Double Dose of the Avenue

I don’t know why I feel guilty when I don’t ride. It’s not that I’m trying to save the world or stop climate change. I’m not trying to impress anyone (except maybe you). And while I need the health benefits that riding can give, one day off won’t kill me.

I guess there is a bit of pressure from the example that others set. I read many bike commuter blogs, and many of the authors are based in Canada or the northern US. They are already fighting cold and snow, and loving it. I just can’t get myself out when it’s below freezing or maybe raining or snowing.

Last week at work, my department had a meeting at the basketball arena. This is a business affair, with most of the guys in suit and tie, and the ladies in a dress or pant suit. One guy walked in wearing his suit with sneakers while carrying a duffel bag. I jokingly remarked that he was ready for some hoops. A young lady from my office said “No, he just rides his bike – EVERYWHERE”. Her tone was surprisingly judgmental, especially since she’s seen me ride to work part time for the last 10 years.

Anyway, I guess I’m impressed by and jealous of those that can ride, and enjoy it, under conditions that keep me home or in my Saturn. I’ll keep working at it.

Today offered a chance to ride in December, so I grabbed it. At 50 degrees and windy, it was as good as it would be for the next week. Since I had to go into the office, I’m calling it a commute ride.

I took the Wabash Avenue Route into campus, and despite the wet roads, it was a nice ride. Since there was so much ice and sleet yesterday, the first hill I came down was covered in a thick layer of sand. It does a great job of helping give traction on the slippery frozen roads, but at 50 degrees it’s a bunch of mud. No matter; I was dressed for the mess. I continued my leisurely pace on River Road, and turned south onto US231. Up the long hill, I took my time and wasn’t too bothered by the gentle slope or the consistently strong winds. At the top, a guy in a small Japanese sports car sped around me to get first place at the light. I would have laughed when he killed the engine trying to speed off at the green arrow, but I was still embarrassed by almost falling behind him when my shoe wouldn’t come out of the toe clips. I thought that only happened to the clipless crowd.

I discovered pretty quickly that I had overdressed, so I removed my windbreaker and stuffed it in the pocket of my jersey – giving me that lower lumbar hunchback look.

Is it me, or does Wabash Avenue between Beck Lane and the sewage plant have some of the poorest pavement conditions in town? The concrete surface is full of long, vertical cracks, poorly patched potholes, and ill-placed seams. It has been that way at least since I moved here in 1986.

I took a detour to check out the preparations for the Lafayette Christmas Parade planned for the afternoon. I didn’t see much except for the TV truck setting up for the taping (to be broadcast on Christmas day). After I crossed the river, I tried what could be a better path for the route from the Myers Bridge to Williams Street. Instead of following the Wabash River Trail to River Road, which requires a sometimes hard to maneuver left turn onto Williams, I just took the fairly new Tapawingo Extension. It’s much easier and probably safer.

At work, I left my bike at the bottom of the stairs on the terrazzo floor instead of on the carpet in my office. But first, the bike and I posed for a Holiday shot in front of the model of the Boilermaker Special that is specially decorated for the season.

Holiday Pose
Happy Holidays

Coming home, I decided to double back on the Avenue again. It’s just as fun in the opposite direction.

Miles Ridden: 19.2

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