Monday, July 12, 2010

Biker Chick

Biker Chick, originally uploaded by retrogemkitty7.

Talk about arriving in style! Okay, so I don't usually dress quite this well when I bike. I generally ride very early on weekend mornings, which means I leave the house in gym clothes & no makeup. I'm a tan-phobe, so I'd have to wear pretty serious SPF if I biked in the afternoon, & many drivers in this city are so completely clueless that I'd fear for my life if I tried to cycle in "real" traffic.

That said, I'm tempted to make my bike more than just a piece of workout equipment. I had to work early yesterday morning, all by myself, so I decided to try commuting on two wheels rather than four. (Since I was working solo, I felt free to arrive sweaty & disheveled, then "fix up" later.) I left the house 90 minutes before I was due at work; the ride, about seven miles, took just over one hour. Along the way, I encountered very few cars, but I did discover that there are more hills on my commute than I'd realized - whew! I loved the sense of connection that I suddenly had with the all-too-familiar streets & the buildings on them. All those cool houses I've admired for years looked even better with just air, not a car window, separating us.

So, did I ride home? Um... no. As I said, I'm a tan-phobe, & being of 100% Northern European ancestry, I can broil like a crab cake even with SPF 85. My husband picked me up after work; we put my bike in the back of his car & drove home. So much for being "green", but at least I got a good workout & had a very pleasant commute.

This morning, I went back to commuting by car, & as usual, the experience was pretty nasty. (How on Earth do some drivers manage to take up two full lanes with a Ford Focus...?) Even with a combustion engine at my disposal, I have to allow at least 30 minutes for my 7-mile drive to work, mostly due to stop lights & traffic. Once again, I considered leaving my car at home & biking to work on a regular basis, as two of my colleagues do. That's probably not realistic for me, but perhaps my husband & I can ride our bikes to local restaurants & summer festivals on weekend evenings. That way, we can burn off some of the food & wine we consume, connect with our hometown in a fun way, & save a little gas money. I don't agree with those who think that people who believe in climate change have to live "off the grid" to be true to their ideals; that's far too unrealistic. I feel that if we all made some small changes (& perhaps one or two big ones) the world would be much better off.