I sold my '95 white Ford Escort Wagon last spring. Parked on the side of the road, it was leaching money: it would get towed, ticketed, and needed regular maintenance. I drove it rarely, and Jessica's car was available. But mainly I'd been spinning my fixed gear Schwinn Tempo around town since the summer of 2005 when a student speech finally encouraged me embrace the bike, and the car just wasn't needed. When Jessica and I broke up in August, I lost the convenience of a car. Currently biking through my third winter, completely committed to the commute, has been more fun than I ever thought it could be.
What are you missing?
You're missing the creation of your own wind chill; rides at 2 a.m. alone with the flurries; bouncing to Daft Punk down the University's transit way; weaving through snow-encumbered cars bumper-to-bumpered; turning corners and tapping car hoods; "Bolle" embedded in your forehead; dropped chains on the Kellogg hill at 20 mph; wind-created ice cream headaches; glances and gazes of surprise, admiration, and hatred through car windows; fishtailing through snow and alleys; sensitivity to weather patterns and wind direction; pumping too hot down Como but refusing to slow down or remove a layer cause you're almost home; and wet feet, white cold hands, and one very dirty blue bike.
Which all adds up to a lot more happiness than you might think.
This year I've resolved to expand and vary my routes to and from Minneapolis, just to keep it interesting and to keep me on busier roads. Biking lonesome down the transit way is only fun when I get to race a train. I need some life around me. The bike is a necessity, and a flat tire, dropped chain, wobbly wheel, cracked crank, and stolen light are worries and frustrations. But I'm in tune with the machine and the weather. I don't coast, and I get where I need to go.
And I'm not alone:
See you on the road.at January 11, 2008 9:02 AM