Some Randomness and then “Why You Should Use a Bicycle for Transportation”

2 Oct

Do you see the stuffed opossum finger puppet down there? Okay, how about the salad spinner down a little further? Everything between the opossum and the salad spinner I wrote yesterday. Unfortunately, it was giving off a “this all sucks” vibe, so I slammed my laptop lid and walked away from it. Today I wrote everything before the opossum and after the salad spinner. (And don’t think for a second that I believe what I wrote today is better than yesterday.)

Right now I’m in Sacred Grounds–or what we call The Coffee Shop. A middle-age couple is to my right, up by the window, arguing about something. They’ve been at it for an hour.  Papers are scattered on their table along with a laptop. It’s absolutely killing me not knowing what’s going on between them. I can’t make out a single word they’re saying. Why can’t they yell like normal couples? Are they divorcing? They’re not arguing over who’s going to mop the kitchen tonight, that’s for sure; it’s something serious. Am I too nosy?

Two couples at a table in front of me are playing bridge. They’re older than the fighting pair. They’re getting along just peachy. I can hear most of what they’re saying, but it’s all boring. They all look happy. Probably because it’s 10:37 in the morning on a Tuesday and they’re in a coffee shop playing cards. I know nothing about bridge. I suspect I’m too young for that game.

But I have been spending an inordinate amount of my time playing Animal Planet “Go Fish.” Ainsley seems to be carrying the cards around with her all day. We played two games before bed last night and two more this morning before we rode off to school.

Ainsley’s school is 1.5 miles from our house. To begin the school year she was riding the bus back and forth, but we’ve switched over to riding our bikes instead. Why you ask? Why go to all that trouble when I can walk a few steps to the bus stop? Well, there’s several benefits and I’m going to clue you in on a few because I want you to get on a bike too.

  • Riding a bike everyday will become your Fountain of Youth. You might be old and creaky now, but after a month of daily riding, you’ll look and feel younger and you’ll probably weigh less than you did before. In 1513, Ponce de León went to what is now Florida in search of this legendary spring and didn’t find shit. Do you know why? Because he didn’t get there on a bicycle. Stop reading and go stand in front of a mirror. See how tired and pathetic you look? Mark the calendar and begin using your bicycle for errands. Get a rear rack and some panniers so you can carry some groceries. After a month of this, stand in front of the same mirror in the same light. See how much better you look? Yeah, you look decent now. Keep it up.
  • A bike ride obliterates bad moods. Today Ainsley was riding behind me when I decided to ride in some small, loose rocks on the side of the road. I came this close to losing control and eating pavement, but cat-like reflexes and balance saved me. I had planned to skid a little–a teeny bit–to provide some Monday morning humor for Ainsley, and it worked. She giggled as my heart pounded. It’s not that she wasn’t in a fine mood before. It’s the breeze on our faces. It’s our heart pumping faster, and our muscles working harder that provides an instant shot of happiness.
  • Every bike ride is an adventure. Friday on the way home from school, I passed what I thought was a piece of ribbon or rope. I didn’t even really look at it. Behind me, Ainsley yelled “There’s a snake in the road!” I said no way and she said “Yes,  turn around!” I said I didn’t see a snake and she said “Yes, turn around!” I stopped because I wanted to see this play out. If it was just a piece of black rope, it would be hilarious and we would laugh about it. We turned around and went back and there was a freakin’ garter snake in the middle of the road just sitting there all calm and relaxed. This was the first snake I’d seen all summer. (I guess I don’t hang out in weeds enough.) Anyway, this was a semi-busy road, so I used my front tire to convey “Get on over there in the grass before you get smushed little snakey.” On another day, Ainsley crashed into a hedge; it’s always something different.

I realize some people have less than two legs and are thinking “What’s wrong with this jackass, talking about riding a bicycle–like everyone has two legs.” And I apologize. For you I recommend a handcycle. Looks like fun. And I’ll bet you’ll have fabulously toned arms in, like, two weeks.

I also know some of you live out in the boonies where you’ll be mauled by a large animal if you venture more than ten feet from your front door. And if you live through the deadly attack, you’re looking at a twenty mile trip to Kroger. For you I suggest a Trek Madone 7.9. It’s light. It’s fast. And it costs $11,549.99. I know, that may sound a little high for a bike, but it’ll make the bear’s head spin and get you there and back so fast you’ll … I don’t know what you’ll do. Maybe you’ll just shrug, sit down, and drink some tea.

Ride on.

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