Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Why Live Like That?

The other day—last Thursday, I guess—I rode from school to downtown for the .83 ride prefunk at the Whiskey Bar in Belltown. It was a lovely afternoon—mid sixties, partly sunny, and all was right with the world as I pedaled from Bothell, through Kenmore, along the Burke-Gilman trail past the UW and then over the University Bridge to Eastlake, arriving on the south side of the ship canal near Furhman and Eastlake Boulevard right around 5:30.

Usuallly, I can predict it taking about twenty to twenty five minutes from there to downtown and last Thursday was no exception—at least on two wheels. Had I been in car, I’m almost sure it would have been more like an hour, if I managed to make it that far without pulling over, getting out of my vehicle, and setting it on fire.

There was pretty much a solid line of traffic from the end of the bridge all the way to my destination downtown. Cars were backed up bumper to bumper as I passed the familiar landmarks of the Eastlake Zoo, Hooters in South Lake Union, the Buca di Bepo near Dexter, and then all along that street and up Second Avenue to the bar.

I slid by on the right as automobiles inched along, their drivers looking bored, frustrated, and helpless, trapped as they were in their metal cages. Any time the least little space opened up—crossing intersections for instance—they would gun their engines and shoot across, relieved to have even a moment’s movement.

I felt smug, of course, but even more, just terribly sorry for all those drivers and I wondered why they had to live like that. How many saw themselves as having no other transportation option? How many believed they needed to drive? How many were as trapped by the automobile paradigm as they were by traffic?

I pondered these questions as I spun merrily by and then some more over beers at the Whiskey.


OpenID neocles said...

Sounds hellish alright. That stretch was bad even way back when we lived there, although maybe not as consistently aggravating (for me) as the only road out of my neighborhood in University Heights: 25th down past UW and the stadium toward the Montlake bridge.

You sure inspire me to ride my bike, David, but I can't afford these fancy bikes! I'm still slogging away on my old Hard Rock.

10:06 PM  

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