Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stormy Weather and its Lessons

This week has seen the first major rain AND wind storm of the season here. It has proven to be more of a challenge than I was up for, so I decided to combine the distance/time advantage of my car with the benefit of dryness. Some longer-distance visits were in order, so it seemed  a good time to go to four wheels. However, I noticed a few things right away.

First, there is the matter of speed. I can cover so much ground in a car… but I notice it now. Going up hills with complete ease, through traffic corridors I would avoid on a bike, and combining a number of locations in disparate areas of town on one “voyage” is so natural—and seductive—in a car. Today I was made particularly aware of this because I went from one meeting to another, nearly seamlessly, but also without the transition time I have come to enjoy on my bike.

Second, I picked up quite quickly on how much my being in a car reduces my experience of the communities I pass by to that of mere “observer,” rather than a participant. Slowly over recent months, I have begun to expect more active participation in my transportation, as well as exercise, time for reflection, and the opportunity to observe people and nature.

It has never been my intention to replace my car with my bike, but over recent months I have largely done so. What struck me today was how much I now value the experience of cycling in addition to its obvious savings and health benefits.

I still would take the car today if I had to do it over again, though. Sheesh.

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