1. I have ridden my bike in sub zero weather several times now. First Surprise: how warm you get peddling a bike. Second Surprise: the fraternity with other winter commuters, when we pass we offer a "may the force be with you" wave. Third Surprise: wind has the amazing ability to find the slightest sliver of an opening.
2. The Bus is my friend. My new rule of thumb: if school is cancelled due to extreme cold then I will take the bus. I have taken the bus on three occasions. I have a pretty good read now on necessary bus routes, transfers, and the like. I have missed the bus on two occasions, throwing my timing off for the rest of the day. I have had to run to catch the bus, throwing my breathing off for a good piece. And I have gotten to know a bus driver.
3. Myths dispelled. Many times I have heard callous folk refer to the poor as lazy. Here is my response: You try standing in sub zero temps (possibly with inadequate clothing) and tell me that it is easy. And you try standing, completely vulnerable, at bus stops waiting for a bus and tell me how easy that is! My respect for the determination and toughness for the working poor who take the bus to work has greatly increased!
4. Community. It occurred to me the other day that I could not attempt this experiment without the support and grace of the community I have in the Judson Memorial Baptist Church. They not only encourage me, but also offer help upon help.
5. Style. If one were to peruse my wardrobe and closely inspect my suits, all from Always-on-Sale-About-to-Be-the-Subject-of-a-Hostile-Takeover-by-a-Competitor, you would notice that they are getting near threadbare status (a little hyperbole there, but not as much as usual). Which brings a certain decision to be made in the near future: invest in more suits or invest in clergy shirts? I think I am going back to clergy shirts. Not black but blue? Why blue? Baptist = Water = Blue, according to my reasoning. I'm also curious what, if any, conversations emerge on the bus or on the street when I go back to wearing a clergy shirt, fair trade clergy shirts that is. (I originally wore them because of the large Catholic presence in RI, when I wore a clergy shirt to the hospital I felt like Moses: doors opened, people smiled, and no one questioned my presence). The shirt also reenforces my desire for a "public ministry" as a pastor.
6. Finally, Bling. My bike needs a slogan. I am in the process of rebuilding an old bike for my commuter bike but it will not be ready until spring. In the meantime I keeping my Breezer (an older model they dont make any longer). I am likening my bike to Pete Seeger's banjo. Any ideas?