Lately, I bicycle a different route to work each day. I’m surveying the streets to help revise the RTC bike map of existing bike lanes. My morning commute starts before 7:00. The air is cool and the motorists are calm.
This morning I found myself exploring Fourth Street which has the reputation of being THE place in Reno to obtain female companionship for a price. It really is much more interesting than just that, however. On the west end it’s almost rural. The shoulder is at least 6 feet wide so it feels safe. It’s smooth and downhill toward town, too, so the cruising is easy. Once into town the variety of business is astounding! They range from pizza places and wedding chapels to scrap metal dealers and fork lift rentals. I ride by Reno Rails and think of Bill’s “Come run trains with me!” Riding by the Dilligas Saloon, I think, “Is that the swinger’s place or something?” In a few minutes I’ve forgotten my mission to get to work and I’m captivated by the variety.
That, of course, is the beauty of bicycle commuting. In the car it’s just me and the radio, isolated in my tin box, grousing about traffic and gas prices. On my bike, I’m part of the community and engaged. I make eye contact with the day laborers waiting for a job on Galletti and wish them a “Good Morning”. How they can look so sour and expect to get some work is beyond me.
The highlight this morning was Grandma on her new Harley, however. I guessed it was a woman on a new purchase by her small frame and the tentative way she released the clutch. But I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled up next to her and peered into her helmet. Inside was the smiling, weathered, face of a senior citizen. I imagined she was feeling pretty smug on her new toy having found a fun, gas efficient way to get around town. Not as smug as I was feeling, however, ‘cause I was burning no gas at all on my commute.