Friday, September 5, 2014

In Which The Wipers On The Car Go Swish, Swish, Swish

Rain on a Lincoln sounds like a drum. We're marking for freedom today, hey. Turn on your headlights and sound your horn if people get in the way.  Corner of  C and Blair's Ferry, and I would have experienced far less rush hour traffic on my bike route. But they frown on a Lincoln using the sidewalk...

A colleague at MMU told me she and her daughter had seen me Wednesday night, biking home around 6:30 p.m.

“I hope you weren't just headed home then,” she said. “My daughter said, ‘at least he has his yellow vest on.’”

Well, I was just heading home, it has been a week of late nights. It’s been a very busy semester already and it seems to be just getting launched.

Thursday, the day was even later. I had a newspaper meeting at 7 and didn't leave campus, with lights on, until around 8.

Still, I would rather bicycle with lights than not bike at all. It was a “not bike at all” day today. A cool front, the first real taste of fall, is moving through Iowa today and wringing all the moisture from the air.

So I drove a modest green Lincoln sedan, and felt like a gangster. I know it’s not really a fancy car, and it wouldn't work well as a getaway car anyway—when you click the clicker to unlock it, the lights flash on in a very “here, cops, the bank robber is trying to drive away in this car” sort of way.

Anyway, it really is a pleasant enough car to drive, and even has an old-school dash clock, which gives it a bit of retro charm. I even figured out how to open my son’s jammed CD case (should have shown it to me, Jon), and so I can rock out to Cake as much as I want to while riding along. He even has Beatle’s One in there, so I’m sure future rainy days may at least feature some entertaining tunes.

But, I forgot the CDs today. And it was raining. And driving this boxy modest sedan in the rain is such a reminder of what it’s like to drive.

Driving sucks. Biking rocks. Trust me.

On a bike, you feel the wind and hear the birds. In a car, you feel the fan and hear the radio. On a bike, you clear your head by using your body. In a car, you work on your clogged arteries by extending the sedentary time of your day. On a bike, you can stop when you want to and take a photograph or a cell phone call and not be blocking a lane of traffic. In the car I was driving, I sort of got distracted by the radio and then it occurred to me that I was being an evil character in a bad story—a distracted driver. “I’m sorry, officer, I didn't see the cute professor on the bicycle because it was very important for me to set a button for The Fox.”

Fortunately, nothing bad happened other than me reminding myself to watch the road, not the radio, as the wipers kept time and me and Bobby sang every song we knew. Sorry, riding in a vehicle sounds a lot cooler when Janice sings about it than when you have to do it and would rather not.

Me? I want to ride my bicycle. That’s, for me, when feeling good is easy.

End of August biking report: Just under 2,400 miles for the year (I am a tad over 2,400 now). I am thinking the 5,000 mile goal for 2014 is slipping out of reach—just not enough days when I don’t work late and can take longer rides home. I’ll be able to top 3,000 miles this year, though, and that’s something. Maybe I can reach 5,000 miles in 2015?

Biking monthly totals so far in 2014. I bet I'll have a few fewer in September. Maybe fall break will help in October.

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