Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stopping... to recall the nerdiness of my youth.

My bike commute takes me over this Tacoma train yard twice a day, and each time I think about the model railroad I built when I was a kid. For a period of six or seven years, I spent most of my free time in my parents' basement, creating an empire. Centerville was the name of the town. While other kids were out getting in fights, stealing candy bars, and kissing girls, I was building the Centerville Post Office from plastic, creating trestles from balsa, and raising mountain ranges from plaster. But I never had a train yard like this, and always wanted one.

Lately my youngest daughter has been asking to go to the neighborhood hobby shop. I think she likes to hear about my old railroad, and how you can make a pretty believable tree from a twig and a piece of moss. She wants me to bring my train stuff home from Montana — it's all in boxes now — and start a new empire in our basement. We'll be doing that real soon. And I think Centerville will finally be getting that yard it was missing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stopping... for bacon.

Sometimes you should ride an unknown path to its end. Other times, you know right where to go... and you should put your head down and get there. Bacon is good. Bacon aged to perfection under the warm glow of man-made sunshine is a greasy slice of heaven.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Stopping... on a dock of the bay.

Try this on your next bike commute. When you feel yourself zoning out, getting immersed in the up-down-up-down metronome... stop. Spot a path you've never taken, and ride toward it. See what's at the end. I promise you'll only be couple minutes late to work. And you might get to finish out your ride whistling Otis Redding.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stopping... to experience an old thing in a new way.

The Eells Street Bridge. This is one of the rare places I ride the sidewalk... because there is no shoulder, and the big rigs rumble through this part of town with little regard for tiny men in neon jackets. I've probably biked or run across this bridge 500 times. But it took the simple act of stopping to actually feel the old girl. When a truck does roll by, her steel girders flex and give, creating a wave-like motion under one's feet. It's unsettling, but also a fascinating testament to the way even the most solid objects in our cities live and breath and move.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stopping... for a fall rainbow.

I love commuting by bike. It is wonderfully fulfilling to be both relaxed and focused — lost in pedal strokes and passing asphalt, yet acutely aware of the surrounding world's rhythms. I become so immersed in this experience that I rarely stop. But it recently occurred to me that the simple act of stopping... unclipping from the pedals, breathing, and looking around might add a whole new level of enjoyment to the prosaic, point-a-to-point-b commute. Today I stopped, glanced over to the west, and caught this great fall vista. Tomorrow I'll stop, too... check back then.

Friday, November 6, 2009

It was a long time ago...

It was a different time. A time before intergalactic warfare, when a young wookie and a young human could still enjoy the simpler things in life. Lord Vadar? Who's that? Let's ride bikes.

Super-rad image copped from hereabouts.