May 16, 2010

Breaking My Addiction To Oil With My Bicycle

Nothing deflates a cycle adventure quite like a flat tire. Especially at the beginning, before the adventure has really started. This morning I went to the bike shed and noticed that the rear tire of my bike had pancaked sometime over the last couple of days. I was on my way to go in to town to do some things, then explore some trails on the way home. Now what?

I glanced at my truck and realized that lately I have been considering driving the less attractive alternative. It has its advantages for longer voyages, but for short trips I find driving is much less efficient and fun than cycling. I felt like moving and breathing and feeling the wind and sun. I took the tire pump out of my pack.

The tire was holding a good amount of air, but didn't know how long it would last. I stashed the pump and launched myself across the pavement, on to my bike, and left my fate to the laws of pneumatics. It felt great to be traveling lightly and under my own steam.

This is what it has come to, especially after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. I would rather take my chances on my bike with a leaky tire, than sit passively in 1.5 tons of truck that is dependent on all that oil that is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.

The leak in my tire turned out to be fairly fast. I had to re-pump every couple of kilometers, amounting to four maintenance stops for air.

But I got my business done, enjoyed the freedom of cycling, and got a good workout, both riding and pumping. I enjoyed cruising past the gas stations and refusing to satisfy my addiction to oil and convenience.

Now, time to fix that tire.

Ride on!

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