Something Xtra

Brad enjoying the ride and the lightshow from the back of Vera’s new/old bike.

If you’ve been following along you might remember that a few projects have been occupying my spare time and attention for – well – about this last calendar year. Yeah, I’ve been building vintage bikes, part by part. It’s a fun hobby (all right, a passion) and it keeps me off the streets. Well, scratch that: It’s a fun hobby that keeps me ON the streets, and that’s a good place for all of us.  Check out project #2, recently completed:

Vera’s 25+yo Diamond Back Ascent, refurbished, retooled, and pimped-out as an Xtracycle.  
Paint courtesy of Cyclart, labor at Williamson Bicycle Works.
Today I ran a majority of my business and personal errands in the saddle.  I live across the street from PEMBAbase, so this doesn’t seem like such a big deal.  Really, it isn’t.  Dozens, hundreds, and thousands of people ride every day here in Madison, so I just joined them.  So what if it was cold and icy today?  It was really fun taking the two young kids to school while pulling them in their trailer, and it was doubly fun riding double on the Xtracycle this evening when I picked up Emma from dance.  Plus, I got to run the DLG in the dark, and that was really cool.
What I’ve noticed is that when I run errands on bike – or on skateboard, or even while walking – I enjoy the process.  I may leave the office stressed and tired and thinking of the next thing, and somewhere en route this all goes away.  By the time I return, I’m ready for whatever’s on my calendar next. 
You know, it’s just the opposite when I drive. When I drive for my errands, it takes about the same amount of time as when I take other modes of transport.  And I worry.  I worry about getting to my destination on time, about finding parking, traffic, one-way streets, and other things that I need to do.  I’m distracted by the stuff that’s piling up for me to do while I’m driving.  When I commute by other methods – say, by cycling – I find that the end becomes the reason for the process, and not the other way around.  I become more aware of the moment and less concerned about what’s happening next, or what I might be missing by spending time in a car.
As a small business owner and a father of three kids – believe me – I can use every break I get, no matter how small.  Riding five minutes back and forth to the bank?  That’s all right by me, that’s all right by me.

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