After being the last person in Boulder to get around to watching “Chasing Ice” over the weekend, and following it with a documentary about Antarctica (summary: we’re going straight to global-warming hell in a floodwater handbasket), I decided that by failing to commute to work by bike a few times a week like I used to, I’ve become part of the problem.
So I tossed some clothes, hair product and a tiny bit of smug into a backpack and took off on my 13-mile bike commute Monday morning.
There’s one corner on this ride that almost always reeks of car exhaust, and when I reached that corner, that tiny bit of smug I was carrying grew.
This is why! I thought. This is why I’m out here! I was also apparently out there to inhale that noxious crud, blech. But no worries — inhaling crud only fuels smug! I am doing the right thing!
As if my ego wasn’t already involved enough in this ride that was probably going to save the planet and inspire a legion to do the same, a cyclist without a backpack labored by me just past the Corner of Sputtering Exhaust. That guy doesn’t have a backpack, I thought indignantly (because everything is a race). Plus, he doesn’t have a backpack weighed down with my lunch in a glass bowl.
Wait, how much does quinoa in that Pyrex bowl weigh? And who commutes by bike with glass containers?
OK, so this wasn’t shaping up to be the most brilliant commute ever. Though my heart was in the right place when I started, I was now carrying both smug and a glass bowl, which is a silly way to be green. I pedaled feeling I could save neither the planet nor myself from my sense of righteousness — the latter feeling almost as insurmountable as the former. But as I dodged a couple of Subarus in a fender bender that had pulled over into the bike lane (not at all kidding), I noticed prairie dogs and the mountain views and remembered that one of the great things about riding a bike during rush hour traffic is that it requires the rider to be 100 percent in the moment.
And then I got distracted thinking about coffee.
— Jenn Fields, firstname.lastname@example.org