Happy Bike to Work Week everyone! I hope you're having a great one.
I'd like to take a moment to tell you about my regular commute, because I love it.
First, the basics. From home to work, it's 12 miles, so 24 miles round trip. Each way takes me about 45 minutes--depending on the wind--which just happens to be the right amount of time to wake up and ease into the day. Happily, on the way home, that same 45 minutes is also the exact right amount of time to decompress from the day's work and to arrive home with a cleared mind and any residual stress gone. In between, it's a rich mixture of local neighborhoods, parks, busy city areas, roads, trails, suburbia, flats, hills (up and down), and wind (head and tail). It's always a little of everything.
Then there's the sights and sounds. Somehow every day I manage to ride by: a former Omaha mayor's house, a zen center, a roller coaster, a shooting range (complete with a sign on the trail warning, "Stay on the path. Shooting range ahead."), and a horse racetrack--to mention just a few of the landmarks.
And every day, I see something new or different or simply something I never noticed before. A few weeks ago, I saw two big snakes (bull snakes? What am I, a herpetologist?) sunning themselves on the Keystone Trail. They didn't even move as I rode past.
Today, I passed a middle-aged man with long blonde hair tied up in a braid running down the length of his back, sitting on a bench with his head in his hands, lost in thought. I also saw a teenage boy in a printed floral skirt. Or maybe it was a mumu.
This morning, while stopped at the light at the corner of Saddle Creek and Leavenworth, a woman pulled up behind me on her bike, and we gave each other that knowing cyclist head nod and said hi, sharing a moment of pedal camaraderie.
I ride through a neighborhood where the fenced-in backyards face the trail and many of the houses have decent-sized sheds or garages near the fence line. Almost without fail, these people take whatever random, sizable stuff they have--wheelbarrows, pickup truck toppers, cement mixers--and stash it between the shed or garage and the backyard fence. To them, it's stowing this unused yet potentially still need item out of sight--from their perspective from their house. But to me on the trail, it's like they're putting it front and center, on display for my enjoyment. And I appreciate it.
And as a native Omahan, every daily ride brings back memories. The drug store that I rode to on my kid's bike where I used to buy candy, that's not a drug store anymore. The parks where I grew up, and my dad before me, too. The house where the musicians lived and had a practice room in the basement, where I set up my drums and sat in with them a few times. The intersection where I got my first ticket driving a car--for not stopping at a stop sign. And not a few places I now like to frequent for food and drink on a regular basis with friends old and new.
So, I love my commute. Very few of my car commutes has ever impressed me, in the most direct sense of the word--as in leaving a mark--and yet so many of my bicycling commutes have. During this Bike To Work Week, what would you share about your commute?