Monday, February 11, 2008

Full Disclosure

I have not always been kind to the planet. There was one very dark period of my life, referred to as the "mid-life crisis" where I succumbed to the siren call of Detroit and purchased an SUV. I regretted signing the lease almost immediately, but I was stuck. I compensated by driving it as little as possible (the leasing manager was surprised when I turned it back in, well under the lease limit).

I mention this as a word of warning, and present a possible solution. Detroit used everything in its power to convince me that I absolutely needed a vehicle that could take me anywhere on the planet under any conditions. And the vehicle needed to produce 250 horsepower while consuming vast quantities of fuel. That thesis is absurd, of course. I don't need to cross the Sahara Desert. And if I do, there are other ways of accomplishing it.

But the desire remains. I bought a cyclocross bike last Fall, so I could commute through the winter without ruining one of my pricier bikes. I immediately swapped out the knobby tires for something a little more road-friendly. Winter followed Fall, and I put the knobbies back on for the occasional snowy commute. And a strange thing happened: I discovered I could go practically anywhere! I found myself seeking out unpaved roads, trails; snow, and mud. It satisfied the desire Detroit had implanted to "conquer the planet". Except I'm no longer "conquering", I'm "communing". Has a much nicer feel to it.

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