The Solace of Bike Commuting

I rode my bike into work today, the first actual bike commute of the year. At least I got one in while it was still May! Rather sad though, that I have not done so before now, not even during Bike to Work Week earlier this month. That’s not to say I have not been biking, albeit insufficiently. I have done a few weekend social rides, including a 60 mile one with my friends, Sherry and Jerome, last Sunday (Verona to Ridgeway WI on the Military Ridge Trail, I believe it is called…). Sherry and I are preparing to do RAGBRAI with my Portland OR bike team, TEAM CRAZY BIRD. We are all signed up and paid up, so nothing can stop us now.*

I did the “extra long” route with my buddy, Mike. I drove from Cambridge and parked my car on the far east side of Madison, near the border with Cottage Grove, and pounded out the five miles on the Capitol City bike path to Mike’s house. I followed him on his “north route” which follows bike trails and roads north along the shore of Lake Mendota (passing Governor Scott D. Walker’s mansion…D is for Douche) and then through the Pheasant Branch nature area. It was on the limestone path of Pheasant Branch that I had the notion that the thing I love about biking on nature trails is the utopian freedom of it all. No hate or fear there, just fun. Occasionally you see people who look grumpy, but even they are out enjoying a walk or a ride on the path, so it can’t be all bad. It is like being in a neutral territory where everyone is equal and inherently good. I realize that’s an illusion, but that illusion is what I like about it, so there. We did encounter some high school kids who were obliviously sitting right in the middle of the bike path, blocking it. We scared the bejesus out of them when we rounded a corner and had to brake suddenly to avoid running them over. My brakes need a minor adjustment and so they squealed loudly, which is exactly what some of the high school girls did as they scrambled to clear off the path.

The bike path actually dumps me out right in front of work, which is cool. Mike has a couple more miles to go after that. My workplace has a decent locker room and shower facility, which was empty when I arrived a few minutes before 9 AM. I cleaned up and got to work, highly energized.

I felt pretty strong biking in this morning, thanks to doing the bike trainer pretty regularly over the winter. I have slacked off a bit on the trainer the last couple months because of getting ready to move and a bunch of music things going on.

Biking really improves my mood. I had been in a funk lately because of all the moving stress and anxiety, but biking stimulates calming endorphin production and makes me more present in the NOW, like I was during my brief illusion on the bike trail, mentioned earlier. I know the move and everything will go fine. I have a whole month to get rid of junk and pack. I can’t procrastinate at all, but I still have plenty of time to get stuff done and my time is well managed. I have the St. Vinnie’s thrift store coming on June 7 to take a computer table and a dresser away, and maybe even my hide-a-bed couch which is a cumbersome beast that I do not want to move. I am not sure about the couch yet. I may keep it. I have gotten good use out of it over the years and I can always buy another one. The foldout bed is rarely used, so my next couch might just be a good long and wide one that a person could sleep on without needing a foldout bed.

Other than that, I have some assorted electronics to get rid of, detritus from my years of music production work. I did some research on this yesterday and found out that I can dump off electronics in Watertown WI for recycling, and also perhaps in Fort Atkinson. I will do that next week. I would do it this weekend, but I am going out to Iowa for a reunion with my old college band, SINEMA. We are playing a show in Ames IA on Saturday night (5/31/14). Tonight I need to hunker down for a final cramming session on the repertoire, before I head out there butt early in the morning. It has been ages since I played some of the songs, and a few are new, with vocal harmonies I really should master if I am worth my salt as a musician. I also need to pack for the trip tonight. I am traveling light, but I have to pack my laptop and associated peripherals for doing a live stream of the SINEMA performance, if possible. On my way back from Iowa on Sunday night, I will go to the Funks’ Open Jam Stage that I have been doing most every week for the past few months. I will also live stream that, and GUPPY EFFECT will showcase a few tunes now that everyone is back from a couple weeks of hiatus from the jam.

June 14-15 will be a major packing and cleaning weekend. By then I want to have all but the bare essentials boxed up and ready to go. June 21-22 weekend is a weekend mini tour with my country band, DRIVEWAY THRIFTDWELLERS, so I cannot do much then. The band is going up to Minocqua Brewing Company for a show on Saturday night and then heading to Elkhart Lake, east of Oshkosh, to perform at some kind of NASCAR event there. Should be interesting. I have my dog Buddy booked in at the kennel for that weekend, and I am probably going to take Foster up to my buddy Todd’s in Oshkosh that Friday, 6/20, and then retrieve him after the Elkhart Lake shindig.

June 28 and 29, I will load the uHaul truck with everything that is left and then drive it into Madison on Monday morning, June 30, when all the closings go down. I will probably park the uHaul at a friend’s house and drive to the closing in my car, but if I cannot find someone to assist, I may end up driving the uHaul to the closing, which would suck. I will figure it out in any case. The seller of my new house might let me move some stuff in early that weekend once it looks like everything is going to happen as far as the closings and bank stuff.

Well, that’s enough writing for today.

*There is a chance I could land a new job between now and late July, but I fully plan to negotiate for the time off to do RAGBRAI because it is already locked in and my team is depending on me. I would not want to work for an employer who is not cool with that. Plus, my current contract job is open ended, pays decent, and my boss has already said I can be gone that week (albeit unpaid).

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