Friday, December 14, 2012

What I Want for Christmas

All dressed up for Christmas
My husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and, without thinking, I said “a safe route to ride my bike to work.”

I live 5 miles from where I work at Clemson University. The route is direct, a little hilly and is at that right distance where I get a nice, little workout in during my commute. I love it.

But, I also loathe it. The road is full of fast-moving traffic, debris, aging pavement and is not for the light-hearted. I would be lying if I said that I don’t get scared sometimes or haven’t shaken my fist and said a few profanities when cars drive too close. For over half of my commute, there’s no bike lane so I get to share the road with traffic that sometimes passes me at 50 mph. 

About 80% of the passing traffic gives me wide berth, most sliding over to the far left lane. But when the traffic is moving or there’s a lot of it, I feel my heart rate increase and my breathing gets heavy – my body is reacting to stress and there’s a slight shift into fight or flight mode. 

When asked what I want for Christmas, there’s no thought about the latest gadget or the newest fashion trend. I’ve got what I need when it comes to personal items. What I want for Christmas is simple, yet so far from reality it sounds like the old cliché of “world peace.” But I’m not asking for the world. I’m only asking for one, simple thing:  a safe route to bike to work.

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