Strive Beyond

Thinking, Working + Moving Beyond the Car

The Puzzle

Strive Not to DriveComment

Some days, most days, taking alt-transpo involves some form of puzzle. Depending on whether your day is going smooth or chunky, that puzzle could be tough enough to make a car seem pretty great. But you just have to shut that thought down and see it through, because that's where growth and improvement begins.

Consider a smooth day: everything goes according to plan, but even so, that plan is a couple levels more complex than your average car commuter's. Whether you're taking a bus that makes transfers, and you're mentally playing it all out to figure which bus to catch, or if you're biking in and looking ahead at the weather, your route, your gear, and supplies for the day, or maybe you're catching a carpool and accounting for your full day of needs without a car, in all cases the puzzle is real. The puzzle here is to basically imagine the path ahead, in enough realistic detail that you're not surprised later and left at odds. Surprisingly, this is a skill. The more you do it, the better you get and by imagining your day ahead you're setting yourself up for smooth days to go even more smoothly.


But for every week of smooth days, there's that chunky day. My Monday was a chunky day. I got to the basement to find my bike with two flat tires. But whereas a car with two flat tires means calling AAA for a tow, I got to work sorting out my puzzle and getting them fixed. My bike has what's called "tubeless" tires, meaning that instead of an innertube ther is a sticky sealant that plugs leaks from the inside (theoretically). It's pretty great stuff, in that tubeless tires have never left me stranded with a flat away from home. But today with two flats while at home, I figured I should take the hint and replace the sticky sealant so that I keep rolling with confidence. It's a messy job, but I left myself 30 minutes of padding before work, so LET'S DO THIS!


Flash to 30 minutes later, I'm inflating the second tire, and !PADDOW! the tire blows off the rim and the sticky sealant covers everything including my face and hair. Today... today is a chunky day and this puzzle just got trickier. I cleaned it all up, got back at it, and eventually got the bike rolling again. 

Just as I was about to head to work, I remembered that someone bought something from me on eBay (I've been selling bike parts to try to make money for a cargo bike) and I need to ship it today. Only problem, it's a long unwieldy package. Today's puzzle has an engineering challenge! So, I grab an extra bag and a bungee cord, and I figure the thing out.

Finally, I get on the road. The big honkin' package on the front of my ride gets me some sideways look and smiles from the line of people waiting for Cathead biscuits outside of Biscuithead, and I get the satisfaction of figuring out the morning's puzzle and moving along friction free, confident that the day is already getting better.