On Potato Omelets and Winter Cycling

On Potato Omelets and Winter Cycling: What these actions of mine and others lead me to conclude is that culture matters. I’m not shirking the fact of my own laziness; it’s a real observation about how the world works. If my friends and family members were riding off to work in the cold, I likely would to, without complaint. But alone, when few other people are, it’s easy to decline the invitation my bicycle offers me, or not even see it.

As we head into spring and the warmer months, this point will become moot. I’m sure I will once again start riding regularly. But maybe next winter, or the one after, I may make different choices. Cycling as transportation is increasingly popular in New York, and as this popularity grows, I suspect we will reach a tipping point, to use Malcom Gladwell’s famous phrase. I look forward to a future, perhaps not so long away, when even the fairest-weather riders like me venture out in even the worst of weather, doing so as easily as taking a bite of an easily-made potato omelet. [So yesterday I joined the bike commuter ranks. In my case it is a “multi-mode” affair, because I’d spend way too much time commuting the 36 or so miles form home to work entirely by bike. I biked in my “street” clothes adding only a bike helmet and a bit of cover for my head (it’s still a bit cold in the mornings for me). Nothing more seemed necessary, even though I do not have a “commuter” bike per se.

And the cultural stuff starts at home. My wife is trying very hard to be supportive, but would really rather not think about my riding in the City. Of course, there’s no way to make it clear that riding the route I do is actually safer feeling than a lot of the riding I do in the suburbs because I’m not mixed with car traffic as much. The west side greenway provides a good chunk of the trip.

Naturally, today rain is expected this afternoon, and while it wouldn’t stop me from a biking in the rain standpoint, the bike does have to survive the rest of the trip on top of the car in the rain. Not so much goodly as they say.

Which brings me to my point. The multi-mode, or park and ride, or plane, train, and automobile, or whatever combo of your choice infrastructure is very, poor, both public and private. It needs some attention if people are serious about changing how they commute. It’s easy to say I will do something, and far more difficult to just do it when the facilities aren’t there to enable it. I’d love to lengthen the bike portion of commute, but I need to find parking in NJ that makes sense. And more parking in NY that makes sense. And if the trains allowed bikes (or there was secure, out of the weather bike parking) I would have more choices.

One can argue about where I live, choices, etc. all one wants, but I live where I live and do what I do, and just trying to make the best decisions I can for a healthier life, commute, world etc.]

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