Friday, February 8, 2013


this is the first time i've been able to lean back in my seat today, and most other days in the week.

it snowed today. it snowed so much that in the few minutes it took me to shovel our miniscule front walk and portion of the sidewalk, the first areas i had cleared were already white again, yielding not to the ground-in salt or the wind that brought it and threatened to take it away on the next gust.

in these kinds of conditions, riding a studded-tire mountain bike in goggles and blinking lights is an excellent idea for getting to work. fresh snow is usually easier to ride in than the packed-until-it-gives-way snow usually found on uncleared roads frequented by four-wheeled commuters come hell or high snowbanks. of course, fresh snow covers 85% of my bike route, and is perfectly good and safe. it's the 7.5% at the beginning and the other 7.5% at the end that truly worry me: that's where the cars are. and cars can't stop. they don't know this, of course, until it's too late, and all lessons are learned the hard way on days like today.

all this, to say: i took the subway.

this blog was founded on the notion of riding bikes, and how that practice links to human pursuits of all other dimensions, so it's odd to break a dry spell on the one day i'm not actually riding bikes. the fact of the matter is, this break from churning pedals through salt-crusted tracks has given me pause. i don't like being able to lean back in my seat.

most other days, i arrive at work well before the main rush, and i am soaked in sweat and covered in road grime, usually salt. having no showers available to the lone bike commuter, and no area in which i may drape my clothes in the hopes of drying them before my return trip in the afternoon, i work all day in the residue of the morning's effort, and my kit hangs in evidence all over the collective office space. i kinda feel bad for that; i kinda can't bother to fix it.

not having ridden today, the back of my chair is covered in dry outerwear that was not soaked in the sweat of an honest commute. i took the subway, stood next to all kinds of people i don't know in a rumbling embrace punctuated by squeals of metal on metal, and that kid's headphones screeching some poorly done remix of a 'classic' that came out before 'vintage' even existed. goodness, i'm old. i think this, and type this, as i lean back against the dry liner of a thick parka that is so warm i had to take it off and hold it after the subway cleared out, trembling on toward the next wintry station. i'm typing on a computer i could bring in because i wasn't afraid of falling on hidden ice and smashing it along with all the other contents of my backpack. i'm full from the lunch i just ate, and i'll have to work it off tonight because i haven't done anything other than trudge through snowbanks for minutes at a time. commuting sucks. riding bikes is beautiful.

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