Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Slow going

I took it really easy both ways today. I had to ride to the data center in Raytown. Maybe it was the dimly lit and only vaguely familiar roadways. Perhaps the chill of the morning had something to do with it, or the knowledge that my rear tire is close to bursting without warning. I know the increased amount of traffic lights had plenty to do with it as well. Regardless, I was a lot slower today.

Moseying through quiet suburban back-roads before 6:00 AM is quite surreal. Where the pavement was dry, there was not a sound to be heard, and at perhaps 10 MPH, my bike was also pretty much silent as well. Working my way through Mission Hills, only the occasional car pierced the darkness with its headlights. The people who live here are for the most part still sleeping.

Getting into the data center was interesting:
Any car that pulls up must wait, while bollards are lowered and the arm is lifted by pneumatic machinery. Once past the first set of bollards, they're lifted, trapping the car next to the guard station. The occupants of the car must activate the access card readers. Then, a second set of bollards are lowered, a fence retracts, and finally, the arm lifts, allowing the car to proceed. Pulling up to the fortress-like entry-way to the data center on my bike, however, really got the guard's attention. People don't roll up on bikes too often.

Work went as planned.

Moving from Des Moine to Galveston... on a bicycle. Yes, really.
I met a guy named Barret on my way home. He was riding a girl's schwinn mountain bike with some upgraded components, a nice set of Wald baskets on back, and pulling a cheap kid trailer completely loaded with stuff. To say he was a well-equipped bike tourer would be an understatement. Barret's moving from Des Moines to Galveston, by bike. I saw him walking his rig up the sidewalk of 63rd St. and asked if everything was alright. He was just tired and didn't feel up to pedaling his cargo uphill. He declined to take any of the leftovers I had from lunch (some oranges and a sandwich) as he had plenty of nourishment with him. Some might call him homeless, but he had everything to set up camp and seemed optimistic and upbeat about his journey and new job prospects in Texas. I wish him the best.

He didn't seem like the kind of guy who would want me taking pictures of him or his setup, so I didn't even bother asking. It was a pleasure meeting him and talking for a while, though.

My journey pretty much paled in comparison to Barret's. I spent the rest of my ride home contemplating just how tiny my commute really is.


Anonymous said...

Stories like Barret's make me have goose bumps! Most people wouldn't even consider it, in fact if I'm completely honest with myself I'm not sure I would ever consider moving by bicycle. Of course, I wasn't a commuter when I was single and had few possessions. Glad you got to meet him and could share his story. Wonder how many car drivers stopped to ask if he needed anything?

Miguel said...

Is this the bicycle mover you met?


Miguel said...

Now that I think of it can't be. The gentleman you mentioned said he was coming from Des Moines.

Noah said...

This was definitely a different guy but the same kind of character. Thanks for sharing!

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