Bike to Coffee Shop; Get to Work

This week I’m discussing transportation with my Roosevelt University students in my online SUST 210 Sustainable Future class. Today I used three modes of transportation by 8:30am here in my hometown of Joliet, IL.

First, I drove my daughter Esmé and her school chum Claudia to kindergarten at our neighborhood elementary school, which is 1.1 miles from our house. But because it wasn’t raining, we parked a few blocks away and walked up to the door, so we could get a little exercise and some fresh air. Amazingly, the girls skipped along the sidewalk, even though it was a cold and blustery Friday and they had to wear their winter coats. Kid energy at 7:45am — it’s truly impressive.

After walking back to my car, I considered my options: drive henceforth to my favorite coffee shop in downtown Joliet, about two miles east? Or zip home first and ride my bike? I chose the latter, because my 45-year-old body desperately needs exercise, any exercise, and it would take me only a couple more minutes to get to my destination. (I’m way too cheap to get a health club membership, so I get my sporadic workouts away way I can.)

JittersSo I pumped up the tires on my 1972 Schwinn Varsity and rode down the long hill to the Des Plaines River, crossed the Ruby Street bridge and waved to the I & M Canal as I did so, locked up my bike in front of Jitters, and fired up the laptop, a steaming mug of excellent java close at hand.

It is a particular privilege of an academic like myself to perform this series of tasks and call it “work.” Plus, I can take pleasure in supporting the local economy, and anticipate additional (free) exercise on my strenuous uphill ride back home later this morning.

On a related note, here’s an account of a much longer and circuitous bike ride I took to work here in Joliet from March 2012.

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