I suspect that I lost most readers of this blog a long time ago. That happens. I have been trying to write the story of how I came to be hit by a car and get my hip replaced, I’ve made about ten tries, and so far they’re all useless. So I thought I’d just try to blog again, instead of blogging on-topic. Here goes. Note that I’m writing this as if I was still riding. It seems an appropriate thing to do, since (once I can get back on my bike) I will be riding.
I’m a morning person. I seldom sleep past 5:00, and usually wake well before that. I’ve never understood why. I can’t sleep in—I consider waking up at 7:00 AM to be decadent.
I suppose it might have something to do with having had diabetes for forty years (you train yourself to get up at the same time every day). But that still doesn’t explain the whole “before 5:00” thing.
It’s not even like I’m terribly productive in the morning. Years ago, I used to get up and read a newspaper; now I get up and browse the web. When I’m touring, I’m the guy who stumbles out of the tent into the morning chill, revives the campfire and internally whines until breakfast (or at least bacon) is served. At home, I’m the guy who wakes up, goes downstairs, and makes breakfast and internally whines if the family doesn’t show up while it’s hot.
Much of the year, because my spouse and I have a son in middle school, mornings have to be organized like a ballet (wake up! breakfast! equipment! bus!), and I have to learn to wait.
But during the summer, mornings are all mine. My spouse sleeps a little later, the kids (he that is in middle school and any that are home for the summer) sleep late. I shower, head downstairs, toss my notebook in a bag, grab a light breakfast, and head for my bike. I’ve gotten to the point where I know which coffee shops with WiFi open at 6:00, and which open a little later (I am so disappointed in the latter).
Riding early is lovely. It’s cool, there are few cars out there (but ya still gotta look for them!), birds are singing and the bugs seem to have gone into hiding. Sometimes I see a deer, and sometimes a skunk (it’s amazing how fast those things can aim, but a bike is faster).
Sometimes I ride long, sometimes short.
For example, there’s a place about four miles away called Legal Grounds (yes, owned by attorneys). They open “late” but even before they open, Legal Grounds is worth visiting. The shop is in the back of a very nice new/used bookstore that sits on the East side of Whitney, and has tables sitting out on the sidewalk. It has one of the nicer bike racks in town out front. The building blocks the early morning sunlight from the tables, making for a pleasant place to sit in the summer, and the WiFi stays on, so I can sit out front until Legal Grounds opens, reading and blogging and arranging my mind for the day.
Sometime I ride long. What I consider long is not necessarily long, but it’s long for me on an early ride, OK? I can get on the East Coast Greenway and ride up to Cheshire. It’s about a ten mile trip each way, so I get in 20 before work. On the way back, I often stop at the Giant View Café, use their WiFi, and compose myself for the day.
And on Bike to Work Breakfast days each month? I head down the trail to Treadwell, work over to Whitney and arrive at the site early enough to help with setting up tables. OK, sometimes too early to help with the setup. But riding Whitney and Orange into New Haven when there are few cars around is a real treat, so it’s well worth it. And if I feel like it, there’s the climb up East Rock to start me on the way back.
Last summer, we had some really rainy days, and those were fun in the morning as well—a wool sweater and a rain cape, fenders and a really good headlight. I would stop back at home to towel off before going to work .
You may not be a morning person, but I urge you to try an early ride. If your commute is a long one, the extra time can make the ride a lot more fun. If your commute is short (like mine currently is), you can make time for fun. Ditto if you’re one of those lucky folk who don’t need to commute.
It’s time for me to head to work now. I like my job; I get to help a lot of people. But I still look forward to 5:00, when a road (much more crowded than the one I rode this morning) will take me ever on. Or at least home for dinner.