Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Evening Commute

I commute to work by bicycle from time to time ~ maybe once a week in the summer, and on occasion through the rest of the year. The days I don't go into the office, reading and writing days, I'm often around the nearby area of town on my bike, but that only sort-of counts.

The ride from home to the church office isn't too long, but it's long enough that I have to take it seriously. Commuting by bike instead of car adds about 30 minutes to the trip each way, but removes the need to go to the gym or for a run that day. It's basically a wash, timewise. I have to be certain that I don't need to go anywhere too far from the office through the day (commuting by bike around the suburbs can be challenging), but if I need to be at the office all day, it's nice to be able to cycle to work.

I especially like riding to work on days when I need to stay into the evening. Riding home in the cool of a summer evening, especially after a long day (or a church council meeting, which can potentially make for a long day all by itself), is a perfect way to transition. Last night, the cool of the air along with a sky so clear that the entire moon was almost perfectly visible even though it was only a crescent was phenomenal to experience. And aside from only a few other cyclists, a couple holding hands who were surprised by my approach, and a city bus that didn't bother looking to see me coming down the road, the journey home was clear and unobstructed.

In the middle of the ride last night, I was reminded of the first time I took nighttime rides through the city. I was just out of college, that summer before moving away from Texas, and I was doing graveyard shift temp work in a factory. Some nights I had work, some nights they didn't need me. I wanted to sleep, but there was no way that was going to happen, since after getting off at 7 am, I'd slept 'til almost 2 in the afternoon (that's when the pick-up basketball games usually started).

With nothing on tv worth watching, no way to sleep, and nothing better to do, I set off on my bike toward downtown. What I discovered was streets crowded through the day virtually empty at night, cool air after triple digit daytime temps, and ease of movement on mostly smooth streets. I discovered a new kind of freedom that I hadn't been aware of before, and when I met another guy on a bicycle, I knew that other people had discovered the same thing before I did.

And last night, on the way home from council, I felt the same freedom I remember from that summer. It was nice ~ maybe I'll commute by bicycle today as well.

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