Confession time

Used to be, I'd walk into a room for a business meeting and get a look or two as I stripped off my helmet and bike gloves and dug my notebook out of the pannier bag serving as my briefcase. I'd guess I was viewed as a trifle ... eccentric for riding my bike to a Chamber of Commerce event.

That was about two years ago, when I completed my shift from "I bike to work once in a while," to "I bike to work pretty often," to "I'm a bike commuter." That's when I started showing up everywhere with my bike gear: at meetings in the Valley, early morning or lunchtime downtown, after work at the Davenport.

Along the way as I evolved or mutated or whatever it was, something else changed--and I'm not just talking about the $4/gallon gas. It's the attitude.

Now, when I walk into one of those dark-suit meetings with my helmet and pannier, people confess.

"I would love to bike commute, but I live clear up by the Rocket Market" (about 3-1/2 miles from the core of downtown).

"I've been meaning to start--I just need a good bike." (might I suggest North Division Bike Shop, Two Wheel Transit, Fitness Fanatics, any of the 4 Wheel Sport shops, Spoke & Sport, Cycle Sports....)

"I wish I could bike commute like you."

"I almost took the bus."

I imagine this is what it feels like to wear obvious symbols of religious authority. People confess, they seek absolution and forgiveness, they're ready to do penance, they're laden with guilt.

Like those religious figures, I suppose, I'm a visible reminder that it is possible to make a different choice.

Bike commuting. It's good for the soul. And you can sleep in on weekends.

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