Thursday, September 03, 2009

Riding Streets Again

I've been doing a lot of driving for the last week, which is kind of irritating. Work was pretty far away, too far for me in normal clothes and if cycling's not the main activity for the day.

Today, though, I had some errands to run and some work to do in town.

I got up latish, since work ran until midnight last night, and then rode from my place to my favorite Seattleite's place in Capitol Hill. 4.7 miles. There's a pretty stiff climb up into the Capitol Hill neighborhood, pretty much no matter how it's done. On the way, I got my own private rain storm - it only lasted about a quarter of an hour, ending just before I arrived. Seattle weather does this, and I have fenders permanently installed on my silver bike and quick-release sets for my road and mountain bikes.

The reason for the trip, aside from brunch with my favoritest person, was that I needed to see a doctor about a trip overseas I have coming up. I padded the brunch time by a couple hours, which we used to go shopping for gear for a trip I have coming up. That trip was done in her car - she doesn't ride bikes. Then I rode to the doctor's and back, about a third of a mile, then "cheated" and threw my bike in the back of her car so we could drive to her next commitment and have coffee for a while beforehand. That's five miles so far.

Adella knows I'm writing this entry so she was making fun of me about not being very good at being car-minimalist. To me, being able to throw my form of transportation into someone else's form of transportation is actually a pretty useful attribute. I used to drive trucks for a company that had a couple of different storage locations, so sometimes I'd pick up a truck one place, drive it to a gig, and then leave it in a third location. I just chained my bike to the front rack and then it was with me whenever, and wherever, I was when I finished. That applied here too - I had my bike with me, so after coffee, I just rode home. 5.9 miles.

I had a little time at home, then I had to head back downtown to go to a job I have here in town. That's a 5.4 mile ride, although I stopped and bought groceries on my way home, so the ride home was more like 5.7 miles. Miles for the day come out at 17. It was dark when I was riding home, so I clipped on my bright headlight, a gift from my Dad. Most of my nice things are gifts.

Tomorrow, I'm back in Issaquah, and back in my truck. It's not going to leave me with time to go mountain biking, which I sometimes do on days I spend out there, but I might go for a run or something during lunch. But on Sunday, I'm going to be back to using my bike to commute to work locally, about six miles, in work boots with a bag of hand tools in one of my baskets.

Clearly I'm not car-free. I don't even try to be. However, I enjoy riding my bike and driving in Seattle frequently makes me angry. Convenience is often how I make my choice - I'm a pretty strong cyclist, so my trip times don't go up horribly when I ride my bike; sometimes they even go down. I also don't have to park or buy gas. I've gone weeks without moving my truck, and probably make it a month without buying gas from time to time. I don't really have a vision of a world in which nobody uses a car or truck for personal transportation, but I do think that there are a lot of people who could be using cars much less.

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