Sunday, May 8, 2011

our thing is a good thing.

I wish I could write more during the week.  I think about what I want to say almost every day but then the job that pays the bills intrudes and when I get home and put away my bicycle I have a family to enjoy.  My feeling all week was "this thing I have, this bicycling thing, it's a good thing.  And it's a thing I share with a lot of other people.  It's our thing."

Our thing is definitely better than this thing as an aside.

My bicycling thing is shared with cars as well.  The bad times we interact stand out because terror makes a person remember but the good things are more frequent.  I was on my way to school with the bike and wagon and Rapunzel and we were waiting at a red light and wanting to go left.  The light turned green and a giant Suburban rolled forward, she had the right of way.  But she sees us and smiles and gestures broadly that we should go ahead and I wave and we both (I think) go away happy with our place in the world.

Thursday I get out of work and hightail it towards home.  Almost immediately I get shoaled at an intersection by a guy I've seen around work.  He's riding a vintage fixie, not a single note wrong to my admittedly un-tutored eye, I don't think it even has brakes.  He's slow through the intersection and holds the rest of us up.  I don't like that so I pour it on and haul past him doing 25mph uphill (which is strong for me) and I make the next light and he does not.  He runs it anyways.

At the bottom of the hill we split up and I continue on but then our routes re-converge again and I clear a light he's waiting for.  Now I've passed him twice.  Our routes split up again but we meet up three streets further on and I pass him again.  Three times.  I'm enjoying myself.

I work hard and put a lot of distance between us.  I love racing with the other bicyclists.  Left to myself I'll noodle along, especially if it's windy, but today I mean to show this shoaling fixie riding yoga fanatic (yes) that I'm the faster bicyclist.

I see another bicyclist up ahead that I know, and catch up.  He's on his road bike and making pretty good time himself.  He gives me his usual sideways look and we catch up on things like kids and weather and bicycles.  We're a little slower now and Fixie-Guy catches up and drafts.

Next comes Palo Alto and the Contraption Captain arrives pulling the now empty wagon.  He hauls his rig around and now there are four of us bicycling together (no, angry hostile people, not all in a row, but together as this is bicycle boulevard after all...) for about a mile before Nice peels off towards his home, Fixie heads towards wherever he's going and Contraption Captain and I turn our rides toward Sand Hill Road.

It was the moment when we were all together, four people with variations on the same bicycle theme that I experienced a short feeling of being in a majority, of being the norm and not the outlier.  It is those moments that I feel sure that bicycling has a future on all our roads, everywhere.  That people will meet up with their friends and race each other home or slow down to talk.  That no one will question that we bicyclists have a place on every road that leads to home. 

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