Elements of Bike Riding 54

City Market Parking

a photo of a car parked in front of a bike rack

On January 5th I noticed that someone had parked right in front of the bike racks at City Market.  There are white parking lines there, but itshould be obvious to anyone that it is not a parking space because if someone parks there it blocks access to the bike rack.  City Market could help the situation by removing the white lines and or putting up a sign.  I went inside and reported the situation to someone at Customer Service.  He notified security but in the meantime I went back out and took a photo. At that point the driver and a friend came out.  I explained the situation and the driver apologized and said she would not park there again. The friend said, “I don’t expect to see bike riders in January.”  I said, “Have you noticed the weather lately?”  I could also have pointed out that my bike was not the only one in the rack. More and more people are riding in the winter.  After mentioning it a few times last year, City Market now does a good job removing snow from around the bike racks.  I am working on having the YMCA do the same thing.

a photo of a brownish socks on the floor


Socks can be frustrating street finds because usually I  find only one of them.  I recently decided to start picking up nice single socks and wearing them with other single sock finds, even if they don’t match.  I don’t mind the different way they feel on my feet and most people don’t notice if you are wearing unmatched socks.  A few months ago I got a pair of insulated Keene shoes that are very wide in the toe area.  I find they fit best with two pairs of socks.  Two pairs of socks also keep my feet warm when I am biking.  If I wear the unmatched sock as the inside sock, nobody can see what they look like and know that I am unmatched.

Recently I was at Outdoor Gear Exchange and noticed that there is a special section for mismatched shoes and boots.  Apparently they get some pairs of shoes that have different sizes.  They is usually half a size difference betweeen the shoes and if one of your feet is bigger than another it could be a great buy!  My left foot is slightly bigger than my right foot, but I don’t know if there is a half size difference.


What we can learn about life from bike riding

My physical therapist just got a new fish tank. He killed the first batch of fish he put in the tank, but he did not give up and now he is slowly introducing plants into the aquatic environment and working on getting the correct chemical balance.  We talked about applying some of the principles he has learned from the fish tank project to other aspects of life.  In both life and fish tank ownership finding the right balance of elements is important.  Balance is also important on a bike.  Here are a few  life lessons I have learned from riding - 

Advanced planning and preparation makes things go more smoothly.  I believe in checklists and having all the equipment you need before starting a bike ride or beginning a project.  Checklists are especially important for me because I tend to forget things.

Anticipating a problem and dealing with it ahead of time is better than solving a problem as it arises.  When I am riding I constantly look at the traffic ahead and also behind me.  I can often avoid a difficulty by taking a slightly different route or briefly going on the sidewalk. 

In life as in riding, joy is fleeting and rare but satisfaction  is often possible.  Most rides are a mixed bag. Traffic, weather, aches and pains, equipment difficulties and fatigue are part of riding but once in a while, unexpectedly I feel moments of joy and freedom. Some of the same difficulties I experience when bike riding carry over into my daily life.  Weather, aches and pains, equipment difficulties and fatigue happen even when I am not riding.  Daily riding gives me a quiet satisfaction as does daily life.

A photo of the street from inside the YMCA

Bike riding and living are largely solitary activities.  As many of us know, it is possible to be lonely in a group or in a relationship but friends and community help us along.  I am grateful to be part of the Burlington and Winooski bike community.  I am also grateful to be part of the YMCA, The Family Room, Howard Center and The Mercy Connection. We become what we do.  By riding every day I have become a bike rider and I accept all the benefits and challenges that result.  I have other daily practices that keep me fit and more or less sane.  Meditation, swimming, yoga, reading, writing and cooking give me great satisfaction.  


Stationary Bike

One morning last month I went to the YMCA and rode the stationary bike for forty-five minutes.  In the winter, when it is below 30 degrees, I prefer to ride inside for exercise.  I took one picture of the window in front of me at the beginning of the ride and one picture at the end.  It was dark outside for the first photo so the window reflected what was going on around me inside the YMCA.  Forty-five minutes later it was much lighter outside so the window in front of me reflected only a little bit of the inside action.