Friday, March 10, 2006

Commuted

Date: March 9
Mileage: 23.4
March mileage: 79.2
Temperature upon departure: 17
On the iPod: "Mormon Rap" by early-90s BYU students

One of my resolutions for spring is to bicycle commute more often. Some people have asked me why I didn't commute more during the winter - after all, I wasted a lot of energy driving to and from work and then riding 10 to 40 miles afterward. Three words - I was scared.

Many people live in cities and have the luxury of choosing from a number of side roads to spin down on their way to town. I have but two choices, and they both involve:

* Dropping from my house, at 1,200 feet elevation, to near-sea level in 2.5 miles on
* a narrow, winding road with blind corners and steep drop-offs, riding alongside
* heavy rush-hour traffic, because everyone who lives on the Ridge has to take the same road out which
* just happens to relatively poorly maintained in the winter, meaning months on end of either glare ice/packed snow; soft, punchy sand/snow mix; or outright slush - all of which make general handling, control and braking distance less than ideal, especially on grades ranging from 7 to 11 percent.

Of course, I head down these roads all the time to go on joy rides. But winter commuting on East or West Hill means that I'd have to make both the cheek-rattling drop and the labored climb in the dark, on roads where street lights don't exist, with rush hour traffic whipping around every corner. Honestly, I'm all for going car-free. But that just seems suicidal, really.

Of course, now that it's light between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., and now that there's a glimmer of hope that the roads will one day be dry again, I really don't have any more excuses. So my plan is to up my bicycle-to-car commuting ratio as the spring goes on, hopefully increasing to nearly every day by summertime.

But, as far as going entirely car free, you tell me ... how much would a gallon of milk be worth to you if getting it meant 10 round-trip miles with a 1,200-foot climb every time you ran out of something? On second thought, I bet I'd lose a lot of weight that way. Not because of the extra riding, but because I'd probably give up milk.

Go pedal power.