Tuesday, February 07, 2012

To Those Who Wait

Things come to those who wait. In a world frequently reminded of unintended consequences I hesitate to say good things, but some things about these things could be construed as good. For instance, up here in "snow country" we have just enough crap on the sides and encroaching into the roads to make riding hazardous along my commuting route. My alternative route, along the rail trail, is covered with frozen inconveniences. That being said, if the conditions haven't become significantly wintery or more like spring when Daylight Relocating Time hits I can ride the mountain bike commuter on the trail without the need for lights. I will need the base mileage to prepare for the full commute after a hideously sedentary winter.

When I first considered the fat-tire commuter late last fall, the sun set before 5 p.m. I would need my powerful lights for commuting. I wanted them, anyway. Now, with Daylight Relocating Time only about a month away, commute times will line up with daylight. If I had managed to stay in any kind of shape I could jump right into the whole routine whenever weather permitted it. With the fat-tire alternative I can ride the path in conditions that would eliminate the road route: accumulating snow in the morning giving way to a warmer afternoon, icy roadsides forcing me into the lane on a highway locally famous for impatient drivers. Those drivers eventually treat me surprisingly well on my bike, but every spring I have to retrain them. I don't need to be dealing with slithery conditions, uncomfortable cold and humidity and aggressive drivers who haven't remembered how to cooperate with me yet.

All of this depends on having a job, of course. If I have no reason to go to Wolfe City the discussion is merely theoretical. This winter has not been kind to the cross-country ski business. What seemed like a good combination in the 1970s now suffers from unreliable snow in the winters and the many challenges of the bike business in the summers. It's never been easy money. When the mountain bike boom attracted lots of consumer dollars the money also attracted many other predators and scavengers to battle each other for it. In the quiet aftermath the money has drained off to things like electric bikes or even further away to consumer electronics, Power Chairs, or student loan payments.

If the ruling class in this country really wants everyone below them to get by on less and less you'd think they would see the wisdom of better bicycle accommodation on our streets and highways. Those of us who don't actually live in the servants' quarters of the manor house will be able to get to our low-paying jobs quietly and efficiently by bicycle, leaving the roads actually clearer for the luxury cars of the elite. Bicycle hobbyists among the upper crust will benefit as well. It's a total winner, whether we establish a worker's paradise or a new Gilded Age of concentrated wealth.


Steve A said...

Your DST commute lines up with daylight. Mine, getting to work a little after 7, is cast back into the abyss of predawn darkness. That's not so bad with my short commute (half hour).

cafiend said...

You know how I feel about the DST thing. I just figure my petition went off somewhere and died, so we're stuck with the situation for this year. I'll make lemonade out of this specific lemon. The shift in time weirdly lights the evening leg, but puts the morning one into the barely-post-dawn chill. Ah well. Life is a series of temporary measures.

Steve A said...

Regardless, sir, thanks for reminding me how much nicer my current commute is - just as I was getting a little nostalgic about the old, long haul.

cafiend said...

Ah well, you're welcome then. :-D