the way out (Seattle is to be commended for having bike racks on all the busses) and ride my bike on the way home.

I’m incredibly fortunate to have most of my ride (about 14 of the 18 miles) on the Burke-Gilman trail, which is a converted rails-to-trails trail that runs along the coast of Lake Washington. Most afternoons, I have the decided pleasure of cruising along a car-free path in the dappled sunshine; the path is mostly flat, too, which is another plus.

In winter and spring, I often confront a 10 to 15 mile an hour headwind, which can add another 20 minutes to my normally 90 minute commute, and from October to May, I’m wise to have my raingear handy all the time. In December, I can count on a heavy cold downpour nearly every day; by Christmas, my gloves smell like cheese from being constantly damp.

Sometimes the ride is boring and often, it’s hard. The last four miles are pretty much all uphill; sometimes I take the bus from where the road starts to rise (my rule is that if I see the bus coming as I pass by the stop, then I can take; I’m not allowed to wait for it, though, if it’s not in sight).

In spite of these (and other) difficulties (dangerous traffic, riders on the trail who are faster than me and pass by impatiently, riders who are slower than me and who make me impatient, roller bladders, moms with baby carriages) I have no desire whatsoever to give up riding.

Cycle commuting makes me feel healthy, in tune with nature, and perhaps best of all, more than just a little bit smug.


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