Sunday, May 17, 2009

In Which our heroine eschews taking the f-ing T

If you have ever lived in Boston, you understand the loathsome beast that is the T. The T, or subway, is a fairly outdated and slow way of moving around the city – but given the narrow streets and absurd number of drivers, one gets comfy on the T pretty quickly, out of sheer necessity. Living across town from my office all year has meant that the T and I are quite familiar with one another, even if we aren’t super deeply in love. Not even close – taking it up to two hours a day has made me hate being underground, the jerky starts and stops, the random stopping between stations for no reason, and the occasional eighty-minute trip (UGH) to go approximately three miles.

So our heroine did what any sensible person does in this day and age – I decided to try bike commuting. Bostonians seem fairly split on this; you have a small number of diehard bikers who swear by it, a large number of people who would love to try it if it weren’t terrifying, and I would say the majority of people who either love their cars as children or refuse to believe that all Boston roads aren’t insta-death unless you’re securely wrapped in a steel cage (note: apparently even the metal cages aren’t keeping us safe anymore – twice this year there have been accidents on the T of all things, because apparently being a distracted Boston driver extends even to those for whom it is a JOB... yeah, they text their girlfriends while driving).

But the motion sickness was becoming unbearable, so I gave it a shot. I actually have a fairly wimpy record as a bicyclist, since I didn’t learn until I was thirteen years old and only got up the courage to bike on streets last year (yeah). Caution went to the wind though (kind of), and I undertook the trek to work.

AMAZING. I have come to the conclusion that biking is the ONLY way to travel in this city. You know, as long as no one is opening a door into you or driving right through the bike lane on the cell phone (here they pop up again!) and flipping you off for standing (or biking) your ground. Basically, I arrived at the office far more awake than ever before, was getting fantastic exercise (calf muscles coming back, baby), and was at LEAST as fast as the goddamned T. And it’s free, and I always have a parking spot.

That’s right, friends, I am a CONVERT. And I want to preach this new way of life. I have rented bicycles while traveling (and scooters – now THAT’s a great way to get around. Second only to a litter being carried by four beautiful manservants, totes natch), and have loved how it lets one really become part of the environment. Even in my hometown, it changed my view – biking up Beacon Hill and behind the State House, seeing all the secret gardens hidden away and tiny shops, I just found so much more of my city.

Doesn’t hurt that my tan is off to a nice start, either…

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