Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 24: Using all the gears

Day 24 miles to/from work: 26.8
Errand miles 4.0
Total miles for S4S: 634.5

Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.   -Charles Schulz 

You can tell from my posts how much I love biking to work. It's exhilarating, clean & green, great exercise, and provides an almost-mystic experience in the doing—plus a bazillion other benefits and sensations that defy description. So as of August 2011, why was it that I had paved the proverbial road to hell with good intentions rather than tire tracks, and had biked to work exactly twice in the previous year? It demands planning, discipline, time, and energy; it is not convenient; and it does not fit into any comfort zone. That's why. But as I said when discussing it with a co-worker, "I know if I were committed to it, I'd find a way." As the maxim goes, "From your lips to God's ears." It was three days later that I got the idea for S4S.

This is a project for which my personal planets align:  motivation to bike to work fueled by my commitment to animal rescue and supported by the love of family and friends. Tagging the project with the promise of a daily blog post also forces me to spend butt-in-the-chair time and write—something I consider a personal calling, but that is usually cause for procrastination.

S4S is replete with all the demands and inconveniences cited above—a pain in the ass in every sense of the word—while being one of the most intensely gratifying things I have ever undertaken in my life. To paraphrase the Charles Schulz quote, I feel like I'm "using all the gears".

This whole experience has been and continues to be so profound, I want to pass it on. Please consider where you can "use all the gears". What do you really want to do that you haven't, that you both desire and resist with all your might? What is one step you can take this minute to set yourself on that road? You are supporting me in finding my new gears and using untried old ones. I'm here to partner with or support you in exploring yours.

This week has been a redundancy of beautiful mornings. When Silver Beauty and I started our day, the sun was backlighting mists rising from the lowlands. With only four hours sleep last night, my eyes were almost as glassy as Lake Monona. The perfectly mirrored reflections of the city looked like someone had PhotoShopped the water. Just how many preternaturally brilliant days can one human absorb? I don't have the answer to that, but am volunteering myself to be the ongoing guinea pig in the experiment that seeks to know.
After work I had to run (or bike) a couple errands, so that put an extra 4 miles on the odometer. The sun is setting earlier every night, but it seems to be doing so at an exponentially increasing pace. Silver Beauty is decked out like a Christmas tree with two front lights—flashing halogen and steady state floodlight—and red flashing tail light on the back. This week I have needed all of that by the time I got home. I had ordered sunglasses with amber-colored lenses; but they don't seem all that much better in low light than my regular copper blue-block. I feel like a mariner, continually learning how to deal with weather, sun, dark, and the elements in general.

Even with lights, it starts getting a little creepy riding on the path in the dark, but the "dark side" has its allure too. There is something magical about gliding along in the black satin of the night, low-flying geese honking to establish their presence, and the whole sense of mystery that is nightfall. It also fulfills the Eleanor Roosevelt mandate to "Do something every day that scares you." It's the first commandment of using all the gears.

1 comment:

  1. that pic of Lake Monona and the skyline - wow! isn't it amazing what is out there and so many of us hardly notice? I, for one, was probably sleeping at the time, so I appreciate your early morning pictures. keep up the good work! (and get some sleep :)