Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ballet Slippers? No, bicycle shoes.

Recently, I've found myself making quite a fashion statement. There is nothing like white crew socks and little black Italian shoes.

Almost a year ago, I managed to hurt a ligament in my foot and, not knowing what was happening, I kept injuring it over and over. Finally, this spring, I got some help from a specialist and have recovered enough to ride a bicycle. Hence the funny shoes.

I've been thinking about things as I ride. First it was things like; "Boy am I out of shape!" and "This bike seat sure is skinny and hard." Later I found myself thinking about getting older, how we live and travel, and the cost of gasoline.

I've been quite lucky in that I haven't been very affected by the increase in the price of gasoline. I know a lot of people are suffering. I'm lucky enough to have cars and motorcycles that get very good gas mileage and live close to town and work, so that I don't drive many miles. At this point in my life, I could even ride my bicycle to town if I wanted to.

My mother always insisted on living in a small town and being within walking distance of shopping. That was mainly because she didn't like to drive and didn't want to be dependent on driving, especially as she got older. I live 5 miles outside of a small town, so I don't quite measure up to her goal, but at this age, I feel close enough to get anywhere I needed to, even if I had to walk. It does bring up the interesting question of how long will I be strong enough to live comfortably in the country. If I can follow in my father's footsteps, it will be a long while.

This gas crisis has also got me thinking about the difference between living in a small town compared to a city. When I drive into the city to headquarters, I've noticed that I get much worse gas mileage with all the traffic and stop and go of rush hour. My colleagues that live near headquarters talk about getting gas mileage that is about 5-10 mpg worse than I get out here.

Some experts say that in the future, we will all need to move into city centers with mass transit so that we won't have to drive everywhere. I guess I'm happy for anyone who wants to live in a city to do so. But I think, in this day of computers, networks, and internet that some of us will be even better off in small citys and towns where things are even closer and rush hour is a dream.

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