Thursday, September 24, 2009

MFM Day 26: Long Road Ahead

September 24th, 2009: Motor Free Month Day 26

Thursday itself was full of anticipation for Friday and beyond. But Thursday had it's moments are well. I got absolutely drenched by a fierce little rainstorm at lunch, and once again found myself at work without a decent pair of socks to wear. You'd think I would learn to carry around a couple extra pair by now. Nope.

But now it's about to get real! Back when I was still thinking and planning my Motor Free Month I decided I would need to include an overnight trip to Boulder or Denver in the month. If one takes the Motor Free Month as a proxy for say, a Motor Free Year or Life, for example, one would have to know how difficult it would be to go to a different city now and then. My life has been somewhat geographically constrained since August 30th. The farthest I've traveled was up to Greyrock Mountain some 3 weeks ago. It's time to bust out and see what sort of hardships and annoyances one must endure in order to travel down to the big city and enjoy what it has to offer.

If this song doesn't get you amped up to travel, I don't know what will: The Pogues, Sally MacLennane

And in the offering this weekend in Denver is the Great American Beer Festival, and I am delighted to attend as a representative of Buckbean Brewing Company, based in Reno Nevada. Mostly I'll be volunteering at their booth and pouring their delicious sudsy beers for thirsty festival-goers all weekend. Assuming I can get there. Note to festival-goers; I'll be attending the Friday evening session, and both Saturday sessions. Stop by and say hi!

I'm taking the afternoon off Friday, and I'll start my journey on the road bike directly from work at lunch. I just mapped out a route from Ft. Collins to Denver, roughly parallel to 287 through Loveland, Longmont, Louisville (any other towns in CO that begin with "L"? Shall I detour through Leadville?), and Broomfield, before making my way to Denver. Thanks to some good advice from my friends Greg and Mark, I've got a decent route through the city to downtown. The total distance is about 66 miles from my office. At 17 miles/hour that means it should take me about 4 hours to reach downtown, plus extra time for rest stops, traffic lights, getting lost, and assorted mishaps.

Note that if I were driving a car, I would not have to take Friday afternoon off at all. So there's one annoyance right away. Secondly, I'm going to have to pack light. Extremely light, in fact, since I don't have touring panniers for my road bike and I'll have to haul everything on my back in my backpack. I figure one set of clothes for riding, another for not riding, and lots of deodorant. And extra socks, I seem to frequently be in want of those. Anything that can be left behind will be left behind, including such seemingly trivial items as my wallet (just take the cash and cards), glasses case (substitute a sock I guess?), and phone charger (will leave phone off most of the time). I believe this constitutes a second annoyance.

But for all that I am very excited about the trip. I've ridden longer distances than this before, but something about this trip seems far more adventurous, more fraught with peril. I suppose some of it is that if I had trouble on a normal long ride, I could get a ride, you know, in a car, and get back home easily. This sort of behavior is not allowed during Motor Free Month. If I really get into trouble I'll have to figure out a way to get my bike to a shop and get it fixed. If I do end up accepting a ride in a car, it will be a tragic and unsatisfying end to this grand adventure. But that's what makes this trip all the more essential; the stakes, the risks are much higher. Although it is not the end, it is the culmination of this grand experiment.

So I may not be able to post to this blog much between now and Sunday afternoon. Au revoir until then and wish me luck! And respect my authoritai!

And keep your calendars open for Saturday, October 3rd, my last Motor Free Day. Ever. I'm planning a special century ride for that day and you're all invited to join me. We'll start at Laurel and College in Ft. Collins, at 8:00 am, and ride to Boulder and back. More details next week.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to hear how your riding went these two days. You know - even people who bike or walk in other countries do use public transportation. You could take a regional bus to Denver and not have any greater impact. In fact, I'd argue that if you were to take the bus, the long-term effect would be an overall reduction in gas use/carbon emissions because your consistent bus usage would result eventually in more buses scheduled for others to use. Plus, if you rode the bus, other people would think the bus was incredibly cool and would ride, too.

    My own car-free attempt was unsustainable. 23 miles RT and 700 feet elevation to work just isn't that easy every day if you're not physically prepared.