Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'm "one of them"

We've moved. I love my new job, I love the Lexington area, and I love the people. So far this has been a wonderful move for me and my family. I anticipate that it will remain a good move, but I have not been in the least bit disappointed.

OK, I've been a little disappointed, but it all revolves around my cycling. I have a great commute through some of the most spectacular scenery you could imagine, but I have only done it once in the last two weeks. I've had pretty good excuses most of the time. I drove on my first day because it was the first day and my family proceeded to tour the city while I was at work. I drove on the second day because my dad had a flight and he refused to ride with his luggage on my handlebars.

Wednesday and Thursday of last week was cold and snowy. I don't mind riding in the cold and snow, but not on unfamiliar roads. This week has either been really cold or I started early. If I'm supposed to be at work at 6 and it takes an hour and a half to ride it and I like to give myself a little extra time in case I get a flat or something. Suddenly I was going to have to wake up while the first number on the clock was a 3. I'm a morning person, but that's too early.

I've also struggled with logistics. There are no lockers at work that can be used overnight. That means that I have to pack everything in and out of work in my bag which is doable, but inconvenient. I don't like walking through buildings in my cycling shoes because I'm afraid they're going to eat up the flooring (or I'm going to fall on my butt and look like an idiot).

Today I decided it was too cold because I have been unable to find my cycling glasses with the clear lenses. With the temperature in the single digits, it's a recipe for frostbite, so that's a bad idea.

I've become a car commuter, "one of them". I'm unworthy of this blog and the title that it carries. I'm trying to change my ways, but I've become a car commuter with an excuse for every situation. I'm ashamed.

To make matters worse, as we look at houses I have been considering a permanent motorized commute. My wife and I have both dreamed of a house with a little land where we could have chickens, maybe a goat and a large garden that would provide much of our family's food. We can afford the house and land in the area, but it would be 20-25 miles from my work. If I'm going to have a garden, chickens, a goat and still see my family, I can't commute 3-4 hours a day by bike.

20-25 miles on a motorcycle or in an economy car could allow us to have our little piece of land that we've wanted. Then there's the thing with sprawl. I've taken urban planning and I understand principles of development and land management. Moving a little out of town for lower house prices and more room has been the downfall of MANY big cities in the US. I'm looking to be "one of them", part of the problem that I recognize and that is so preventable.

There are some smaller communities around here where we may be able to find a house on a little land that is within walking distance to what we need, within riding distance to work and still within our price range. My fear is that it will take four years to find that house and prices will have gone back up and interest rates will be approaching 10% so that we can't afford anything (I don't really think that housing prices or interest rates will go up that fast, but anything is possible in this economic climate).

I'm torn between what I really believe to be the way the world should be and what I want. Someone once asked me how I don't want things. I think that will be my next post. Either that or I'll find some pictures to post. I've been intending to do that for some time now.


Phil said...

Is there really no where within 5 miles of your job that meets your housing criteria? When we moved, a lot of people talked about how bad the schools are and how we should live in this area that was 30 miles from my work, but instead I got a place within walking distance. The commute lets me spend more time with family at the expense of land, and it turns out the schools are not as bad as everyone thought.

cyclingred said...

I used to be all about having a little land. As I have gotten older I decided it is really not practical and for most of us is not the most environmentally friendly way to be.

Your biking situation is difficult. I used to bike 20 miles one way and I was much younger. it was very hard on me day in day out. It left very little time or energy for the family.

I would recommend you find a place close to work and a small yard. You can do a lot with gardening in a small area. It is possible to even have some animals like rabbits and sometimes bees.

Another point to consider about driving and where you live. I know you came from Utah. Are you part of the dominant culture there? If you are, then you also need to consider that and your driving. There is an inordinate amount of time taken up in driving to and from activities.

Get close to work and see how creative you can be about producing your own produce. Check out John Jeavins. I don't know if his stuff is still around but many years ago he was the man when it came to producing lots on very small gardens.

The Woulfes said...

my two cents: get the land. You can ride 1 or two days a week and get a scooter or something similar that gets 60 mpg. That's like 3 gallons of gas a week.

Just as long as you don't get a Suburban!

About lockers, my work has a similar "Nothing left overnight" policy. But, once i got settled in and developed a relationship with the people in charge, I asked about it and that had no problem designating me a locker to keep my shoes and soap in. Maybe it could work for you as well.