I hadn’t planned on riding my bike home from work last night. Having already done a workout during my lunch “hour” (ok, it was a little longer than an hour today so shoot me), I jumped in my car and headed toward the freeway when it was time to leave. Of course, all the other lemmings had done the same and traffic on the freeway was at a complete standstill. Frankly, it’s been a crappy week and I just couldn’t take sitting in traffic like that – I might’ve finally snapped – so I headed back to the office, grabbed my bike and headed down the road to the train station.
Why head to the train station instead of riding all the way home? Because I’m one of those idiots that lives an hour (by car) away from where I work, that’s why. For a variety of reasons I’ve never moved closer. For a while I made bike commuting a game by being an “extreme bike commuter” and regularly rode anywhere from 50-90 miles on the way into work. Lately I’ve become lazy, however. I can’t remember the last time I rode all the way to work from home, and I just didn’t have the time to do it last night.
Wondering to myself what my problem is I inserted my money into the bill changer at the station and received back a handful of shiny $1 coins along with my ticket home. There’s something about having a handful of gold coins that makes a guy feel rich, even if that handful is not even worth ten bucks. Paper money (or worse yet 401k, stock option pie in the sky, compounded interest, living-for-the-future money) just can’t compare.
Anyway, like I’ve said it’s been a crappy week. My long weekend of bikepacking in the Sierra Nevada came to a screeching halt with car trouble on the drive up there last Friday and then when I returned to work I found out that 1/3 of my company had been let go due to changes in our business environment. Sitting in the car for another 2 or 3 hours (sometimes it takes that long to get home when traffic is bad) would not have helped my sour mood much so I hopped on the Metrolink train and headed south toward home.
But enough about my troubles. I’ve got my health, I still have a job and if I look at it the right way I have the best damn commute on the planet. When my stop arrived I jumped out of the train, then promptly took the long way home. I could smell the ocean, so I headed off toward it like a bloodhound hankering for a fish dinner.
The light molassed into gold, then ambered into some other shade as I slowly pedaled along the beachfront road (yes I made “molassed” and “ambered” up but it’s my damn blog and I’ll do what I want), my tires sticking to the pavement and hissing to the accompaniment of waves licking the salted caramel of a late summer evening at the beach. Surfers paddled out for one last ride and onlookers gathered in small groups facing the sun all along the beachfront as they watched the sun set in rapt Moai wonder – or maybe they were just drunk (though I suppos “stoned” would be a better fit for that Easter Island reference). That damn sun is up there for a good portion of the day, yet we only really take notice of it as it heads off into night.
As I stopped to take this last cell phone pic of my bike a disheveled looking guy a few years older than me remarked to me “Hey nice bike, I like the fenders. Ummm, do you have any spare change you can give me, I’m kinda down on my luck”.
I handed him a couple of the shiny dollar coins that were jingling in my pocket (I’m a sucker for an admirer of fine fenders), then rode off with the warmth of the sun on my face. Night had fallen by the time I rolled into my garage 40 minutes later, but I had seen the light.