Riding a bicycle has changed my life.
It hasn’t just changed my physical condition, that’s still a work in progress. It has changed how I feel about a variety of things. It has helped me to realize that I don’t have to be “the out of shape fat guy”. I can ride 60 miles in a day. I realize that when properly prepared, a little weather is not a big deal.
I am working toward being car-free. It will be a few years, but I will get there. However, the way that I drive now has been affected by bicycling. I’m more cautious. I drive under the speed limit most of the time. I’m never in a hurry when behind the wheel anymore. It’s not worth the stress or the risk.
There are a number of ideas thrown around by bicyclists to get laws changed, from the good ideas, to unworkable ideas such as banning cars.
I have an idea. It’s unworkable, but let’s pretend it’s not.
- Maximum speed limit: 35 MPH (other than interstates)
- Residential speed limit: 20 MPH
- Speeding – first offense: large fine
- Speeding – second offense: loss of driving privileges for 5 years
- Reckless driving or driving without a license – jail and loss of driving privileges for life
I would assume that most people reading this think I’m off of my rocker. That’s not true. This idea will not happen. I don’t even think the level of federal government control required to pull it off nationwide would be a good idea, but think of the benefits.
- Fewer traffic deaths
- Better gas mileage
- Less stress while driving
- Less pollution
- Traffic control becomes less about revenue, and more about saving lives
Everyone I’ve talked to about this thinks it’s a bad idea. Most people get angry. Between my house and work, there is a nine-mile stretch of road with a 55 MPH speed limit. If that stretch of road had a 35 MPH speed limit it would take less than five additional minutes to get to work. If I average 25 MPH (including the stops through town) I can go the 16 miles to work in just over 38 minutes.
I do drive slower now. I don’t drive 35 in a 55, that might be a bit extreme. I drive 50 in a 55. People pass me recklessly. This is on a four-lane divided highway where passing is easy. They get angry because I’m not “going the speed limit”. Everyone seems to forget that it’s an upper limit, not a lower limit.
When I’m on a bike, travelling between 12 and 20 MPH they really get angry, even when I get out of the way when it’s safe to do so.
I rode all the way to work and back on Monday. I rode into work on Tuesday, but called for a ride after riding part of the way home. My legs couldn’t do it anymore. I seem to have more muscle issues in cold weather.
Last night I went out to dinner with my ex-wife and daughter, and my car broke down. It’s in the shop now, but I still didn’t ride to work. I got a ride from my ex-wife.
So, I’m three days into what was supposed to be a car-free week. I drove my car briefly yesterday, and mooched rides from other people today. I may take the bus from work to within nine miles of home tonight, then get a ride from there.
I should have my car tonight. Tomorrow is my first day at a new job, so I’m going to drive. I will ride to work and back on Friday though.
I’ve been offered an exciting new opportunity to change the direction of my career. So, with some regret, I turned in my resignation at work last week.
If anyone from works reads this, and didn’t already know, sorry, they’ve been slow to get the official announcement out.
My new employer knows about this blog, but I’m going to refrain from mentioning just who my new employer is on this blog, so that anything I write about here will not affect my employer.
Anyway, how does this affect my weight loss plan? It really doesn’t. My commute is only changing by a few blocks. I have to dress nicer, so I’ll be looking into how to carry good clothes on my bike without wrinkling them.
I won’t normally talk about politics here, but tonight’s election was different. Today, election turnout was huge. No matter what side of the political fence people are on, this was an important election.
My personal beliefs are mostly conservative, with a bit of libertarian. That said, I voted libertarian. I really didn’t see a good choice. I’m very much a fiscal conservative, and Obama doesn’t talk to that part of me.
I fully expected Obama to win. I’m not bitter about it. It could be a good thing. I won’t be a democrat, but I will give Obama a chance.
I’m listening to John McCain give his speech right now, and, if anything, I now have more respect for him.
I’ll be turning the TV off before Palin has a chance to speak.
I had considered not voting today. I didn’t go before work. While at work, I changed my mind. This way I got to leave work early. 🙂
However, I was pressed for time to get to the polls on time. I had ridden my bike all the way, and it would be cutting it very close.
I called my ex-wife for a ride, and met her part of the way home. There was no line to vote in my small Indiana town. I was done in a few minutes.
Now I’m having a small party here at home with pizza and beer (not great for the weight loss) while watching results come in on TV.
I’ve migrated this blog to a new host, and it’s now running on WordPress. If you are seeing this post, then you are at the new blog.
All posts and comments have been ported over, but some of the identifying data for comments was lost (email addresses).
Anyway, I’ve kept the design simple, and spending a day porting this seemed like a good use of my time now that I’m waiting for my achilles tendon to heal before riding the bike anymore.
I’m traveling to Niles, Michigan (in the southwest corner of the state) for the weekend. I’m going to my oldest daughters graduation party. I’m traveling with my wife, even though we don’t live together anymore. We’re taking her van, and I want transportation while I’m there, so I’m bringing my bicycle.
The interesting thing is, I know all of the streets in that town. I used to deliver pizza there for Pizza Transit, and Milano’s. I’ll be staying alone in a hotel, and riding my bike around town just to kill time. I’m hoping I can find enough to do to avoid getting bored.
It’s a small town, so I can ride anywhere in town in a reasonable amount of time. I may have to get re-acquainted with some of the popular hang-outs.
I used to have quite a few friends in Niles, but most of them have moved away, died, or lost touch. It’s strange, I’ve only been away for eight years.
My blog has not actually gone dark. I’m still making progress. I’ve ridden about 18 miles in the last week. I’ve done a bunch of yard work. I’m getting exercise. I’m eating well, other than drinking too much beer.
My main problem is finding something of interest to write about. A lot of little things in our lives are unimportant to anyone else. Bloggers who are good writers can turn an otherwise boring story into something engaging. I cannot. I’m not much of a writer.
Yep, I linked to this site from Fark, and nearly every visitor today came from there. I promised I didn’t have any pictures on the home page, but if you want to see it it’s here.
I’ve gotten some words of encouragement from most of you. Thanks!