Thursday, July 26, 2007

The smells of the commute

You know, riding along on a bike is a great way to entice almost all of your senses. Since I am riding into the heart of downtown from suburbia, I get to experience a broad selection of sights, sounds and smells. This morning, I'll focus on smells.

Sure, there's the faint smell of fuel and exhaust from the nearby highway and gas stations when I leave from home in the morning. That quickly fades, though. As I ride past the nursery, I smell flowery and fresh smells. As I pedal alongside the small streams and waterways, I may smell moss, or I may smell something putrid. Today was obviously trash day in Kansas City, Kansas and I smelled decaying refuse and 3-day-old pizza along the roadside. Coming into downtown, I pass a chemical supply place that always smells like burnt popcorn. Next to it, a Mexican food manufacturer that reeks of stagnating tortilla corn pulp. Not much further, I can smell delicious Mexican food being prepared. Right before I pull into the parking garage at work, I can actually smell the Folger's coffee being roasted and packaged. Yep, right here in Kansas City.

Anyhow, some smells are great, others are unwelcome. All of it is part of the commuting experience. While others are stuck breathing stale, exhaust-rich air in their cushy motorized contraptions, I get to soak up (and savor, when I wish) the many different sensory experiences of the place I call home.

The ride today was a little fast-paced with a train setting Chris and I back a few minutes. I got clearance to hit the Full Moon ride tonight, so I plan on going out there. I may not be in the mood to ride to work tomorrow, but I'll have to see what I feel like in the morning. There's always the bus.

As for my strength, I think it's sticking around. It's Thursday now, and I'm not nearly as wiped out as I have been in weeks prior to this. This isn't an amazing thing, and it's not something for me to be proud of. It's just something that comes with riding more. Looking back at how my bicycling has evolved over the past 10 months or so, my progress has been relatively slow, but it's proof that you don't have to be a jock or even in good shape to just pick up riding and be satisfied with the results you're getting while enjoying an effective way to get around.

Random Tunage:
Information Society - What's on your mind
White Zombie - More human than human


martinoffroad said...

Please share more info on this Full Moon ride.

Noah said...

You have to RSVP. go to and contact the Dude himself. All he sent out was a quick blurb about the full moon ride. He doesn't publish the ride info. Needless to say, you should be prepared to adhere to the Randonneurs USA Article 10 on night riding. You need a headlight and at least one steady (not blinking) tail light that will last about 4 hours. You need reflective gear including (at minimum) a reflective vest and ankle bands. If you have all that and you're ready for a 3+ hour ride that kicks off around 9pm somewhere in suburban Johnson County and goes all over the place from there, get ahold of the 'Dude and he will probably hook you up with the details.

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