Tuesday, January 11

Non (W)CHC Interlude

On the bike I am in control of my own destiny. I am not subject to complex mechanical breakdowns. I'm not subject to traffic, lanes, roads, speed limits, traffic lights, one way streets or anything really. I can ride on the sidewalk if I so choose, or through a field, or yard or between curbs, trees and fence posts. I can pick up my bike and set it over an obstacle. I can take it inside with me, I can hide it, or hide with it. I can go where I want as fast as I want.

I am not separated from the outdoors when I'm on the bike, and I truly wish I had more time to spend outside. It is a win/win situation.

The bike is cheap, dependable, easily maintained and fixed, easily loved, easily modified to better suit a new purpose. Bikes threaten nothing, despite the behavior of moto-fascists toward cyclists as if cyclists were somehow terrorists or marauding carjackers or puppy kickers.

When I was much younger I drove a lot. I grew up in rural Eastern Kentucky in a county of 5,000, with the largest town's population right at 3,000. The eastern end of the county bordered National Forest and a wilderness area. I spent so many days hiking around, typically alone, then for a few years climbing with friends and then later bouldering, again alone.

For years I made the minimum fifteen mile drive (sometimes upwards of thirty) to various trailheads and wide spots along the roads. I wandered all over, exploring, introspecting, wallowing. I drove a lot because I hadn't discovered the ultimate power of the bicycle. Oh, I had a bike, and I rode it occasionally, but it never occurred to me that the bike could be the same means to an end that I had sought in the car, to get me where I wanted to go.

I realize if I had rode my bike more in those days I may have had a much narrower territory. The time it would have taken to ride to the places I drove, and then to expend energy, sometimes to almost complete muscle failure and then still have a ride home would have limited my range for sure. Looking back I wish I had chosen the bike years ago. It would have been easy then. Not that it's so hard now...

If I were ever to move back (no intention of doing so) I'd go carless there. I could. After doing it here for three years I've realized that the car is an accessory that I am happy to do without. The cost, the investment of time, concern and energy, combined with the stress of going upon the road and roaming around to find a place to rest the two ton steel beast is just not worth the brain damage it causes.

Pouring over cycling problems is something I do. I am always trying to find a more efficient way to transport myself and my STUFF on my two-wheeled steed(s), but its almost relaxing to immerse myself in the quest for cycling solutions to my lifestyle problems.

Still, it's good to be riding off to meet destiny on a bicycle.

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