Jun 3, 2009 - A Better Place    Comments Off on Riding My Bike to Work

Riding My Bike to Work

A friend of mine sent me this cartoon.  I hope it’s not gonna get me a cease and desist or something because of copyrights.  I’ll take it off if someone has a problem I guess.  But, Pat = Jeff.

Rode my bike to work today.  For as much as I spout off advocacy stuff, I don’t practice what I preach nearly as often as I should.  I should ride my bike to work every day. 

Took off at 6:30am this morning.  It’s 12 miles towards the lousy side of town – Antioch.  I only say the lousy side of town because the area is populated with middle class "working" people, and the area is generally forgotten about when it comes to improvements like bike lanes, sidewalks, etc.  I’ll write about the Antioch sidewalk problems another time.  Needless to say, my bike commute is fraught with challenges.  So what’s it like to ride your bike to work?  I’ll try to explain some of the sights, sounds, and general experiences on my commute.  Hopefully I can make it as interesting as I can.

Early in the morning, I share the road with very few cars, drivers usually polite because they’ve left early enough to make their commute a low-stress activity.  It’s great to share the road with these early morning folks (I wish everyone trapped in their box would leave a little earlier.)  I also share it with folks out walking their dogs.  They say if your dog is too fat, you’re not getting enough exercise.  Refer to the cartoon above!

Ah, the smells.  Things come and go into bloom.  On a bicycle, you can breathe that sweet scented air.  Sometimes it makes me sneeze, but no big deal.  I can usually smell other things – cologne if someone drives by me with their window open.  Remember, it’s early and it’s all fresh.  I can also smell people smoking.  Marlboro Light – reminds me of some parties, night clubs, playing pool.  That was the brand my friends used to smoke (and probably still do.)  I’m so glad I never started smoking.  When it’s really hot and I stop by a smoker in a car at a light, no good memories there.  I feel sorry for them – stuck in their car with their addiction ruling a small part of their life.  I guess our addiction to cars can be just as bad.  Refer to the cartoon above!  (you couldn’t understand the connection, could you?)

I rode down Thompson.  Most of it has really nice bike lanes.  The thermo-something decals are pulling up.  I heard they’re $800 each, and I think Nashville or Tennessee should get their money back.  It reminds me every time about an email conversation with the state Bike/Ped coordinator about them.  I was hoping they’d be fixed by now.

I cut over to Antioch Pike near a church.  It’s a middle-class neighborhood again.  A bicycle really slows you down to take in the sights!  Several of the yards are filled with yard art.  One has at least a dozen fake deer in the front yard.  Do they love deer, do they love to hunt deer, or did their friends "deer graffiti" their yard?  My grandmother was "ping flamingo’ed" once.  Her front door was surrounded with pink flamingos when she got home.  Someone put an old toilet in our landscape, complete with petunias planted in it.  Donna was angry, I was completely tickled, and no one has fessed up to the prank yet.  Maybe a deer drinking out of the toilet would make a nice presentation.

When I arrive onto Antioch, I pass at least three schools.  That section of Antioch is four lanes through a residential neighborhood.  On the far end on Nolensville, there’s plenty of shopping.  Very little traffic occupies the area.  A center turn lane, then a "road diet" to add bike lanes would be a great thing for this road, a great thing for the Antioch community, and a great thing for my commuting route!  Someone needs to turn those drain grates perpendicular to the bicycle tire.  Someone is gonna get hurt, and it might be me?

I finally arrive in the parking lot at work.  It’s a downhill glide across a huge parking lot, and I pass by where I usually park my car.  It’s a great feeling.  Usually the security guard will unlock the door for me to get in, since my badge is usually tucked away somewhere inconvenient.  I get lots of questions too when I see folks in the morning when I’m coming or going.  Someone thought my Campy freewheel sounded like I had cards in my spokes.  Most common question is how far I ride, and then how long does it take me.  I usually return the question in hopes that I can convince them to ride too.  (see cartoon above.)  Most of them commute 20 or 30 miles from their urban sprawl.  I’m going to write some day about why population density is a good thing.

OK, I’ve been summonsed to the Tivo to see some funny stuff from the first show in the new timeslot.  Get out and ride your bike.  The more bicyclists out there, the safer it is for bicyclists in general.  (see cartoon above.)

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