Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The tortoise and the hare

Patty (my commuter/hybrid) isn't exactly a tortoise, but she is slow-ish and green. So, for the sake of the goofy race our family held on Sunday afternoon, we'll call her The Tortoise. The role of The Hare will be played by the old Mercedes sedan.

It was a lovely day, and I like doing the shopping by bike on lovely days. But we needed a few things which are not terribly compatible with my current cargo set up (front basket). A gallon of milk and mega pack of trashbags and 20 lb bag of dog food were beyond me.

As I sat with the list, trying to figure out how I could divide it up for only what was needed immediately, to make the short list for a bike trip to Trader Joes, I heard
"If you don't want to go to the store, I can go for you."

"It's not that I don't want to go. I just don't want to take the car."

"So, don't take the car."

"But we need some big stuff. And Publix has some stockup type things on sale. And we're out of coffee. So I have to go to more than one store."
"So give me that list. I'll take the kids, and you go to Trader Joes."


"No. I'm lying. Give me the list. We'll be back in no time."
After a skeptical glance - I don't think he's been in the store with all the kids before - a light bulb pops up above my head.
"Wanna race?"

I gave him the list for one store, arranged by aisle. Scribbled my list on an index card, grabbed a light jacket and hopped on the bike, as everyone else climbed into the car.

Falling cherry blossom petals, clusters of wisteria, bright sunshine, blooming dogwoods, tire tracks in the yellow pollen - such a beautiful Spring ride.

Did the shopping. Got a little distracted in the dried fruit and nuts section. Couldn't find dates for granola, though I did find something new to me. Sweet apricot kernels, called "poor man's almonds" on the package. (Pretty good, even if I'm not quite over the feeling that I'm eating almonds which have maybe gone a bit off.) Sorted through the packs of strawberries for the freshest. Spent a few extra minutes perusing the flowers, to get the right color combo of daisies and lilies, with lilies which were just starting to open. As I waited in line, I realized I might be having too much fun. Didn't want to lose the race. (Nah. Didn't care. Was thoroughly enjoying the time.)

Rode home at my normal leisurely pace, sniffing the flowers at both traffic lights. Got to the driveway... nobody was there. Snapped photos, and sent with a "hah!" message to the competition. (Thought they'd appreciate knowing I'd taken their parking space in the carport.) They didn't get home for about 15-20 minutes. Something about long red lights, parking lots and shopping carts? I'd have paid attention, but was too busy doing a victory lap around the kitchen with the bouquet, showing off my already put away groceries.

2.5 miles @ 8-10 mph. Two bags & bouquet. 32 minutes, total.

1.5 miles @ 25-35 mph. Three bags. 51 minutes, total

No. I didn't actually win anything for being first. Will have to plan better next time we pull a silly challenge out of thin air.

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