"You're a commuter god," was what the email said.
A fellow north-Texan saw a photo of my favorite bike recently submitted to the Fixed Gear Gallery. He emailed me that he believed that we'd met briefly before. Turns out, yep, it was me he flagged down in Denton several weeks ago. After mentioning that I'd ridden the bike in the photo to work in Denton on that day, he must have considered the distance, the fixed gear drive train, and weather conditions that day (a 20+ mph headwind with gusts to 35 mph) before he offered the kind, but greatly exaggerated, compliment.
I enjoy compliments as much as anyone, but I am not a commuter god. I am not a finely-tuned athlete and do not have a love for discomfort. Thanks in large part to stories and encouragement from many of the authors of this blog, I have begun to identify selected days to commute by bike. As so many of these authors have said, one can greatly expand his understanding of what is possible.
I've now commuted to work several times at distances I once thought were impractical. My job involves professional attire and numerous out-of-office appointments from 30 to 50 miles away, so days with no appointments work best. I've learned-by-doing how to strike a balance between carrying stuff and staying prepared by keeping stuff in my office when a commuting opportunity arrives. By simply trying, one might learn what was once thought to be impractical, can actually be preferable. My commute by bike takes me three times as long as driving. But being good for the environment, good for the community, good for the body, and good for the spirit, it is a preferable way to use time.
I'd like to encourage those who might be considering riding the bike for utility purposes. It is a simple way to transform the mundane into the delightful. Whether it be commuting to work, running errands, or social activities, give it a try. Does it take anything like "a commuter god" or special powers? Hardly...just someone who likes to ride a bike.