Thursday, August 19, 2010

The second day shakedown

There is an overused cliche' attributed to the Chinese or Confucius that says the longest journey begins with a single step. As of yesterday, this blog represents my first step toward some unknown destination. The good news is I've taken that step. The bad news is my destination is unclear.
On the previous post, I mentioned full disclosure about being a teacher. The reason I felt I needed to inform readers of my occupation relates to my goal of riding my bicycle to work everyday for the year. When I say that, I feel a little tinge of guilt about it, because realistically I don't commute to the high school all summer, for an entire week in Spring, an entire week in late December/ early January, and about every holiday that honors an important dead person. So, obviously, for me to achieve a goal of riding my bicycle to work everyday for a year is significantly less of an accomplishment than someone who truly works year round.
Nonetheless, I still feel it will be an accomplishment. Allow me to disclose further. Last school year I did manage to ride my bike every school day except for three. These three days were in early January, the first week back to school after our Christmas/ New year's break. Thick ice coated the roads. I could have gone on and rode. I've pedaled on ice before. However, I began to think about my pride and how it may interfere with my ability to make a good decision. Was I being stubborn and taking a risk which could affect my family? Already I take a risk almost daily by taking the bike instead of my pickup truck. Now, let me say cycling is not dangerous, but everytime there's a bike/vehicle collision the bike loses. EVERYTIME! Add to that the increased risk of a fall on the ice, and I opted to drive my pickup those three days until the road crews were able to make the roads navigable for me. I consoled myself by saying I was demonstrating good decision making for my students.
So, technically, even with all the scheduled days on the calendar when school was not in session, I was unable to ride my bike to school everyday for one full year. But, that doesn't take away from the minor hardships I endured getting to and from school all the other days. It still would have been much easier for me to simply drive instead of biking.
I'm almost out of available time to write this morning, but before I go I wish to relate to the readers all my support and encouragement if they are thinking of undertaking a similar endeavor. Ride your bike to work if it makes sense. If you live over five miles from your workplace, it might not be the best idea. However, you likely are made of sterner stuff than I am and can absolutely do it. I gleaned that five mile figure from the many websites I comb through about bicycles and commuting and running errands, so it's not mine. But, it seems like a good rule of thumb. The biggest factors involved in commuting by bicycle year round, for me, were time and weather preparedness.
Tune in tomorrow, or the next day, for the next entry in The Midwest Bicycle Commuter. Hey, I don't get paid for this, and if I want to skip a day I will! Keep those wheels spinning and enjoy another full day of your life. From Kansas, I'm out.

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I welcome your positive, relevant comments and questions. Also, I welcome the opportunity to form a network of like minded individuals by sharing information, links, etc.