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bike commute

0 In Vignettes

Downsizing, Chapter 3

The main problem here is that Paul Henry is just a big instigator…

Of course, I have not been as diligent at bike riding as I’d hoped to be ~ in fact the plan was that once I had a bike, I was ditching the car effective immediately. A week into it, and I’m not so sure. After my first bike commute on Tuesday, I think I did pedal in to the office once more on Friday… But Monday, not so much…

Monday afternoon, Paul Henry came up to me and offered me a wager: we both had to ride our bikes to work the next day, and if one of us showed up at the office with their car instead of a bike, they had to buy the other person lunch.

“So what are the conditions under which the bet is called off?” asked Paul.

“Snow… It has to be actively snowing, or pouring buckets of frigid rain… Otherwise, the deal is on!” answered me.

The next day dawned on a sunny, but very, very cold morning. Being the sometimes stubborn and always determined person that I am, I was not going to drive up to work with my tail between my legs, and take the chance of having to buy Paul Henry’s lunch. I pedaled my way through the icy cold wind to the office, only to find (gasp) Paul Henry’s truck in the parking lot.

“It’s supposed to snow today! I thought that was the deal! Snow = no bike…” exclaimed Paul.

“Oh no… actively snowing was the deal! It’s perfectly sunny this morning!” answered me.

Paul Henry was true to his word, and bought my very smug self a delicious tempeh wrap from Kebaba. As the afternoon wore on, however, the weather forecast also proved to be true, and I watched dismayed from my desk as little snow flurries slowly evolved into big, fat, sticking snowflakes.

Eventually I had to face the fact that it was really, really snowing, and I wasn’t going to make the snow go away by sheer force of will. Being the expert bike rider that I’m not, I was genuinely afraid for my life as I packed up my laptop early and jumped on my bike to get home, riding gingerly over little clumps of snow in the road.

That snow-filled death ride was the closest I’ve ever come to frost bite, I’m almost certain. I was so cold by the time I got home, so annoyed from snowflakes pelting me in the eyes, and so filled from adrenaline from being certain that I’d slide out and land under a car at any moment, that I was honestly ready to call it quits on the whole “going without a car” ridiculous mess that I’d talked myself into. I mean really, this is a town where you have to be on snow watch for eight months out of the year. What was I thinking?

Of course, by the time I’d dried off and warmed up, a really obvious thought occurred to me: “Uhmm… hello? Why didn’t you leave the bike at the office overnight and just ask someone to drop you off on their way home?”

It’s that independence thing, independence to the point of foolishness, apparently…

Photo credit: Hiroyuki Takeda on Flickr