Friday, March 15, 2013

Broken-down truck ushers me into a pedestrian life (at least for now)

My truck broke down near the trailhead yesterday after a late afternoon hike with my dogs. Now I'm waiting for it to get fixed, which could take a while. Meanwhile, I've very quickly had to adapt to life as a pedestrian.

This is a good thing. A very good thing. But it's also a complicated thing. I'm currently working freelance, and I attribute my ability to get work every day to my flexibility. Bound to the bus, it limits my options. Bus plus bike, though, is totally doable. I'll need to dedicate a couple of hours this weekend to finding paths to employment that are within biking distance - or at least are convenient on a one-bus routes from the downtown bus station, which is a quick bike ride from home.

Yes, I'm fortunate that I own a mountain bike. But to be honest, it's a rarely-used mountain bike, because I'm not always confident the parts will hold up in transit given my current weight. Most commercial products are only guaranteed to stand up to at most 250 pounds, so it's a valid concern. But today I had a couple of errands to run and I was able to get everywhere I needed to go on bike and by bus. So I just have to pray that my bike holds up until I can take off another 30 pounds.

My first road bike, 1981, which I rode for miles on country byways
On a side note, I've dreamed of living the pedestrian life ever since I got my first road bike, in 1981. While we lived in the country, I remember visiting my grandmother in D.C. or my aunt in Hoboken and seeing lots of people on bikes, carrying grocery bags on their handlebars or in a basket on the front. Later, I was a roller-blading pedestrian in New York and Miami. And I've been a public-transit commuter lots of times. But I've never been a true cycling pedestrian. So the way I see it, now's my chance!

The best part of this whole thing is the health benefits of not being bound to a motorized vehicle. By being forced to adapt to a car-free lifestyle, exercise will be injected forcefully into my daily routine, thereby speeding up my metabolism while at the same time reducing the available of excuses not to exercise. And because it will take me longer to get home, I'll need to plan and prepare my meals ahead of time just so that I won't starve - convenience foods do not sit well with me when my body's being called to service with exercise. It will just be a matter of packing as if I were to spend a day on the trail.

It is likely that I will be truck-less for at least two weeks, if not more, which is perfect. They say habits are formed in two weeks, so I'm betting that even once I get the truck back, the benefits to my body, mind and spirit will far outweigh any benefits of convenience so that I won't want to go back to the way it was.

The only big complication I was thinking of was being able to get to the mountain for hiking on Saturday. Well, a friend emailed me out of the blue today and invited me to go hiking with her and her friend - ride included. So that takes care of this weekend. And even if I didn't have a ride there are still ways to get to the trails via public transit. In fact, I plan on writing more about that on my other blogs, so stay tuned if you're interested in how all that works out.

For now, it's time to do some research about ABQRide and do some tuning up on my bike. Until next time!

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