Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Lubbock on a Bike, a double re-think and a blog recommendation

I am taking a little bit of a break in my bike commute. It's a seasonal thing - but not a weather thing. While I love the reason for the season, I fear the reality of the season. (It's also a location thing.)

You see, I work across the street from the local mall. Ours is a "town" of a quarter-million people and the mall serves a population of more than a half-million when you look at the overall region. The mall is a magnet. As Christmas gets closer, the magnet gets more powerful and the drivers become more erratic, distracted, and dangerous. Consumerism at its most glorious! The anger, the light running, the honking, the middle-finger salutes, the wrecks, the sirens - all the signs are there. And there is no realistic way to avoid the mall in my commute. Our town is a less-than-bicycle-friendly place in the best of times, so I am laying off the ride to work for the duration of December. I still plan to ride to run errands and such, but the work commute (past the mall) is off the table.

I do, however, plan to come back with a vengeance in January. Details to follow in another post.

So, let's talk about the double re-think.

It's been coming for a little while and it's coming from many directions.

Cars
The money we are saving by driving old cars is wearing on me. I have recently had to put a throw-out bearing in my wife's truck. I had to fix the plastic underskirts of my wife's grandmother's hybrid. The daughter's headlights have quit working because the ballast went out. (Headlight ballasts? WTH!) And I need to replace the engine in my poor Lucy. My body is sore and my spirit is oh so weary. I am a desk jockey and that kind a mechanicking is a stretch.

And I have come to loathe things that burn gasoline, diesel, and other petroleum products. And my spirit is oh so weary of it.

Bicycles
While Lubbock may not like cyclists, this cyclist really enjoys his time riding in Lubbock. Every trip is an accomplishment. I am healthier. The world is healthier. And my spirit is slightly less weary.

Buses
My recent bus rides have actually been pretty pleasant and stress free - not bad for a handful of quarters.

My brain has begun to look like a much more jumbled version of this:

 
While all of this has been rattling around in my brain, I have found another Yes Man to influence my thinking. (A Yes Man for me is someone whose crazy thoughts are very like my own and will therefore encourage me to pursue a path I already wanted to pursue.)
 
Yes Man
Bob Sharpe is a blogger. (I like him already.) Bob Sharpe is a bicycle commuter. He is also not a young studly spandex model (at least that's my impression from reading Bike 5, Bob's blog). Bob's blog's subtitle is For trips of five miles or less, bikes are best! By the way, it is 4.9 miles from my house to my office. Can you see why I've adopted Bob as a Yes Man?
 
 
So here's my hypocritical double re-think. I am giving up my bike commute for the month. And I am committing to more commitment to riding. I am also jumping on Bob's Multimodal train (figuratively speaking - we don't have any passenger trains around here).
 
In case you too are looking for a Yes Man because you like bikes or you're cheap or you just want to humor the ol' Mesquite Hugger, here are a few Bike 5 posts I recommend.
 
 
 
 
 
Transportation and Health Tool Tags Cycling's Most Dangerous Places (included because the town where I grew up is mentioned)

 
So, get out there and ride something healthier than a car. And go find someone with healthy ideas that inspire you. And pay attention to what's happening in Paris this week. May you be healthy, joyful, and safe.