I moved to east Austin earlier this year, and yesterday morning I rode my bike to work for the first time from my new location. I’m embarrassed that I hadn’t already been biking to work, as my bike route to work is a mere 2.3 miles.
But as an insecure bike rider, the challenges always seem like obstacles. (I think there are some lessons to be learned in there for us when we talk about how to attract new transit riders…if you are an insecure transit rider, the challenges seem more like obstacles.) My challenges yesterday: 1. I live east of Airport Blvd. Airport Blvd is not an inviting road for biking. Even just crossing over Airport is a bit stressful. To keep my route as direct as possible, I opted to ride on the sidewalk between two intersections on Airport, before cutting over to a side street. 2. When I was ready to ride back home yesterday afternoon, I discovered I had a flat tire. I didn’t have any supplies to fix a flat tire, and even if I did, I wouldn’t know how to do it. So, I left my bike and hopped a bus home. I hope to get the flat fixed today so I can try again tomorrow.
But despite the challenges, I never fail to observe something interesting, fun, or different when I’m not behind the wheel of the car. Yesterday morning’s bike ride included two roosters–one on the end of my street crowing good morning, and another closer to work, sitting on a fence post. In the afternoon, my bus drops me off about half a mile from home, and during the walk I passed several creeks, scores of rain lilies, which I love, and also about 20 feet of trailing lantana (purple) along a retaining wall. I never notice this stuff in the car. On future mornings when I am rationalizing why I should sleep a bit more and forget about riding the bike to work, I need to remind myself that there are thousands of small pleasures to notice and appreciate when I’m not isolated from my environment in a car.