Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Adding to the clan

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

A few weeks ago, my wife and I invested in a toy, mainly for me. You read about it a couple of posts ago – Shaggy/Mater, the family truck. Mater’s been good to us so far. He’s taken me where I needed to go and has hauled some light stuff that I just didn’t want to fit in the back of the Jeep. I’ve learned how to properly wake him up in the morning to make sure we can get out of the driveway without incident. If you wake him up too quickly, he tends to be cantankerous and shows it by shutting down in the middle of the intersection near the house. You’ve got to wake him up gingerly and scratch him behind the ears for a few minutes, then he’ll be ready to go for the rest of the day.

The only problem is that Mater is a gas hog. As you well know, gas prices have skyrocketed and hit an all-time high. This doesn’t mix well with a vehicle that tops out at 11 miles per gallon on the highway. I, of course, had to buy a truck that has the biggest engine Ford was putting in its commercial vehicles at the time. Fuel conservation apparently wasn’t such a big thing in 1986.

Suffice it to say, Mater is a good vehicle and we don’t plan on getting rid of him any time soon. We will still drive Mater quite a bit and use him to haul things around, but in an effort to do my part to conserve fuel and finances, meet ….. “Lightning.”

Lightning is a simple, stripped down, nothing fancy two-wheeled mode of transportation with a 1 human-power engine. Lightning goes 0-to-60 only in a 60-mile per hour wind on a downhill grade. Lightning probably tops out around 20 miles per hour, but averages closer to 10. Fuel economy, however, is unbeatable.

Of course, with the style of bicycle, I feel like I should be tooling around leisurely on a cobblestone path in a small European village. The handlebars are high enough that I can sit up straight and it is a simple, single-speed machine on a lightweight, aluminum frame. No frills. If I was still single and trying to pick up chicks, I wouldn’t be caught dead on a bicycle like this. But … I don’t have to impress anybody, so I’ll just hop on my silent hog and ride.

Not only is it fuel efficient, but it is good exercise and can be moderately therapeutic. I highly recommend it. Lightning and I made our first trip to the office together today where co-workers marveled at the shiny new vehicle parked in the breakroom. They kicked the wide, white-walled tires, buffed the paint and admired the ergonomically designed seat.

Yup, Lightning made quite and impression. It's safe to say he and I will be spending a lot of time together over the next few months as we traipse back and forth from home to work, to the post office, the store and maybe even out to eat every once in awhile.

Mater's a little jealous because Lightning actually gets to stay in the garage, but he'll get over it. Afterall, he knows that this is what's best for all of us involved. Mater will get to exercise his muscles on occasion and Lightning will become a valuable member of the family. Afterall, a little exercise might do me some good as well.

See you on the bike path.

... And with the wind at your back, may all your rides be downhill.


SpookyRach said...

Damn, I am jealous. Seriously.

I need a lightning. I hate my bike. Specially now that someone ran over the front tire and it is twisted into a pretzel shape.

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

Your silent hog. *giggles*

I am seriously thinking about breaking out Bebo's bike.

Carolanne said...

Well I've been riding/walking to "work" for the last 2 weeks. Never thought of calling my bike "lightning" though but maybe cause it's teal coloured - not red. I liked your last sentence and fully concur with it:

And with the wind at your back, may all your rides be downhill.

I only wish it was all downhill but guess I'd have to come home uphill that way. So how do you carry stuff to the office? I have a bag on my back but try to keep it as light as possible. How far is your work away from home?

jonboy said...

Carolanne ... uhm, my house is only three blocks from the office, so it's no real sacrifice for me to ride to work. But the other day I rode to a softball game which was halfway across town.

Patti said...

What a good idea!