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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cycling Towards Freedom

I'm making a concerted effort to use my bike for my main transportation, which means I have had to do some deep-down, honest soul searching. This isn't my first try at leaving the gas guzzler in the garage; I tried to go car-less two years ago. I found out very quickly I wasn't ready to make the commitment and follow through. Now, after cycling all summer through wind, heat, rain, and thunderstorms, my mindset is quite different. Since returning to work in early August, I've cycled every day save four. Two of those days I simply had too much to carry to work than what I could put on my bike, and the other two Funny Delightful Son missed the bus, so I took him to school (which I only did because his school is on the same route as mine). With each day I cycle, the more determined I become to make the bike my only transportation source. Now, with the weather turning colder, I'll face the real test. Hopefully, I'll be able to stick with my resolve and cycle straight through the winter months.

Today I wanted to get in a longer ride, but I also wanted to get some fresh eggs from the farm out near the lake. My old self would have said, "Ride Sweetness for 30 miles. Afterwards drive up and get the eggs." Today, my new self said, "Ride SheBeast and just pack the eggs in the rack pannier. You'll get in 22 miles plus the eggs." A win-win. I checked the temp and wind direction, figured out what I needed to wear for 43 degrees, then set off. While the ride to the farm was against a chilly headwind, I was dressed for it and stayed pretty warm, almost too warm as I could feel the sweat trickling down my back about 5 miles in. At the farm, I selected a carton of eggs from the fridge in the Egg Barn, packed it in my pannier, then headed home. With the wind at my back, I rolled along with little effort.

Not one cracked egg!
Along this same route is a farm that sells cheeses. I figured since I was out I might as well stop and buy some colby and sharp cheddar. I packed these on top of my eggs then started off for the coffee shop. My plan was to stop for coffee and read a bit before heading home. When I arrived at the coffee shop, I was dismayed to see every table and easy chair taken. Not to be deterred, I ordered my latte along with a cinnamon-raisin bagel, and sat outside to drink, eat, and read. My layers of clothing, wool socks, and thermal gloves worked great for cycling into the country and back, and they continued to keep me toasty while sitting at a bistro table outside the coffee shop.

Each day I cycle instead of drive, the less urge I feel to drive all the way around. When I think about going somewhere, I think in terms of how to get to the destination by bike. I love leaving the car in the garage, and I love not having to go to a gas station for fuel. Cycling for transportation truly is freeing.

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