At some point over the last few months, I've become the type of Seattlite who rides her bike to a regular yoga practice, regardless if it's pouring down rain, 30 degrees, or 9 o'clock at night. I'm solidly going on 2 months of this, so I think it's safe to say it's become a bit of a favorite after work habit.
It's not a long ride, in fact, just a little more than half a mile and clocking in at 5 minutes each way. I've even forgotten my helmet on more than one occasion it's so short. But it's just enough of a ride to remind me every time I do it of a few things:
- I really truly love my bicycle.
- I love riding a bike.
- I'm truly privileged to be able to ride a bike to yoga and come home a warm house, night after night.
This final point was driven home last night as I was coming down my hill into my alley. There was a man who I see often, struggling with an overloaded shopping cart full of his belongings to get up onto the curb cut. This is the same curb cut I needed to use, as the street down to my alley is a relic of old-Seattle with rutted cobblestones, not bike-friendly at all!
Seeing that he was not going to make it up the curb cut anytime soon with his rickety shopping cart and wanting to get out of the driving rainstorm, I turned down an adjacent street to go the long way into my alley.As I pulled into my garage, shook off the rain from my raincape, and put my bike away, I couldn't get the man out of my thoughts. It was a miserable night outside. High 30s and absolutely pouring rain.
As many of you know, I'm an avid camper. I absolutely love getting out of town on my bicycle and setting up camp as often as possible. Before my biking days, I was a frequent car camper and still have lots of my old car camping equipment that goes unused.
Still shivering from my measly 5 minute ride home, I dug out my hardly-used car camping sleeping pad, a 3.5" self-inflating mat from REI. This mat is wonderful, but WAY too big to take bike camping. It's literally been sitting in my garage for 2 years. Knowing how comfortable this is (and how insulating), I went back outside and found the man inching his way down the steep incline with his cart.
I asked him "Do you need a sleeping pad?" He looked at me and said "That would be wonderful. Thank you." I wished him well.
I have no idea where he slept last night but at least, I hope he slept a little bit better than in previous nights.