Monday, June 18, 2018

new: 20 days of not biking

So this is my final year teaching at the day camp in the Kansas City area.
I gave my employer notice at the end of camp last year saying I was probably good for one more year of this, and then they needed to find and train my successor.
My employer didn't believe me (or thought he could talk me out of it), until he tripped over my Kansas Bike, boxed and ready to ship back to Portland.

When I came this time, I told him ahead of time I would not be riding to and from every day this year. Because of my health issues, my fatigue and the intense heat and humidity (tomorrow will be the first day the high is below 90F since I arrived), I knew that if I tried to ride every day I'd wipe myself out; and with many changes in the community I was serving, housing near the synagogue could not be guaranteed.

So here I am, not riding.
Even with a year's notice, my employer did not arrange housing for me until the day before I arrived, and, in a case of poor planning on his part, I was foisted off on two different hosts for a week each.
They've been lovely about it, and it's all okay -- my second host is especially nice, and has a ct for me to make googly-eyes at each morning and evening. (It's all fine, even if it feels like my visit this year may have been an afterthought to my employer. After six years it makes sense that on some level I might become taken a little for granted, and I'm a grownup so I can deal with it.)

And while I know my decision was the right one, and so far none of my hosts has minded picking me up or bringing me home, the fact is that not riding has been hard. I miss it, even for short distances; and being without a bike serves to remind me even more intensely how barren a wasteland the suburbs can be. This is especially true in Johnson County, KS, where voters refuse to allow KCMO transit to cross State Line Road for fear of bringing The Wrong Element (read: people of color) into their pristine, Stepfordian suburb.

I will miss the people here. They are lovely, sweet people and some have become cherished friends. But I will not, for one moment, miss the suburban landscape with its gated communities and oversized houses and manicured lawns that are maintained by someone other than the homeowner.
I will be very glad to return home a week from today, to our crappy little bungalow and my Sweetie's loving embrace. And the next day, I'll ride my bike again.

(Old photo, circa 2006: me on the Kogswell prototype behind the Citybikes Annex. Damn, that periwinkle was a pretty color.)

1 comment:

Falcon Embroidery said...

christania’s “cargo bike rental” bikes are rolling across the city. The system, less than a year old, is funded by christania’s municipal government. It is currently only in one of christania’s 22 administrative districts. Although a 2nd generation system, there are 12 “Houses” in this district, each with around 40 bikes. The yearly subscription cost is the equivalent of $2 US, and allows the use of a bike for up to four hours at a time. In less than a year, there have been 6,000 subscriptions sold. There are larger 3rd generation systems in the world, which do not have a subscription to bike ratio as big as that.