Boston continues to enjoy a Renaissance in biking. On a good day, it seems like the lions and the lambs (also known as the motorists and the cyclists) have found a way to get along.
And so it is with a heavy heart that I confess: I have become a lion. Even worse, this lion won't be riding his bike this Friday for Bike to Work Day.
It's not because I don't want to: For the past nine years I have either ridden my bike or walked to work almost every day. Driving was reserved for when I had meetings in Worcester or Westborough, and even then, I made sure to carpool with my colleague and good friend, Gordon.
But a few months ago I started a new job that is a 45-minute drive from where I live. This means I can no longer ride to work. Even worse, there is no public transportation anywhere near my office.
And so, I have become something I had taken great pride in not being: a motorist.
And I have to say, I don't feel too good about this.
I knew that driving to work would be hard. I also knew that I would miss riding my bike, even in the snow, sleet and freezing rain.
And yet this tradeoff has been worth it. My work as a psychologist with high risk youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system has been more rewarding than I had hoped it would be.
Though I still feel kind of crummy about my carbon output. Plus I miss my 60-minutes-a-day of biking: it was the perfect stress buster. As opposed to driving in traffic, which is the perfect stress enhancer.
Fortunately, this cloud has a silver lining: one of my colleagues lives nearby. Even better, my colleague is funny and smart and easy to get along with. And so we have begun to carpool whenever our schedules allow. Now I don't feel so badly about my long drive. And the ride flies by, even when we're stuck in traffic.
What do we talk about when we talk as we drive? Traffic, the kids we both care deeply about, our own families, and the Bruins.
Sure, it's not as good as riding a tandem, but it’s so much better than driving alone.
And so on Boston’s Bike Week I, a lapsed bicycle commuter, offer a toast to my fellow cyclists: May the wind always be at your back, and may you keep the rubber side down. And if you choose to ride this Friday to Government Center, enjoy your well earned breakfast burrito. I'll be thinking of you and wishing I could join in the fun.
Jonathan Simmons is the author of Here For The Ride: A Tale of Obsession on Two Wheels.
And if that’s not enough, Ciclismo Classico is hosting a Bike Travel Film Festival on May 20th in Arlington.