Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Force of Habit

Yesterday I had an appointment in Wolfe City with my wife. Afterwards, she had to head off to more activities in another town, while I needed to head back home. It was a perfect opportunity to use the bike rather than two cars.

Not for the first time, I noticed how strange it is to ride part of my normal commuting route at an abnormal time, from an abnormal point along it. Riding the same route at the same time every day has turned the whole experience into a very standardized ritual.

Usually I arrive in town with about 14 miles on me, during the last bit of the morning rush hour. Okay, it isn't rush hour the way cities have it, but it's a bunch of people driving to work, all at the same time. When I leave town, I've had the morning ride and a work day. I may be tired, but at least I'm loosened up.

Aggressive driving isn't just an urban problem. I have to be on my game in Duckburg just as much as in Baltimore, Philly, DC or Naptown. I don't have to put up with it for as long, but it only takes one asshole to put you out of action. So I hate diving into it cold. It's harder as I get older. I can't just hop on, sprint in and start throwing elbows.

Feeling really out of phase, I dropped through the familiar corners between my wife's studio and the bike shop. From there it was on to the bank to go through the bike-through and out of town by the scenic route. I just felt choppy and over-caffeinated. Only out on the peaceful dirt of Stoddard Road did I finally start to settle down.


Anonymous said...

I don't put in the miles like you do, but isn't it funny how FAST the car does seem and althernatively, how SLOWWWWWW walking seems, when you are in the habit of riding.

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cafiend said...

The car isn't fast enough to make up for the way I act as if it would transport me instantly. I get involved in more interesting projects and only leave myself half enough time to get to work on time.

In town, where I'm more likely to walk, it's almost as fast as riding, because I don't have to worry about merging with traffic or securing the bike at my destination.

Over the years I have gotten used to recalibrating my brain to different modes of transportation.

Driving is far and away the most tedious and annoying.