Tuesday’s Bike Ride Commute (10/26/10)
Tuesday was a good day. For one thing, I did not sustain a closed head injury, which I’ll explain in a moment. I had a good morning meeting with my boss and a fun photo shoot after work, the results of which you can see above. Work-wise, I got some stuff done, which is always good. I’m happy enough with a day during which nothing goes catastrophically wrong, even if I don’t have a moment when I shout, “Eureka!” (We always joke about how we should shout Eureka! more often, just to keep things exciting around the lab.)
After Monday’s run, an easy bike ride seemed like a great idea, and I think it was. My legs were a little tired, but I had very little soreness, so I felt confident that I could ride the bike without overtaxing my legs. I rode slowly, and the wind made my ride even slower, but it was still nice to be outside on two wheels. After my photo shoot, I biked over to Brazos Natural Foods to pick up potatoes for this soup and dish soap for my sink. I pedaled home, daydreaming, when the bike just stopped moving, halted suddenly by an unseen force. By some miracle, I caught myself before I flew off the bike seat, and at the same time, I realized the bottle of soap had wedged itself into the spokes of the wheel, making itself a very effective break. Two bags had been hanging from the handle bars, and usually they’re either not moving much or I’m paying enough attention to keep them from getting too close to the front wheel. But today I was zoning out, and it was bad.
Some men nearby saw me stop and look around, stunned, and one of them asked, “Are you okay?” And I was, but only because I was lucky. I wasn’t riding that fast, but I could have been hurt in any number of ways. Plus I don’t wear a bike helmet. I grew up in a place and time when nobody wore bike helmets. And nobody thought twice about it. I rode a bike all over town in high school, and still: no helmet. Tuesday’s near-accident has given me pause, but still: would I be fine if I just got a bike basket for my bags? I know I should get a helmet and a basket, but I’m very reluctant to give up the experience of riding a bike without a helmet. It’s like letting go of my childhood, my roots. For me, wearing a helmet feels like sacrificing a freedom that I’m not sure I can give up, even if I’m taking a serious risk. I’m not a thrill-seeking person, generally, but maybe my helmetless rides are my one thrill. Then again, maybe I’m just stupid to embrace such a silly risk. One thing is certain: I’m conflicted. And lucky.