Bags are packed...
I try to cycle into work whenever I can. Sometimes a car-necesary job  schedule gets in the way. Sometimes I wake up too late, which, sometimes, is tied to a wine intake decision the evening before. Sometimes the weather conspires to confound my plan. Sometimes my hamstrings and hip flexors aren't so happy. But I try my best to drown out those voices and be a spokesman for bicycle commuting.

There are a lot of good reasons for keeping the car keys in the dish. It's some exercise, of course. But things happen to you that just don't happen to you behind a steering wheel. A rabbit runs a block alongside you. You get to think about trees. And churches. And ravines. And everything else you pass by at the speed of thought.

The cycling imagination lets you make independent movies at about 80 revolutions per minute.

This morning, the moon was on my right shoulder all the way in.

A degree of temperature means something.

There are a lot more good reasons to saddle up and pedal in. Some are easy to put in words, but some aren't, and it's those elusive reasons I am trying to find the right gear for and chase down.

My ride downtown is composed of two parts: cycling to downtown, and then cycling downtown. From our house in Parkview, that first part (from 148 St and 89 Ave, across the MacKinnon Ravine, through Glenora and Oliver and into Railtown) is gorgeous and quiet and relatively uneventful. The second part (crossing 109 St and heading east along 102 Ave to 99 St) is a more gritty. It seems that car drivers, as they near their downtown destinations, are wound up a little tighter than they are on the collector roads.

Calm of Rice Howard Way

On my bike, my appreciation of my exposure heightens. And my senses become keener. I am aware of bumps in the road. Sewer grates have meaning. I realize the sense of a city's physicalness that is one of the reasons I love riding. It's like a film you can touch.

The most harrowing part of the journey is along 102 Ave from 103 St to Rice Howard Way. Cars everywhere. Tunnel vision. Buses are moving canyon walls. The curb is the most dangerous place to be. Nerves are taut. Everything is everything.

And then a quick right hand signal and the bike flows onto the cobblestones of Rice Howard Way -- and calm. The vibrations registered by the tires, before words can make the sensation stand still, suggest the feeling of being in an eddy. After the river.

Cobblestones, front tire, shadow

(Note: On October 18th, you can hear me on CJSR radio be a spokesman for the cycling life on CJSR radio. It'll be cool to talk to Karly, the bike traffic reporter, and Peter, from Full English Breakfast about a previous blog, the Bill of Rides.)


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