|Grant on frozen Lake Harriet|
A couple of days ago a buddy and I woke up early to go for a bike ride down Minnehaha creek, up west river road, and then back down again on the other side of the Mississippi. A couple of take-aways on the ride:
1. West River Road is polished glass.
2. East River Road is really quite bumpy and full of pot holes.
3. I really, really like riding a bike.
I have never consistently driven a car to work. When I was in college, I rode my bike to school and work. When it rained, I would comfort myself by thinking that I would purchase a car just as soon as I graduated. It would be like a present to me, from me.
I didn’t even look for a car. I just graduated, ate the cake, and worked on my resume.
At my first job I rode my bike all winter long. People would comment on my frosted eye brows and lashes.
“Bill,” they would say “Are you ok?”
When I lived in Keokuk, Iowa, I moved out of my apartment on my bicycle. Carting all of my belongings on the back of my bike, holding my pillow and comforter wadded up in my arms.
Admittedly, I did not have a lot of stuff. And it was about eight trips. There are easier ways to change apartments.
After that, whenever I got a new job, I would show up in a car the first day, you know, like a normal person. Then, towards the end of the day I would stand up, look out the window, and nonchalantly say, “wow, it was really nice outside today. I might just try riding my bike into work tomorrow.” Then I would never drive a car into work again.
I have been blessed with understanding bosses.
When I was living in Georgia, we were hit with Snow-pocalipse 2015. An inch and a half of snow and ice brought the city to its knees. Maybe you remember it – school kids were caught on buses on the freeway, and had to spend the night, trapped. Anyway, my work sent out an email – “Do not come in to work!” they said.
I missed the email, because I was on my bike. I was the only one who made it. Bikes are great, in that if you crash, you are usually completely OK because you aren’t actually going that fast. But you feel fast.
A bit of explanation about this current bike goal: Going a year without a car was completely Steph’s idea. What that means, is Steph was the one who verbalized the idea first. I had been thinking about going without a car ever since I purchased my first one, back when I was 32. But I would never bring it up because, well, it is a ridiculous, unconscionable idea, especially now that we have kids. And also because not having a car doesn’t really affect me.
For example: I have a perfect driving record. No warnings. No tickets – not even parking tickets. When I boast about my stellar record, Steph rolls her eyeballs. “Bill, she says, “you do not drive.”
Steph is right. I didn’t drive anyway. Now I will drive even less.
And I really, really like bikes.