Monday, October 02, 2006


Back in the day, I used to ride to work in Phoenix. It was a strange and hostile place to be a bike commuter. Motorists sometimes tried to run me off the road. During summer, the pavement was hot enough to cause third-degree burns, so my biggest fear wasn’t being hit by a car, it was being too badly injured to get up.

And the company where I worked wasn’t in the greatest part of town. A couple of times, I looked down in time to see discarded syringes—with needles still attached—in time to hop over or steer around them. Some neighborhoods along my route were covered with gang-related graffiti. I couldn’t fully decipher it, but the general message seemed to be, “This is our block, esse. Keep moving or we’ll fuck you up.”

The place had a hard, unfriendly edge that I actually managed to enjoy, in a strange way. For a while, at least. When the time came to move somewhere else, I was happy to go.

I was thinking about that experience this week when I came across this sign that was recently posted on a tree along the bike path I ride on my way to work. This is the same path where I watch salmon run upstream every summer and where I’ve locked up my brakes to avoid slamming into large moose.

At first, I was annoyed to see a bright yellow-and-orange sign nailed to a tree. Then I recognized it as a reminder of what a nice ride I enjoy every day I pedal to my office.

How many people live in their state's largest city, and still have the option of fishing for rainbows on their way to work?

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