Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Standing on the shoulders of giants

This year, I've heard a whole lot of people tell me that I inspire them, that they're impressed by my drive or dedication, or that somehow or another, they look up to me.

While the ego boost is nice (I appreciate the kind words, don't get me wrong), I really have to proxy the sentiments and give credit where due.

Where I come from:
I have an inner car fanatic. I am a mechanical tinkerer, and honestly a bit of a go-fast freak. I am also an optimizer that appreciates simple, streamlined and efficient devices and processes. Some people drive for transportation and ride for recreation. I'm the other way around most of the time.

As you may know (or may not, since there are well over 1,000 posts here now), I started bike commuting because my car broke. I knew how to fix it myself, and I eventually did fix it, but the part I needed was back-ordered by a month. I started bike commuting before I knew there was even a term for bike commuting. I just knew that the bus stop I'd been driving my car to was only 2 and a half miles away from home, and that even as fat as I was (near 250 pounds), I could probably ride a bicycle there.

When I pulled my tattered Wal-Mart bike into Bike America, Kevin (the General Manager) and Libby (one of the wrenches at the time, she's gone now) mentioned bike commuting. "You're a bike commuter, huh? Let's see what we've got for you..." This phrase, "Bike commuting" would stick in my head for a few days. Some Internet searches later, I was paying attention to (if not slightly idolizing) Warren and cDude locally, and Fritz, Warren (again) & Tim, RL, Moe & Friends. I'd also found the Commuting forum at BikeForums.net, where I'd mostly lurk, but post occasionally. I'd found people kind of like me. People with more experience. People with sometimes drasically different and sometimes flat-out opposing opinions on stuff. From the crew at my local bike shop to the Internet-dwelling denizens of bike commuting: they were my inspiration.

Winter set in quickly, and I found Doug, Jill and IceBike. If these cyclists could do it, so could I. Sounds like fun!

I've since found many more friends. In fact, many of you who have said I inspire you, inspire me back with your own perspectives as you chronicle your own adventures in blogs and forums.

I'm genuinely standing on the shoulders of giants who paved the way for those of us who have just recently embraced the bicycle as more than a toy, a piece of competitive sports equipment, or fitness gadget.

Since this has basically turned into a count-to-5,000-miles... I took The Twelve this morning since temps stayed above freezing and the roads are mostly clear again. Without glancing at my spreadsheet, I think I've got about 16 miles to go. I saw the same commuter I saw on 0°F Monday last week, and JR was also out and about today. Other than that, no other cyclists in sight.

I stopped to snap this shot of the historic Midland Theater, which was recently refurbished by AMC.

Random Tunage:
Five Finger Death Punch - White Knuckles
Third Eye Blind - Semi-Charmed Life
(Yes, really. My tunage is actually that random this morning)


Darius said...

You've inspired me to blog, take pictures and ride more. Thanks.

amidnightrider said...

I remember like yesterday my first post to you. Your title was "I Feel Like a Democrat", or something very close to that. I was a couple of years ago now.

I though it was really neat reading about commuting and getting an idea how other parts of the country go about their day.

Jason said...

Oh no worries we are out in force!! :) I think its great you're going to hit 5k !! I was going to make you ride a midnight ride tonight if you were just out of reach. :) Way to go!

I enjoyed the few rides we had this past year and hope next year we get to enjoy even more! Keep posting so I can keep learning.

Ben said...

Ride on, Noah. Enjoy reading your blog.

p.s. I too am guilty of a octane addiction. I was secretly happy when my snorty V8 powered pickup didn't sell despite my best efforts, and will be even happier when I finagle trading my base model terrorist Taurus off on a SHO.

Antennaguy said...

Noah, Keep on riding! You and Doug, Jill and Fatty have inspired me to start a blog (Nebraska Trails) and also ride more during the winter months, including commuting 9 miles round trip to work.

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