My bike ride home last night was not my most favoritest ride ever. For one thing, I didn’t get away from work until it was completely dark. For another thing, it was raining. For another thing, there was a stiff, gusty wind.
I want to point out, though, that these things did not deter me. They did not frighten me. After all, I am a manly man, confident in my ability to ride a bike in whatever nature chooses to dish out.
And for a while, the ride was fun. I had a good rain jacket on, the wool socks kept my feet from getting too cold, and I had plenty of battery power for the ride home, even though this marked the first commute of the year where I had to have the lights on in both directions.
And then I hit the leaves.
No, We Are Not Having Fun Yet.
The wind had pretty much denuded the trees along E. Lake Sammamish Pkwy, and that is a road with a lot of trees. Cars had then effectively moved the leaves and pine needles onto the shoulders of the road, making an ultra-slick, six-inch-deep, five-mile-long, pile of wet leaves and pine needles.
I have a convenient and rather clever way of telling when I’m not having fun. When I start thinking about how I’m about to die and that the timing of my death is really poor because I’ve got cute kids and a good wife and a new job I actually like and — yes, I can admit it — a blog that is about as rewarding to write as anything I’ve ever written, well, that’s a pretty good indicator that I’m not having very much fun.
Riding through this was not fun.
The gusting crosswind coming off the lake that wanted to knock me into the car lane was also contributing to the not-fun-ness of yesterday’s ride home.
I decided that bikes are stupid and that I was going to drive to work the next day, if I happened to survive.
So this morning, I drove to work. As soon as I got onto the first arterial road, though, I could tell it was a mistake. The rain had eased to a drizzle. The leaves had mysteriously vanished from the road’s shoulder. And traffic was backed up for the entirety of the five mile stretch of E. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. I idled along, listening to NPR Morning Edition (note to Miers, Rove, Frist, Libby, Miller, and Delay: please try to speed things up; I’m losing interest here), never going faster than parking lot speeds.
Within the first mile, two bikes cruised by me, the riders talking with each other and enjoying the ride. I’ve never been so envious in my life. What was I doing in a car?
Another cyclist passed me. I checked out his bike. Junk. Then I realize: I’m a bike snob in a car, judging a bike on the road. I beat my head against the steering wheel to underscore my frustration.
Outside today, the just-rained smell is combined with the clean evergreen smell that comes with the good airing out of the entire state of Washington we had last night. It smells, in short, like heaven. If I had been on my bike, I would have enjoyed that smell the whole way to work today.
But I drove. And in a couple hours, I’ll drive home…nice and slow, I’m sure.
Not tomorrow, though. Tomorrow, I ride. No matter what.
Insult Fatty, Get Free Stuff
Here’s how you can win a cool Banjo Brothers seat bag in the inaugural “Free Stuff Wednesday” (which is today, just in case you can’t tell). Post a comment telling me what a dork I am for not biking to work today. I will, completely subjectively, pick my favorite comment and send that person a cool bag. Entries will be judged on whether I like them or not. Entries that use anything like foul language or vulgar implications will not only not win, but will be deleted without comment or explanation. In other words, show me how smart and mean you can be, not that you know a bunch of bad words. I’ll pick the winner tomorrow about this time and will announce the winner in my blog.
C’mon, show me what you got. And then go visit Banjo Brothers. They’ve got seriously cool gear to help you carry stuff on your bike — which means you can ride your car less. Which means you can envy other cyclists less, and be envied by car drivers more.
There, I brought it around full circle.
Today’s weight: I forgot to check. It’s been a day of massive discombobulation.