Sunday, December 2, 2007

More biking!

Since even before becoming a deadbeat (read: unemployed), I've been trying to make more use of my bicycle. I can use the excercise, for one thing, and it sticks in my craw to give money to the rich bastards that control most of the world's petroleum. Even though I try to always fuel up at a Citgo (the only nationalised oil company owned by a democratically elected government: Venezuela), I also hate the fact that, every time I drive my car, environmentally speaking, I'm contributing to the problem and not the solution.

Here's the trusty steed parked on the Yahara River bike path. It's a Trek 750 (made in Wisconsin!) purchased in 1992 and recently modified by the good people at Revolution Cycles to make it a more comfortable ride.

Madison has truly become a great city for biking. This tunnel alone, finished about a year ago, has made bicycle access to and from my house so much easier. There are still a few parts of the city lacking adequate bike paths, but, for the most part, you can bike to so many places without needing to fight traffic. Many times, it's actually faster than driving.

I also love the fact that, when you bicycle somewhere, you're much less isolated from the things around you. I've driven past this part of Lake Mendota countless times, but rarely really look at it when in a car. I took these photos on a rainy day about two weeks ago while coming home from downtown. I got rather wet, but that was okay. I appreciated the weather more as a result of being out in it.

Now that winter has finally arrived, I will have to figure out how to continue bicycling. All this snow we just got makes it rather difficult, but once the streets are cleared, it should be mostly a matter of dressing properly. Last Friday I rode about 7 or 8 miles in 20 degree weather. My torso was too warm and my face, fingers and legs were numb by the time I got home. Clearly, I wasn't dressed properly.


Suzy said...

Great post, great photos.

Maybe the Kwanzaa Guinea Pig will bring you some decent biking clothes.

Rev. Cycles rocks!

Look how high the water level is at Lake Mendota.

George FW Bush also rides a Trek.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Great photos. Madison looks like a beautiful place to live. I'd love to live by a lake or by the ocean. Good job on buying gas at Citgo, we have been doing the same for about three years now.

Jess Wundrun said...

I saw a guy on his bike this morning. Considering the six inches of frozen ice in the shape of tire tracks I'd say that's pretty awesome dedication.

Suzy said...

I traded my bike for mukluks today.

Ed said...

Dr. MvM: Yes, Madison is beautiful. Unfortunately, all the people moving here from places like Chicago and New York because it's a beautiful place to live are ruining it for us townies. It's sprawling out of control and they're bringing their big city mentality with them (gated communities, luxury condos, luxury SUVs, rich-person haircuts, etc). But, I imagine that's happening everywhere.

Jess: I asked a year-round-biking friend of mine how he deals with these kinds of conditions and he said "You don't." Meaning, I believe, that it's not a good idea to try and bike in frozen rutted streets.

Suzy: Did you use the dog team?

Suzy said...

Yes, my trained corgi and dalmatian team. (That makes me think of a W. C. Fields' movie -- the one where he keeps saying "'Tain't a fit night out for ma-a-a-an nor beast!" I think I remember a good dog sled scene in there.)

Crayons said...


I loved reading this post. I have a terrible toothache tonight, so all of the positive energy in your photos/essay helped me transcend. Truly.

Also, it's good to hear that you are tending to your Self in this time ot unemployment. I usually spiral downward in such situations.

Ed said...

I'm sorry about your toothe. I'm glad reading this was of some help. I know the name of a good and (relatively) inexpensive dentist, if that would be of any interest to you.

That downward spiral is very real, but I'm attempting to reverse it as best I can. Getting out, on or off my bike, has certainly helped. That old spiral is always waiting, though, and it's very patient.

Mauricio Babilonia said...

Hey Ed, Great post. Riding in the winter can be quite a challenge, and the last couple of days have been very difficult weather for it. Just do a little at a time, as it requires lots of practice. I find that flannel-lined jeans and heavy boots help a lot, but I just stop doing it if it ceases to be enjoyable.


PS-Dubya does ride a Trek, but there's no shame in that for those of us who ride them too...even a monkey gets it right sometimes!

Ed said...

Thanks for the tips, Mauricio. I think I will get me some of those flannel lined jeans.