Wednesday, April 22, 2009

morning commute by bicycle

I'm riding my bike to work occasionally nowadays. I really enjoy it. Today was an excellent ride in. The sky was cloudy, and it was cool and damp but not at all cold. I was well dressed for the weather, or really, slightly overdressed, but that was fine.

It's ten miles each way. The ride to work is pretty much all uphill. This morning, I found that I have reached a point where there is no stretch that feels truly difficult. Part of that is the condition I am in, which has improved over the last year. Part of it is that I just changed the bike I'm riding. I put different handlebars on it that don't require me to reach far forward, though they are quite low. I also changed the pedals to the kind that require special cycling shoes with cleats. The cleats improve my efficiency, and the shoes are very comfortable.

I rode past the row of stores near the Short Hills train station. It's a picturesque row on Chatham Rd. But there are a lot of closed storefronts, a sign of the economic times. However, my ride through Short Hills and Summit sees only very well kept homes and properties. The landscapers and improvement workers are still busy. Word has it that business is down for them, but there's no evidence of that along my route. I wonder how life will look if the economy gets much worse. Will lawn upkeep fall down in these tony towns? Will families be doubling and tripling up in these big houses? Will there be shantytowns here or anywhere?

I find I'm not really dreading any of this, for some strange reason. We were due for a change. Our society had become too comfortable. We'll relearn some skills, like growing food on our properties and reusing things rather than putting them in the garbage.

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