Thursday, December 17, 2009


My neighbor has a new job that’s less than three miles from my office. So we decided that we’d try where I would bike from Dog Mtn to the Desert San, and then in the evenings I’d ride to her office and get a lift home. My neighbor has a shamelessly huge SUV that is totally bling!

Gentle Readers of This Blog—I had forgotten that this long commute route is just over 27 miles. I left Dog Mtn at 5:30 a.m. and arrived at the bike lockers at the San at 7:15 a.m. That’s almost two hours. Dang… I am out of shape, mes amis. But I am happy to report that I just found a groove and kept moving.

Temperature was 41 degrees but on parts of my route I know that might dip a few degrees. Most the trip is all climbing, so I stayed warm dragging my butt up the road. Only my toes got cold. Note to Santa—I need some toe booties. I will leave the traditional Scotch Rocks and cigarettes there for you by the chimney, Santa Old Chap!

I am also happy to report that my old friend Jack, a teacher who commutes on my route, pulled up and joined me for the long climb up Ina and Sunrise to Campbell. His school is on top of the climb. It was good to have someone to talk to as the sun slowly climbed up the Rincon Range east of Tucson. Jack said he could see my red blinky lights from way way back—and that they were almost blinding! He knew it was me. He’s fit because if he was way way back, he caught me pretty fast.

Jack showed me his new light set up too. He had two super blinky red tail lights, and one on his helmet. He also has a bright white strobe light on his handle bars like I do as well. He said he’d almost been hit by motorist by the right hook—where they pass you and turn right suddenly. You have to stop quickly to avoid hitting them as they turn. And then he said he had several motorists turn left in front of him. They could see him, but they just thought they would turn anyway.

My Layton Light with the Hub, I am happy to report, is freakin’ bright. Even Jack said he could see it and he was amazed at how bright is shown. Really Gentle Readers, if you are going to commute, you must have the brightest lights you can get, and have several. It may look even dorkier with your kit, but as Jack told me—it seemed like my bike and I were a shooting star in the bike lane.

So now I will report on riding to my neighbor's office and getting a lift.

First of all, my legs were mighty sore. Second--about 3 p.m. I was falling asleep here in the office. To stay awake, I did little things here and there to keep me moving--things like recycling all the papers I don't need, packing up all my clothes, and figuring out which ones I could pick up the next day when I drove. Finally 4:30 rolled around and was out the door and soon on the bike.

What I thought were three short miles actually turned out to be over eight. I'm not sure what I did to mess that up--but it took me 35 minutes to get to Heather's office. Now that I think about it--I had to take the long way around because I have to cross over the river and avoid some major busy streets, streets you don't want to ride on when it's getting dark. The sun is going down by 5:20 p.m. now.

When I got to Heather's office, I saw her at her office window--and none of her colleagues were around--so I threw a small rock at the widow and she immediately jumped out of her chair! That same moment she knew it was me because I'm the only one she knows that would be so immature.

What can I say? The drive home in traffic was a slog. Bumper to bumper Tucson traffic. Now I can see how I can get home by bike in almost the same amount of time; we were crawling in what seemed endless streams of human encased in steel and glass.

No mater--we had fun talking and laughing. The big SUV was warm and comfortable. I got home and still had the evening to do a lot of stuff.

I don't know--part of me enjoyed the ride, but I think I would be much happier gliding on that little ribbon of bike lane--taking my chances--than sitting, and sitting, and sitting.



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