5.23.2007

Mostly uphill

Most of my adult life I've been riding a bike, either recreationally, competitively, or as basic transportation. This started way back when in high school in Europe: The first real job* I ever had, was over the summer, working for a German company that had the contract to clean offices on an American military base, on nice days I would ride a bike to work, and when it rained I took the bus.

Since then, I have ridden a bike at least some of the time to every paying job I've ever had...with one exception when I had a company car. I am not much of a car person, and hardened from exposure to riding in traffic from a quite early age, busy roads and pissy aggressive drivers don't really faze me too much.

Since I stopped riding competitively in 2002, however, my mileage on a bike has really fallen off precipitously, and it is increasingly rare for me to ride recreationally. This is kind of a shame, because throughout my life, the bike has been one of the few venues where I am really comfortable meeting new people.

I am, however, both committed to the idea of reducing my 'carbon footprint' and a pretty thrifty (ie, cheap) person, so I finally lubed up my old and battle-worn road bike and finally managed to start riding to work this week. It kind of hurts because I'm getting older and my bike is still set up to race (ie, high saddle - low handlebars) but after some after a few days of riding regularly my body will start to adapt. Apple trees are blossoming and I can smell their fragrance as I ride through Waterbury Center on my way to work, and I have noticed in the course of my career, that if my ride to work is the absolute highlight of my day... that is usually a sign that my job isn't going well.

I won't begin to list all the reasons why driving a car is bad (I think that there is a fairly straight line, between putting gas in the tank, and funding people/groups, who would kill me if they could) is a bad thing. But congestion and sprawl are certainly marring the landscape in parts of Vermont so more people riding to work, at least in the clement seasons of the year, would be a good thing.

My old racing/training/commuting bike. Lots of miles on this baby, in a wide range of circumstances.

The profile of my ride to work in the morning.Why pay money to join a gym when you can climb 900+ vertical feet on a bike every morning?

*This job was nuts, I was an illegal, non-authorized worker, kind of like a migrant farm worker in the US today. The people on the crew were the detritus from the four corners of the world: Yugoslavians, Greeks, Turks, Somalis, etc. I was paid in cash -- a fist full of Deutschemarks every two weeks. Kind of an eye opening introduction to the exciting world of work.

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