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Letters From the Commute, Part II
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by Gary Timmons

Yes, in spite of all predictions from family, friends, and creditors to the contrary, here I am with you a second time with ruminations on the bike commuting life.

I want to thank my fellow PPTCers for your responses to my request in the first column for comments or anecdotes about bike commuting. Turning to the first message I received, and without commenting on the general contrariness of a certain Pedal Patter advertising manager, in the interest of equal time what follows is her list of reasons for NOT being able to commute to work by bike.

A few reasons to drive:

  • XM radio receiver does not fit on handlebars
  • Time spent in beltway traffic is perfect for transitioning from office stress to home stress
  • There's no bike beltway for those who commute from Virginia to Maryland and vice-versa
  • Helps consume more oil so we can deplete this resource and accelerate the need for more cycling transportation in the future
  • This ain't Amsterdam!

Turning to other random thoughts, I wasn't, strictly speaking, commuting-OK, I wasn't commuting at all-but was recently out on a PPTC ride in rural Loudoun (always have to look up how to spell that) County and had the usual experiences with drivers passing too fast and too close on the country roads in their impatience to get past our pokey line of bikes and on down the blacktop. I found myself reflecting, as I listened to my heart pound after yet another near miss, on whether all those sexy car model names like Firebird, Mustang, or Thunderbird, undoubtedly intended to lure buyers into parting with their long green, might foster aggressive driving. Of course, this is the digital age and many car monikers are now alphanumeric, like the Acura RL and TSX or the BMW 3 series, 5 series or 7 series. These, I guess, would be considered sexier than, say, the Lexus P-U or Toyota IED? And, how could anyone roaring along in a Buick Regal possibly think he doesn't own the entire road?

Columnist Russell Baker suggested once that drivers would be far less aggressive if car manufacturers would only assign less assertive names to their cars, like Kittens, Bunny Rabbits, or Feather Dusters. In the early 1950s, poet Marianne Moore was asked by the Ford Motor Company to suggest names for a new car then in development that would evoke "some visceral feeling of elegance, fleetness, advanced features and design." Her suggestions-Resilient Bullet, Utopian Turtletop, Pastelogram, Mongoose Civique, Andante con Moto, and Varsity Stroke 3-were all passed over in favor of the name of Henry Ford's son. Thus, the Edsel was born.

Keep on pedaling! See you the next time we hold up traffic!

more Ride Schedule

12/8/2016
C (MH) * 21-29 miles * MD *10:00 AM * Glen Echo Loops * Glen Echo (GLE)

12/8/2016
C/CC * 15-25 * VA * 1:00 PM * Neighborhood Midday Ride * Pinn Community Center * 32°/wind 20+mph

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