When you ride your bike to the grocery store as I do, you tend to be pretty picky about what you buy. This is especially true in my case since the ride home is all uphill. I don’t want to be weighed down with processed corporate food so I focus on protein (meats), fruits and veggies and nectar of the gods (coffee). I also like baked goods, but that’s another story for another day.
I rode to Smith’s today. Smith’s = Kroger in Utah, and the store is nice. It’s one of those full service fru-fru stores. The kids who work there are so gosh darn nice. It’s a real pleasure shopping at Smith’s.
When we lived back in Minnesota and I worked at TetraPak, Smith’s was a client. My friend Harry Marovskis used to come out to Utah to service the account and I remember him saying that their stores were the nicest he’d ever seen. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but at the time everybody in Minnesota shopped at warehouses like Cub Foods and Rainbow, so I can see how he might feel that way.
Anyway, I’m getting off subject. Smith’s is located 2.4 miles from our front door and it’s all downhill on the way. I can make it in less than ten minutes, even if I get stopped at the light on Harrison and 22nd. I hardly have to pedal at all.
Coming home is another matter. I dread climbing the East Bench under load and so today I decided that I was going to take the overland route (Bonneville Shoreline from Rainbow Gardens to 22nd Street) even though it’s 1.5 miles further and unpaved and has a little exposure and these hairy hairpin turns because, well, I live in Ogden and that’s how we roll here in O town.
Oh, I almost forgot. I was riding my 20 year old Specialized Hardrock with 1.95″ tires and no suspension fork or any of that other nice stuff that makes living easy. The Hardrock isn’t the best bike for this route, but nobody’s gonna steal it from the bike rack at Smith’s, so there’s that. It rained last night, too and so the trail was mucky in spots. I was carrying about 25 pounds of groceries in a backpack but it felt like 250.
In spite of all my concerns, the gods were smiling on me. It was no big deal. I was home soon enough and the groceries are now in the fridge. I’m no worse for the wear. In fact, I’m better for the wear.
It was a little more work taking the trail home but look at those views. When I look at the pictures I took I find myself thinking that it can’t be that beautiful but it is. This is a pretty special place, but the simple truth is that everyplace is better on a bicycle. It just is.
The moral of the story? The bike life is about you. Nobody gets to tell you how to ride, what to ride, where to ride. You choose. Do what you want. Go where you want. Ride what you want. Whatever works for you is the only thing that matters. I think this is what drives motorists bonkers about bikes. We’re having fun getting to wherever it is we’re going. They’re not.