Sunday, September 21, 2008

Faster than a Speeding D-Line Trolley!

Alright, maybe only faster if you count the 1/2 mile walk on each end of my D-Line commute. On Friday, I biked from my abode near Weeks Park to Northeastern University (via Beacon Street) in a little over 40 minutes, and back in a little over 45, for a total of 15 miles. And two days later I can say (smugly!) that I'm not sore. Alright, my neck's a little stiff. And I was a little wobbly when I got home, and was snoozing by 9:30pm. But I'm all set to do it again!


If I'm going to keep this up, I need some higher gears than my old mountain bike provides: pedaling like a madman on gentle downhill slopes in my highest gear. Or I need to relax and coast.

Stopped at a light in Brookline, eastbound, 8:20 am. A red Lamborghini revs next to me, its roar mocking my puny attempt to save the planet. In a few moments, the car is a red speck in the distance, which, relative to the planet, so am I in my red jacket. We're all puny. But the driver of the Lamborghini is puny and probably a jerk.

Beacon Street westbound at 4:00pm: sun in my eyes, an easy pace behind another commuter uphill towards Coolidge Corner, a 20-something in spandex on a single-speed passing me, no cars (other than parked ones) in sight. Nirvana! More cycles than cars. At least for a minute or two.

Just past Coolidge Corner, one car is backing into a parallel spot, blocking traffic, and the door of another car opens. As if arranged by a cosmic bike-commuting professor: Hazards 101.

Further west on Beacon, stopped at another light. The driver in the car next to me starts dialing his cellphone. The light turns green. He keeps dialing. I yell (cheerfully, I hope) "Beep! Beep!" It works!

The hills are alive... with the sound of my huffing and puffing. Between Chestnut Hill Reservoir and the Mary Baker Eddy house, I just about got off and walked. I cursed the 15 pounds of notebooks and textbooks in my pannier, and I cursed the road for getting so damn narrow near the the top of the hill. But, ah! The coast down the other side on those broad new shoulders!

There are a lot of cyclists out there. It's a thrill to be part of this growing tribe.

Why don't we in the bike-tribe talk to each other? Are we lost in thought? Overly acclimatized to the isolation of 2-ton steel cages? Coming and going, a good dozen cyclists passed me without warning: no bell, no "passing on the left," nothing. If we aren't civil with our own tribe, are we a we?

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