6.10.2014

Bike Commuting for a Better Earth

This morning I got up an hour early because I wanted to bike commute to work to redeem myself for not riding to work yesterday, when the weather was superb. The forecast for today was also for more superb, so I wanted to make the most of it.

Because I live in Cambridge WI (at least until the end of the month), I usually put my mountain bike in my car and drive part way to one of the locations on the east side of Madison, from whence I bike commute across town to my job on the west side (actually, Middleton, a far west suburb). It’s a pretty easy bike commute, mostly on bike lanes, bike paths, and bicycle boulevards (city roads on which cyclists have full rights to the entire width of the road without exception). There are only a couple of places where the biking is unpleasant, mostly around the Capitol Square and the end of State Street, where you have to navigate circuitously to avoid some ridiculous construction near the student union that has been going on forever (with little to show for it). As you may have noticed, I am pretty down on road construction lately. It never seems to yield benefits in excess of its costs. I seek to avoid it whenever I can. But I digress.

This morning, en route to my Cottage Grove parking spot, I swung through the Madison Clean Sweep chemical waste recycling facility. I had collected a whole bunch of household waste last night in anticipation of my June 30 move to Madison, and a little bit of Internet research had told me that the Madison Clean Sweep operates almost daily, except for Mondays, and opens at 7 AM most days. It being Tuesday, and me being up early to bike commute, it made sense to swing by with my two boxes of chemical waste. The only thing I forgot to include was the gasoline for my lawn mower, which is now old and really out of date.

It cost me $10 to deposit that waste, but not having to move it to my new house or throw it in the trash was priceless.

My bike commute was fairly uneventful and I was filled with energy and glee, I think because I biked almost 50 miles on Sunday and had given my legs about 36 hours of recovery before my Tuesday morning commute, so they were feeling rejuvenated. I was really hammering and I pounded out the 15.64 miles to work in about 72 minutes. It usually take closer to 80 minutes, because I am a fair weather biker and not in a hurry usually. The sky was a little bit overcast and the air temperature was cooler than I expected. The forecast had been for a sunny day when I checked it the night before, so I assumed the clouds would burn off and I’d have a nice toasty ride back to my car after work.

I had a lunch date with my friend Danielle, and so a little before noon (actually 11:30), I hopped on my bike, still in work clothes, and pedaled over to the FREE HOUSE in Middleton. I was surprised to see that it was still overcast and the air seemed even cooler than it had in the morning. At lunch, I pulled my weather app up on my phone and it now suggested that the forecast was going to deteriorate in the afternoon, with a better than 50% chance of rain by the time I biked back to my car after work.

Danielle pulled up her weather app though, a different one I guess, and hers said that the day would get progressively better, with more sunshine. I decided to put more faith in her weather app than my own, although I realize that will have no bearing on reality, which is going to do what it is going to do. If it is raining when I leave work, there will be nothing for it but to crank on through it and get wet. Hopefully, the warmth I generate via exercise will counteract any chilling effect of the early summer rains.

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain, according to my weather app. That jibes well with my plan to drive to work tomorrow so that I can bring some stuff in my car to store in Danielle’s basement until after my move. These would be mainly musical instruments and some bikes, possibly a bass cabinet. Since she was so nice to let me do that, I bought her lunch.

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