I love riding my bike to work. I love it because if nothing good happens at work on a day that I ride, at least riding my bike was one good thing—two if you count the ride there and the ride home. But I also love it because it gives me an opportunity to appreciate so many surprising little things that I might not even have ever noticed had I been driving.
On my way home, I love to poke around and turn left or turn right, wherever I want to go. Even in a car, I’m not one to take the most expedient route but on a bike, the scenic route lures me even more.
So I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite things I see when I ride. Maybe you can figure out where they are.
This bird. I love this bird. I see him when riding between work and downtown.
And this? This is my tag. "So what," you say, but it’s the perfect example of something I never noticed in my car—and it’s my tag! A friend who rides his bike to work every day pointed it out to me, and not until my pedal-pushing friend told me about it, did I see it. Now I pass by and take such pride in the quick handiwork that someone else did, but which I can jokingly claim as my own. Here’s to you, T.B.
This drawing reminds me of Edward Gorey’s work, which I think is fantastic! This sticker decorates one hip person's mailbox.
Speaking of Gorey, I’ve learned to be OK with cemeteries, at least Oakwood Cemetery, which I ride by on my way home. I used to be really scared of cemeteries when I was a kid but now I love to pass by and look at the names on the tombstones, put them together and make up characters who I think would be perfect for William Faulkner novels. My absolute favorite at Oakwood is a headstone inscribed with the last name of “Numbers.” Can’t you see it? A tragic Faulkner character: Mr. Numbers. (Or I guess a potential nemesis of James Bond.) The first name I have chosen from another headstone goes especially well with Mr. Numbers’ last name but you should ride by there yourself and pick your own first name for Mr. Numbers.
But the absolute best thing about riding a bike is the people. People are a zillion times nicer when you’re on a bike. In a car, you’re just a big, ol’ anonymous hunk of steel that makes noise and stinks. Friendly people are a huge perk, like this gentleman who's always on his porch and who always waves at me and all the bike-riders, as if he's known us all for years. He has the friendliest smile and I always enjoy going home that way. (When I stopped and chatted with him one day, and asked to take his photo for this blog, I learned that his 93rd (!) birthday is next week so I’ll have to take that route home then to say happy birthday.)
Well, here are the last few treasures that I've found on my way home that I'll share. (The Shoe Shine mural is the only image for which I can acknowledge the artist, who is the obviously talented Tonya Engel. The somewhat illegible phrase on the plywood reads, "Wavy Days," which I feel like I have a lot of.)
Even appreciating these little things makes me more able to appreciate everything else in my life. So I encourage you to hop on your bike, or just take a really leisurely stroll, and make a point to look for things that you might not otherwise ever see or pay much attention to. I guarantee it will make your day a much better one.