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#1 2021-06-10 23:03:24

From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 35

Bicycling has attributes that keep it a life long pleasure

Hey, Michael

[I'd like to email you. My email address is I cannot update my profile and the email for ggw is woefully out-of-date.]

Middle of June, 2021 and I believe that environmental summer here is starting.
I ride a recumbent and really don't like to be rained on. Even trying to evade it by carrying the recumbent to a nearby porch is not a sure thing due to the length of it and handle bars to stick out, so I usually don't commute in the late spring when rains are predicted daily.

Today was a very good day to commute. It gets light about as early as it can get, there was the light breeze from the north and a temperature still in the lower 70s.

I'm 74 now. I have biked *fairly* continuously since arriving in Austin in 1965. The pandemic removed my commute which has always, regardless of my employer, been about 9 miles for some 10 months; and this unusual winter and slow start to the spring-summer made me wonder when I set out how I would react to my usual choice of route to north Austin whose path I know very, very well. I am not a competitive cyclist .. not even in my mind for about the last 40 years.

I turned my corner at Woodrow to head north and heard "click click" a bit further north.

I feel a need to mention that I am a bit nearsighted and have a pair of glasses for distance and another optimized for 20 inches for viewing a medium sized monitor for my software programming job. I accidentally headed off with the "close up" pair on. I planned to dismount and rummage through the bag stuffed into my pannier, but the riding felt too good to stop for that AND (the point of this aside) I find that I think better of the world around me if it slightly out-of-focus. ..Through (figuratively speaking) Rose Colored Glasses. Having, like many Austinites, not been face to face for conversations for about 14 months (Yes. I have been going to work for some 4 months now, but there hardly any one there and .. until the end of May wasn't *fully* vaccinated there was not fraternizing with others. With pulling in the horns of my employer we have half the employees  we did as 2019 drew to a close, so everyone has their own office, so I mean it about conversation missing for 14 months.)
What I see is part of the conversations I have with myself. I (we) don't wallow in the imperfections of the road way, homes in disrepair, cars obviously pretty much abandoned, closed businesses whose marque remains months later, .. that sort of thing that fades in to distance when you cannot see them all that well.

The "click, click" was a cyclist up ahead snapping his feet into the petals. Another 30 seconds went by and I was clearly (pun there) had gained on him. He got to Keonig Lane about 15 seconds before me. There were 2 cars at the stop light to head north and 1 on the other side heading south. The cyclist bolt across against the light (this was about 8:15). I don't run lights (driving a car or riding a bike) so I waited behind the 2 cars. Woodrow curves a bit to the left before straightening out to lead us very straight for a mile or 2. It is also the 1st rise.

I was moved to imagine why it was that the guy wasn't that far ahead. You can imagine a half dozen things without trying. So I watched the fuzzy being as I once again gained on him.

This entire post is a build up to this: I was now about 1/3 done with my commute and I was enjoying it as much as anytime in years and years. How could that be when I'm years and years older? I think it is because over my life I have never (a software programmer team of one) had deadlines that I overextended myself to meet (..learned that about myself as my sophmore year at UT drew to a close). I ride my recumbent to a set of attributes that is a sense of resistance. That sense of resistance is one I know I can maintain all day. If I increase my effort I get winded and have to back off to between 8-9 mph for or I won't enjoy my work and will go to sleep early, wake up too early to arise for the day .. just all messed up. 9 miles of city commuting isn't going to ever sap my energy for long. Maybe when I'm 80?
o I don't race against others, so I won't be getting disappointed when I can no-longer keep up.
o I don't race to "beat" stop lights, so I won't be getting T-boned .. for *that* reason .. if I could no longer have that burst of adrenalin to be well clear of traffic that "can't catch me".
o I stop at stop signs realizing that "starting up" is good exercise for muscles that otherwise wouldn't get much.
o Not being winded affords me many more opportunities to say "Hi" or to thank someone (3 someones on my way home about 6:15pm) who makes admiring noises (recumbents*still* do that especially this Mike Librik Special with high rider bars).

All of those things have a perception level that changes slowly with this rider. Those levels are particular to me and as a commuter with my own path there is no "comparing" to others.

o My 9 miles to and 9 miles from have no speed limits above 35 (most are 25) so my hand grip mirrors work great at being aware of traffic coming up from behind. It is hard to quantify how much stress that removes from constant wariness.

I hope I've gotten across why bicycling stays the fun activity that it is year after year.

Last edited by ggw (2021-06-10 23:12:16)


#2 2021-06-11 08:33:45

From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,342

Re: Bicycling has attributes that keep it a life long pleasure

Thank you very much for the thoughtful post.  You're lucky to have such a peaceful commute, but maybe part of your 9 miles is added distance so you can avoid the more harrowing streets.


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