I was dinking around with my bike in the garage last night when I realized I needed a patch kit and some electrical tape. It was almost 8:00 PM…still light but rapidly approaching the most dangerous time of day to ride.
That’s what I told myself, but the reality of the situation was that I had just finished putting in 40 miles on the fat tired mountain bike less than an hour earlier and that’s a bit of work. My legs were tired, so I decided that just this once I’d hop in the car for the 4.8 mile round trip. It wasn’t the ride down I was thinking about when I did this, but rather the 400 foot climb on the way home.
BIG mistake. I felt guilty all the way down to Walmart. While I was waiting for the light at 22nd and Washington, four separate cyclists rode by. None of them looked at me, but it felt like they all knew I was cheating. That’s what it felt like…cheating. I still felt guilty on the way home. I woke up this morning and that bad feeling was still there.
In a paradoxical sort of way, this is good. This is progress. Virtually all of my solo trips of five miles or less are now by bicycle. It’s rare that I choose the car. When I do, it doesn’t feel right. As a result, I don’t think I’m going to do it again any time soon. Cars are like a lot of things in my life. Cars are yesterday.
As I’ve taken this crazy magical bicycle journey, I’ve found myself going through stages. There was a time when I wanted to convince everyone this was the way to go, but increasingly I just don’t care. Some people get it. Some don’t. Some are closed off to the transformational power that we all have to make our lives better.
That’s a shame, but there’s not much I can do about it. I sometimes feel like a broken record, writing about the magic of bicycling. If you want to do it, great. If you don’t, great…just please don’t run me down with your car. I’ll do my best to get out of your way as soon as it’s safe to do so. I don’t want to slow anyone down, but I’m no longer willing to let anyone tell me how fast I have to go either. I’ve found my pace and I like it.
It boils down to this: I feel better on the bike than I ever felt in a car. I now have the miles in my legs to know without a shadow of a doubt that I can go wherever I want to go…on a bicycle. That’s what I’m going to do. You’re welcome to come along…if you want to.