Night Riding

Thursday evening, I attended the kickoff of the Between the Waves Music Conference and Fest, which goes all weekend. I signed up for it many months ago and got an early bird discount. The weather was fantastic, so I decided to bike on down to the thing, which was taking place on the UW Madison campus.

The introductory session of the BTWCaF went until about 9 PM, so it was dark when it let out. I had predicted this and brought my bike head- and tail lights. The tail light is red and blinks, so it is pretty visible to even the most oblivious car drivers, a large proportion of who live in Madison WI. The headlight is "brighter than the sun" and really lights up the road in front of my bike. I picked it up a couple years ago at a bike store in Whitewater WI, called BicycleWise, whose proprietors, John and Liz, I know. I told John I was looking for a great light that would allow me to see and be seen. He sold me the next model down of the brand of LED head light that he uses. I cannot imagine how blindingly bright his light must be, because mine can pretty much burn your retinas if you look right at it.

Anyway, I attached the lights on my bike, turned them on, and tooled home. I love night biking. The first segment of my ride was on busy University Avenue, but in short order I was on the bike trail that goes most of the way back to my house. There are few other bikers and no pedestrians on the trail after dark. It's quiet and somewhat meditative/contemplative.

Due to an ultimately fortuitous set of circumstances, Deborah and I are sharing one car now, more than halving our carbon footprints (mostly because I am not driving Uber and Lyft anymore...stay tuned for a post about this soon, which will expose some ugly truths about the ride hailing companies). It's always been a dream of mine to drive less, or not at all. I am just about living that dream now and it is fantastic. I don't foresee a need to have two cars in our household at least until after I have completed my first year of graduate school next summer, and possibly even until after I finish my residency in marriage and family therapy some three to four years hence. Graduate school is not cheap, and think of the money we'll save not having to insure, register, and maintain a second car. That few hundred bucks could buy pretty much ALL my books for school.

There is some mild inconvenience and discomfort that comes from sharing a single car, but nothing insurmountable, and certainly nothing worth the substantial financial and environmental cost of having a second car. We have to think a little harder about our daily schedules and coordinate accordingly, but since I am self employed, I can very easily work around Deborah's 9-5 day job. There is a bus stop right in front of our house and I have three bicycles in the garage at my disposal. Biking is something I love to do, so for me the car sharing is not a limitation to my lifestyle, but rather a boon in terms of compelling me to bike places more. The secondary cardiovascular fitness and weight loss benefits of being more physically active are frosting on the proverbial cake.

Some people we know, particularly - and not surprisingly - those who work in the automotive industry, have a difficult time wrapping their minds around our unconventional choice to share a single car between the two adult members of our household. I pity them a little bit, but mostly don't really give a crap. We do what works for us and other people need to live their own lives, not meddle in ours. If America is to survive into the future, we need to cut our dependence on foreign fossil fuels and it has been predicted by experts (Google it) that if every American were to cut their fossil fuel consumption by 50%, the oil crisis and associated senseless violence in Middle Eastern countries would end...just stop, overnight. So Deborah and I are saving the @#$%ing Earth! Boom.

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