Tuesday, June 22, 2010

the interurban jihad

I got out and biked the Interurban Trail for a little while this afternoon, while the sun was shining and the weather was warm.

Not all of the trail is as pretty as this, but a great deal of it is. Neither is the trail unbroken, as it sometimes gives way to less-traveled city streets. The section pictured here shows a spot where the trail resumes after such an interruption, as indicated by the bollards set up to block would-be delinquent autos.

I'm living just six blocks east of where the trail forms the western margin of Washelli Cemetery, where my parents' ashes lie next to the traffic whizzing by on Dear Old 99. Today I went from my apartment building on 112th up to 145th Street, 39 blocks altogether. Between 128th and 145th Linden Avenue substitutes for the trail, and even though it's not heavily traveled, sharing the road with cars is something of an annoyance after not having to deal with them. The bikes are probably an annoyance for the drivers as well.

Linden isn't real scenic. It runs just a block off Highway 99, known as Aurora Avenue in these parts, past businesses and the backs of strip malls and machine shops, a very large block of apartment buildings, and a ramshackle, pea-green building that looks like it was once a motel which somebody bought and is now renting as tiny apartments for the less than affluent.

I didn't precisely time it today, but I think travel time biking the trail is about a minute per block. It was about half an hour each way today. (A younger person in better condition than me could probably make that in a lot less time.) The Shoreline YMCA where I'll be teaching a yoga class next month is another 47 blocks north of 145th on the Interurban Trail at 192nd, or 80 blocks altogether from my house. So I figure an hour and a half to get there from here, just to be safe.

Even though I haven't done hours and hours of riding so far, it's already getting easier, and I have a feeling I'll depend on the bike more and more going into the future. I hope to toughen up enough to do some riding in the winter. I noticed this morning when I drove the 20 miles to Normandy Park to teach my Tuesday class that I've used almost no gasoline since last Thursday, when I filled up on the way home from Portland.

This is my jihad against the oil companies, and a very soft and gentle sort of jihad it is, but one that will bring them down if we can recruit enough convinced believers to the path, or in this case, the trail. So eschewing pussyfooting, I declare a jihad against them, BP and all the rest of Satan's agents, and furthermore, pronounce a fatwa against them. They're probably so used to jihads and fatwas, and don't feel particularly threatened by my little contribution, but every little bit helps.


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Joe said...

I wonder if me telling my newer computer to simply tell me what that link is but not go to it ruined it when it actually went to it.

On the topic, it is great to almost never to have to feel legitimate guilt by taking a car to a gas station.