It’s been about a year since COVID-19 started making itself felt here. Patient Zero landed in Everett on January 18. It took a while, but by late February we started sensing that this could impact our lives. Assisted living facilities started experiencing the terrible toll first. Soon schools began worrying about COVID cases. On March 4, 2020, I was working from home when Benji’s school called: Someone at the school had tested positive for COVID, and they were sending all the kids home for a few weeks.
I’ve been back to biking for almost six weeks, since January 18. In that time, darkness, rain, and wind have characterized most of my commutes. But those only serve to heighten the enjoyment of a day like yesterday: Mid-50s, sunny, light breeze, and daylight fading into a brilliant sunset.
I chose to ride across 520 and along Lake Washington Boulevard to fully appreciate the sunset, and I’m sure glad I did.
I don’t know how many times I’ve told Benji to please wait and be patient. Probably several times a minute. Thus I can fully appreciate the deep irony of a situation where my patience was stretched to breaking. Here’s the story.
On my morning commute, I ride the bus to Seattle since I don’t feel any need to commute by bike 21 miles twice a day. When I ride the bus, I get off at the first downtown stop, take my bike off the rack, turn, mount my bike, and ride away — directly ahead of the bus. So naturally I try to expedite the unload-and-go process, not wanting to hold up an entire busload of people any longer than necessary. If I use a backpack, I don’t have to worry about hooking a pannier onto my bike before I start riding. I can usually get rolling before the bus has finished loading new passengers.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019, 7:15 am
Dad and I met up for an extended ride home this evening. By “extended,” I actually mean we added 25 miles to a 20-mile commute. Perfect… and my toes even defrosted in the shower. We didn’t set any land speed records, but I find it difficult to keep up a fast pace when it’s pitch dark and the temperature hovers around freezing. We still had a nice time.
We rode south through Bellevue to Factoria, over Northup Way into Issaquah, and then around the south end of Lake Sammamish. A straight shot north took us directly home.
On my commuter bike, I currently run Compass Stampede Pass tires with tan sidewalls. Besides looking pretty slick, they feel and handle great, and 99% of the time I love them.
The big downside: Flats. Because they are supple and light, they are prone to flats. And the tires have a really tight bead with my rims, making it very hard to get them off and on. In fact, the last four times I’ve flatted, I didn’t even try to repair it myself. I just went to the nearest bike shop.
Notice how I said “the last four times”? Well, three of those happened in the last week, and two of them happened yesterday.
Sometimes God gives us opportunities above and beyond our everyday choices, chances to shine as a bright light in a dark place. Yesterday I took one of those opportunities, and I’m still reeling from it.
Thursday, February 21, we pushed out our first release of 2019 at work. With President’s Day on Monday and all the snow the previous weeks, I didn’t feel as comfortable as usual. Every working day that week I put in 10-hour days and still felt less well prepared than I like. But that evening I left work at about 6:25 PM relieved and ready to enjoy a slow, dry, “warm” bike commute home before really nasty weather pummeled us again.