Monday, July 7, 2008

Sea Change - Bicycle Commuting

Well, there's no turning back now. I've committed myself to commuting by bicycle. 10 miles. Uphill both ways.

It all started a month or two ago when I mentioned to a couple coworkers that I had this brilliant idea; I was going to save money on gas and parking and reduce my carbon footprint all while getting in great shape and rediscovering my sanity, which has long been adrift in a sea of cubicles.

One simple idea. So much benefit. Of course I am by no means the first person to think of it. But no one else in my office commutes by bicycle so I feel like I've invented the goddamn Swing Wing. In other words, I think there's a good chance it's going to catch on.

The first time I mentioned it, I'm pretty sure I wasn't serious. I was just testing the waters. But having been met first with incredulity, and then bewilderment when it seemed that I might not be joking, I knew I was on to something.

Everyone I talked to had their own reason why it was a bad idea: impractical, too far, too dangerous, personal hygiene, Pittsburgh weather sucks (granted, it sucks), it's unprofessional (bullshit, your tank driving lazy ass is unprofessional!), time consuming, etc.

Was I bluffing? Maybe. Probably. And I got called out on it, hard.

Just to make sure I hadn't the slightest shred of credibility, I didn't even have a bike.

Me: "Hey Chet, I think I'm going to starting cycling to work. Whatdya think?"
Chet: "That's ridiculous. What kind of bike do you have?"
Me: "Pardon?"
Chet: "Your bicycle. What kind is it?"
Me: "I'm not sure I understand your question."

But, I got bold. I asked the office manager if he'd let me park my bike in the basement... hypothetically of course. I began speaking with more confidence about the idea, to the point where the term 'maniacal' may or may not have been used to describe my behavior. I borrowed my dad's old clunker (which squeaks and wobbles a bit and tends to shift gears only at unexpected and inappropriate times) and started riding in the evening and on weekends with a gusto not seen since before I turned 16. Surprisingly, it only took a few rides before I was able to manage 10 miles of rolling hills.

Anyway, long story short, after a few weeks of threatening, I went out and ordered this:

(Redline: Conquest)

I realize that I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, seeing as I haven't actually made the commute once. I haven't even picked up the bike yet. But I'm super-stoked to get started and I don't care how lame "super-stoked" sounds. It's been a long time since I've been this excited about something.

Welcome to Pilot Into Space: a bicycle commuting blog.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I'm Raising My Kids Right, Right?

I see this car everyday on my walk to work:

(I'm raising my kids right)

I'm taking suggestions on how I can enhance this bumper sticker. I was thinking of taping an addendum onto it. Something along the lines of:

"...because independent thought is overrated."

Or, perhaps a more direct approach, i could simply use a sharpy and replace the word "right" with "wrong." Then again, vandalism isn't really my thing.