LJWorld.com weblogs Rolling along
Generally speaking, I’m a firm believer that the bike is superior to the automobile.
Now, before anyone gets too bent, realize I’m not passing judgment on the people who chose one type of transport over the other, but only on the means of conveyance.
Bikes are cheaper to own and operate and more efficient. They also provide auxiliary benefits cars do not.
However, I readily will admit that in some instances, cars trump bikes: for long-distance trips, for example, though the thought of bike-packing does seem intriguing.
I’m reminded of another couple of instances this time of year when I’ll concede four wheels might be better than two.
The first just passed: turkey day. By turkey day, I don’t mean Thanksgiving; that’s a fine holiday perfectly suited for travel by two wheels. No, the turkey day in question is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, when my generous employer yearly hands out our fall bonus: a big, beautiful, frozen turkey.
Invariably, I forget about World Company turkey day until I’ve already ridden my bike to work, and I find myself facing the evening rush with a ginormous gratis gobbler in one hand and a wispy, thin-tired bike in the other.
I kid you not, the bird outweighs the bike, and for the life of me, I can’t figure an easy way to get the butterball home.
I know a cargo bike would be up to the task, but I don’t own one. Yet.
I suppose I could attach a rear rack or even a front Toto basket, but I’m leery of how the bike would handle with a frozen fowl on board. Plus, I’m concerned about liability issues should I unexpectedly hit a pothole, say, and inadvertently launch Tom into a rush-hour logjam.
I’ve also considered panniers — side-mounted bags — but in the interest of balance would have to plunk another bird (or load of bricks) in the other side, lest my lopsided bike find itself trapped turning unending circles.
I do have a backpack big enough, but the thought of a rock-hard — not to mention freezing — bird bouncing off my back for five miles makes my kidneys hurt just thinking about it. Ditto for the messenger bag I have, though that pain would seem to be more centralized on the spine itself.
So I usually find myself at the mercy of a co-worker who lives nearby to ferry my frozen turkey home.
And just as I get over that ignominy, along comes our winter bonus: a massive basket of fresh fruit. (We used to get a canned ham, too, until some ingrates left theirs for weeks at a time in the break-room fridge; I’ve also heard tales that some well-armed, if unappreciative, co-workers actually used the peel-to-open pig as target practice).
As packaged, in a bushel basket with festive red and green packing filler, there’s no way the free fruit would survive a cargo-bike ride home without sending a fusillade of apples and oranges rolling down the street, no doubt snarling traffic and confounding passers-by.
Panniers would be a good choice for the gratis grub, but I fear after too much jostling I’d arrive home with panniers full of fruit punch.
I suppose I could ferry a few fruits (now that was kind of fun to write) home at a time, but I usually just suck it up, store the graft under my desk for a day or two (not recommended with the turkey, by the way) and haul it home in the cage.
It does make for a fun game of fruity Frogger when I try to cross New Hampshire to the parking lot while preventing the gigantic grapefruit perched on top from tumbling to its untimely, but no doubt juicy, demise. And, invariably, I’m able to conjure up a lovely vision of the wire handles slicing clean through my fingers, each digit tinkling on the asphalt like the highest notes on the piano keyboard as the fruit basket plummets to the ground, and I, fingerless, find myself incapable of conscious action save for staring at my liberated fingers and wasted fruit.
But I digress ...
The other 363 days of the year, I think I prefer my bike. And so do my fingers.