The helmet taunts me from a distance. My eyes drift between the blue dome on the coffee table and the baseball cap in my hand. “I would probably get hit,” I think, and reluctantly place the cap on my head. It seemed strangely comfortable sitting down in the driver’s seat and starting the obnoxious engine. Even a little engine at 3:00AM roars through the open night.
It’s time for a maintenance window in the server room. Hardly anyone is on the road, but it only takes one sleep deprived driver like myself to change a cyclists life.
It was only a couple days ago that I started biking into work: nearly eight miles of bad shoulders, no shoulders, steep climbs, and sharp descents. This ride was nothing like the flat paved trail I had grown accustomed to. As I drove in, I watched every inch of my biking route. I came around the big curve and crossed the overpass. It all looks so different from here. Strange what a few times on the bike can do. As my little engine roared along, I wondered if I was alert enough to avoid a cyclist.
The previous day’s ride certainly provided more interesting events than others. A large stone kicked up by a semi dodged me by about two yards, I got buzzed for the first time, and a hubcap flew off a car into my path about ten seconds ahead. Seeing other hubcaps abandoned on the side of the road does nothing to reassure. Still, the ride is pleasant and most of the drivers courteous. A welcome thought as I remember my own doubts setting out that first morning.
Athletic? No, I wouldn’t call myself that. From a wider perspective, my challenge to ride eight miles is probably laughable. And I don’t think three days of commuting in the saddle earns me the title or reputation of a cyclist. Maybe it’s a passing interest. Maybe I will wear out. Maybe I will be too scared to ride in bad weather. But now, as I look out over the dash, I can’t help thinking, “I’d rather be riding.”