Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Lubbock on a Bike: Last Commute 2016

Back in high school, we had a Horatio Alger Day where we learned that we could be anything that we set our heart to be. (I may need another one of those.) I don't remember much from that day, but I very clearly remember one thing that a guest speaker told us. On the chalkboard he had drawn a bunch of stars up high and a steaming pile of something down low. Then he drew a bow and an arrow. "It is better to aim for the stars and miss [he paused for dramatic emphasis] than to aim for the poop and hit it." (Yes, he really said "poop".)
It was 39 degrees and breezy when I left the house this morning. I was a little disorganized and was disappointed to realize that I had grabbed two right-handed mechanics gloves for the ride. I ended up riding with one hand on the handlebar and one in my jacket pocket. I also forgot my reflective vest. Oy vey! But not really - every ride is a good ride. Every day I ride is a better day than it would have been.
Bike shadow on the mall taken on this morning's commute
My goal for this year was to commute at least 1000 miles on a bicycle - to reduce my car driving by at least 1000 miles. My goal was to tangibly reduce my carbon output. And I considered 1000 miles to be fairly modest.
I have so far hit 84% of my goal - I have five miles to ride home. My daily commute to work (round trip) is about 10 miles or 1% of my goal.

My stats from today (National Bike Challenge website)
But today is the last day this year that I'll commute to work. My commute takes me very near the mall (a place akin to Hell this time of year) and there is no biking (or walking) infrastructure in place near the mall. And if you ever want to see man's inhumanity to man, just watch the non-gleeful Lubbock drivers trying to get to the mall between Thanksgiving and Christmas.(This is my overly wordy way of saying I am extremely scared to ride to work during the holidays.)
The red arrow is my commute path. The green arrow is the place where no one stops at the red light. An easy place to commit suicide by traffic.
But I am happy to say that I aimed for the stars. The 14-year-old Dodge pickup with 178,000 miles on it spent 84 days sitting in the driveway at home not burning oil or gas. That's 84 days I did not step in poop.

Okay people, I am shooting for 1200 miles next year. How about you? What is your clean goal for the coming year? (Feel free to answer)

May you aim for the stars and help us all to drag ourselves out of the poop!

A special thanks to the Norris family for donating a very nice bike to the Mesquite Hugger Office of Commuting, to my office mate and good friend who leaves the office so I can change into more work appropriate clothing, to my lovely and wonderful wife for putting up with bikes everywhere (sometimes including the dining room), and to all of the Lubbock drivers who have not run me over.

Non-sequitur: Milky Chance Covers the Pixies (to offer you a groovy day)