Sunday, February 12, 2012

at the speed of life

This is my bicycle. . .
My main means of transportation around the island.
It's parked here at the almost end of the White Street Pier while I'm sitting on a bench beside it enjoying my morning
con leché.
. . .It's a quiet way to start the day.

I've been riding bikes all my life, it's in my DNA I guess.
As a kid delivering newspapers and as a younger adult, racing and riding Centuries. (nut numbing 100 mile treks)
But in these old days, riding this hybrid like a mule
suits me fine.
Transportation to work or the sailboat dock, to the grocery store, for Saturday morning banking and post office chores and then the occasional speed demon workout up and down Smathers beach.

Bicycling is a healthy and sensible way to get around our little town. Involuntary deep breathing, unstructured exercise and no carbon footprint.

There's sort of a bicycle culture in Key West.
Like me, lots of locals don't own cars so, out and about on our bikes we meet.
They're all kind of slower going, calmer and more laid back. The kind of people I like, and strive to be myself.

I'll admit that for the year I took possession of brother Cooper's car after he got busted for DUI, a silver drop-top Miata, I got a little spoiled. It was easier to visit friends up the Keys on Summerland and Big Pine (although driving that cute two seater at 55mph on US1 scared the holy hell out of me),
I could buy more groceries in a single trip to Faustos, didn't have to time my weekly treks to do post office and banking chores between down pours on rainy days and I even got a few hot dates out of it.
(with my toned and tanned body behind the wheel,
the car was a "chick magnet")

But after a few months I realized I wasn't seeing my friends anymore. They were still in and of the bike culture and now I was driving. When that hit me, I parked the car in front of the house and got back on the bike. Suddenly all my two and three wheeled leg propelled friends were back on my radar.

The white haired guy who rides past on the pier in the mornings with a wave and his coffee in hand, Pete with the big straw hat, Jan pedaling along the sidewalk on her tricycle, Ray-Ray the beach bum, the lady who rides around with her African Grey (named Scorpio) on the handlebars and the gorgeous young girl heading home from her afternoon dance classes at CoffeeMill.
It was, and is, great to see and talk with them all again and, by the way, I never moved the car again. It sat safely in front of the house on my sleepy Old Town street for another 6 months until the court finally gave Dennis his license back.

The take away from all this, at least for me is,
friends happen at the speed of life.

1 comment:

Will K said...

I started bike commuting last year after I got a folding bike. It was the first time in many years that I'd owned a bicycle, and I chose it because it 1) fits in my apartment and 2) has full size wheels. After I started riding, I was amazed by how much better I got to know my community than I ever did when I was riding or even riding the bus. Cycling really is just different, I guess.