calculated abandon

I love riding to work.

In Chicago I rode every work day if humanly possible. It was ten miles to downtown from my house in the south side. I would hop on Lake Shore Drive and have Lake Michigan to the right and to my left was Jackson Park (an actual park, where the famous 1893 World Columbian Expo was held), Hyde Park (a suburb and where the venerable Univerity of Chicago is located) and then finally, the city.

Traffic was never too bad from that direction and I would usually get to work without any frustration. It was a great way to wake up in the morning and also focused my headspace before work. I had none of those usual car distractions: radio, cell phone, horns, sleepy unconscious driving. On a motorcycle you have to be alert. You wake up rather quickly once you get on the bike.

I would get to work refreshed with a bounce in my step, which I noticed wasn’t quite as marked when I took the train to work.

Because of the daily jaunts, I became intimately connected with my bike. I knew all the sounds, wiggles and perculiarites of the bike. I now only ride my bike a couple of times per week, and I can feel the difference. I have a connection with my bike, but it is not my default mode. I know the wiggles and peculiarites, but I’m not as comfortable as I could be.

Now I live four miles from work. The route takes me though a lovely curvy road through a hilly park in Phoenix. As far as in-city riding goes, this is a favorite little jaunt for late-night hooligan riding. But four miles never seems worth the effort to put on the textiles over my work clothes, ride to work and then ten minutes later have to strip down to my work clothes and change shoes. My hair is unkempt, which at my previous job in IT mattered little, but now I work with people frequently and my appearance matters more.

Today I rode to work for the first time in many months. It felt great. All the nagging thoughts and morning mind wandering disappeared for those fifteen minutes it took to get to work. The morning air was cool with a promise of a lovely day and I zig-zagged up my hooligan road. When I arrived at work, I clocked in, then stripped off my outer layer and folded my gear onto a spare chair in my office. There is an odd comfort having my helmet sitting on my desk near my right arm. It is the promise of a freesom to come, a knowledge that in a few short hours, I will be back on my bike with that feeling of a calculated abandon. My swirling thoughs pushed aside, still there but not bothering my conscious mind, like computer processes running in the background.

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