Sunday, September 29, 2013
Lately I've been considering hanging up the bike and getting back into a car or truck as my daily commuter. For many this would be an easy decision. If you've been successfully riding to work for a few years, the decision-making process gets a little cloudy, especially when you're trying to make a case for adding cycling infrastructure along your daily commute route. Hike and bike trails are great and it's a start, but I can't ride them to work. We need bike routes that can carry us from our front door to our jobs.
The reality is, I could pay cash for a very used car and have no car payments, but I would still have to take on the expense of insurance, $140 per month for fuel, regular maintenance and the inevitable repairs that would follow.
The bike pictured above was acquired for $60 at a local pawn shop. The accessories to make it safe and commute-worthy was close to $300. I don't stress out about gas prices, insurance, unexpected repairs or passing inspection. With the exception of the occasional flat, this bike provides reliable, predictable, trouble-free transportation. It's a real vehicle of transportation and I prove it daily. Anyone who says bikes are not real transportation should follow me on my ride to and from work.
I'm still considering a used car for bad weather days, but I would be just as happy getting a brand new bike.
A daily reminder before my morning commute.
It's been several weeks since I've posted...lots of reasons why, mostly discouraged by recent attempts to advocate for safer roads along my commute route. Maybe my emails end up in a spam folder or they don't believe that I really do commute from Georgetown to Austin on a bike. It's only 140 miles per week. This sounds like a lot to the average Joe couch potato, but in cycling circles, it's considered a tune up ride.
The longer my concerns go unheard, the more I feel like I'm in a race against time. I've been targeted by a few motorists over the past month. The most recent incident, a full-size truck accelerated passed me, blowing black exhaust in my path. Due to a traffic jam on the highway, I caught up with the driver at the next four-way stop on the frontage road. When I passed the driver, I looked back to let him know he was being kind of a jerk. I proceeded to the intersection, came to a full stop, then went about my business. He eventually passed me again, slower this time because the cars were piling up at the next intersection a little further into town. As I approached the idling traffic, he made a point to block my path with the right half of his truck. I was able to pass him on the left, this time verbalizing my displeasure, telling him exactly where he can go and what he can do once he gets there.
Was my behavior an over-reaction? At the time I didn't think so, but further into the weekend, I was kind of embarrassed and ashamed that I lost my cool.
I had forgotten that regardless of the danger involved, I can't control those around me. The best way to deal with an inconsiderate motorist is to simply enjoy the ride. The rest will take care of itself.