When it comes to transportation, I’m all about speed.
No, really. Stop laughing.
I’m not thinking about cars.
And I’m not thinking about how fast I pedal or my current, average, or maximum speed on the bike.
For that matter, I’m not thinking about how anxious I feel every time I see Sandra Bullock step into a bus. I’m way anxious about that. What’s she doing on Peoria mass transit, anyway?
No, I’m talking about prep speed: how long it takes to get ready to ride.
If I’m home, looking forward to a one-hour or two-hour bicycle trip, I don’t care about prep speed, not even in the winter, when my kit includes old, stretched-out tights that take forever to put on even halfway straight, and insulated SPD shoes that take longer than forever (F + 1, in case you’re doing the math). I’m not in a hurry when I’m home.
But coffee time at work is a different matter. Every minute it takes to prepare to ride is one less minute to drink coffee, nibble on a lemon-raspberry muffin, or read another page of the history of alphabetical order.
Yeah. Lemon-raspberry. It’s not that unusual.
So, how do I keep prep time to a minimum? By doing as little as possible.
My coffee bike has platform pedals—no need for special shoes. And I wear the same clothes I work in, adding only a helmet, a glasses-mounted rearview mirror and a trouser clip.
Thoreau writes “to beware of all enterprises that require new clothes,” and, despite the fact that I could really, really use a new pair of tights on those longer winter rides, he isn’t entirely wrong.
If you have to change your clothes to ride a mile to the coffee shop, you don’t have time to enjoy your coffee.
And if you don’t have time to enjoy your coffee, why ride to the coffee shop at all? Might as well stay where you are.
There just aren’t any other options.
You ride a bike so you don’t have to drive a car.
It takes too long to walk.
The bus? The bus won’t get you there any faster. Plus, with Bullock aboard, there’s a good chance it won’t slow down enough to let you off.
And I think we’ve all seen that movie before.
April 24. 1 mile.