Thursday, July 9, 2009

alternative transportation

After an unpleasant and negative experience on the bike in late August, I basically spent at least 9 months here in Berlin avoiding the bike and walking, walking with weight vest on, jogging, taking the bus, or taking the trains. 

I had all my systems worked out, the shopping, the going places, the reading or phoning while walking or riding the bus or train, the socializing while jogging or walking in the woods, the exercising while all of the above

- and then our neighbors borrowed my bike and pumped up the tires
- and then we needed to go somewhere the bus didn't go
- and then the weather got glorious
- and then I got in the habit of riding my bike a little!

It's a whole different view of the city, a different rhythm. The streets and the stores and the people go by at a different pace, I'm in a different place in the traffic (yesterday an enormous bus was bopping along superslowly behind me and I didn't even realize it at first - bikes can go in the bus lane and the bus just has to wait), now I'm the one going ring ring ring at the unruly pedestrians when the bike lane is on the sidewalk as it often is. Even in the woods - I can get to my beloved lake so much more quickly, the transportation is barely an issue, I could go out right now and be there in 15 minutes and then have all my time for the lake itself. (Maybe I will!)

There are different people in my space with me, too. About three weeks ago I biked to Weight Watchers and on the way back there was a man in the bus lane ahead of me, on a bike with a large green cargo basket behind him and in it a very large green-paper-wrapped bouquet sticking out to the right - he was very slow and if I say that you know it was slow because I'm slow, and our bike-space-in-the-bus-lane was about to merge/verge right and go up onto the sidewalk and become a bike-lane-on-the-sidewalk (delineated by fine-grained red brick as opposed to the larger gray slabs of the sidewalk), and I really wanted to get out of there and away from the buses and he was slow so I tried to swoop around him on his right but I gently sideswiped the bouquet as well and so I apologized profusely as I went by and he seemed chagrined and unhappy and I felt bad.

Well, a week later, I was coming back from Weight Watchers on my bike, same day of the week, same approximate time, and in fact meditating on my memory of sideswiping that very man as I once again biked up onto the sidewalk at that very spot - and then I went on a little further and as I was riding up over the bridge over the circle line trains, I saw a man on a bike with a big green cargo basket and a green-paper-wrapped bouquet sticking out to the right, just a little ahead of me. 

As it turned out, he turned into a building before I had to deal with whether I was going to pass him again or not, and maybe it was a completely different man riding that route with those flowers in that paper on Tuesday at 11:45 p.m., but it seemed like a rather coincidence. Then I thought: maybe every Tuesday at shortly before noon he'll be here (but in fact, I have not seen him again).

So yes, I'm enjoying the bike. In the woods, on the street, on the sidewalk. It helps that we don't wear helmets here. It helps that the tires are pumped. I don't get as much reading or phoning done and I'm a little concerned about getting my weight-bearing, calorie-burning exercise in. I'll update!

No comments: