Here's a shot from the Crowbar, another commuter that sits down the aisle from me: He had to stick to the roads, too, clearly!It's been an interesting couple of days on the bike because of the rain and cloudy conditions -- seems almost fall-like, with the exception of the temperatures. Once this weather clears, it's gonna get HOT again. But, for now, I actually have to don the short-sleeve modified rain jacket on the way home from job#2 in the evening, as the rain is quite cold and steady. Cold up there. I arrived home right when things were becoming a tad enthusiastic, with lighting and sonorous thunder. Magnificent! Overnight, more stormy activity - and this morning, steady, cold rain again with a northwesterly wind -- fall-like, indeed.
So, I practice my fall routines, cornering more upright and carefully - re-learning the envelope of traction on my tires. Making sure the lights have fresh batteries, etc. It's all part of the big plan.
I'm pretty stoked about this whole "car-free" thing, although I'm a little hesitant to take that next BIG step: selling the car. I've talked to the wife about it and it's starting to make more sense in her mind too. I have to make sure that I'm ready for this step, 100%, because once it's gone - it's gone. There will be no turning back. But, the financial rewards are plentiful - and everything helps these days. However, will I feel the same way in December? February - my most hated winter month here in Kansas? With the nature of Kansas weathers, can I possibly have this kind of sagacity? Will it work??? I'm nervous, of course - tentative about actually placing that ad in the online classifieds. Time to set the mind at ease by re-reading some blogs and articles out there.
But, so far, so good - while this pales HORRIBLY in comparison with some of my commuting heroes in the world, it's encouraging that I have overcome a lot of my issues of the past 18 months, and have ridden to work every day for a month solid now. Yeah, I know --- keep it going all winter, THEN we'll talk. I have the same conversation with myself about it. But, there is something that snapped in my earlier this month. Looking back, every week, every season since moving into the new house that put me more than double the distance from work, I have been fairly IN-consistent with my commutes. A large part of this was the tiny car I bought in the winter of 2006. Of course, in 2006, gas was still "only" a couple bucks a gallon. I had NO notion - I don't think anyone did - that within 18 months or slightly more, we'd see $4.00 a gallon common nationwide. Even driving the little car was getting expensive. It's just not worth it anymore - I've finally reached a point again where the price of gas far outweighs the struggles one endures by simply hanging up the car keys. It's SO easy to get sucked in, tho. The nice seats, the air conditioning, the heater in winter - protection from the elements, no regards to wind direction or velocity, nor to grade or state of repair of the roadway, nay hardly even a concern for other drivers or one's own protection. Six air bags, no worries; it renders bicycling an awfully precarious venture by contrast. Fortunately, I can stand by my record -- while someday certainly I may be caught out on odds (heaven forbid) by a careless driver, I can rest assured that I take every discretion when it comes to riding when conditions are prime, inclemency moreso. Ankle bands, reflective tape everywhere, good and well-aimed lights, a good helmet, and constant prudence at the handlebars - I have a family to support, friends that care. Risk is not an option, fashion be damned. Sometimes, however, because of the culture we live in, and the wishing and urge to be accepted that comes with human nature, that car seems awfully safe and comfortable, and EASY. I could bore myself with trite quips about the notions this country was founded upon, how the easy way is often never the best way, and how we've all become softies and sell-outs. I know what lies ahead, and I have to take it the same way our ancestors did. Not doing it simply because of the honor that might come from choosing the harder path, not doing it simply to be haughty. Doing it because of neccessity - not because of some sort of self-punishment or lofty "green" etiquette, not even to be a trend setter. Doing it because it helps my famil, financially. Doing it because it helps my environment, ultimately. And doing it because I like who I am when I am riding - and I do not like who I become after a short time behind the wheel of a car.
"Above all else, know thyself."
This is the right move for me - I can feel it.