I’ve been thinking recently about my bike ride to work, mostly after listening to this awesome podcast a friend made about commuter biking. My sister-in-law is interviewed in it, and talks about how biking made her feel more integrated with her community, because of how she commonly experienced it with all of her senses. I was thinking about this on my own ride to work this morning, and pondering what my favorite sensations are during my commute. So here they are!
There are several groups of naturalized parrots that live along Brighton where I ride, and each morning they’re always flying overhead, cawing and squawking. It feels like riding through some kind of jungle. I also love hearing crows cawing and trilling, mostly because they sound so different from the crows back in Kentucky. At night on the ride home, I love listening to the chirping crickets, though it occasionally makes me homesick for the summer katydids back home.
The world smells wonderful right now because all the flowers are blooming, so that’s a bonus. However, I must admit that my favorite bike commute scents are on the way home from work, when I pass by the homes of families cooking dinner. I feel like I’m riding through invisible wafts of mid-preparation meal scents, and I always try and guess what’s for dinner tonight at this house or that. There’s one place in particular, and I haven’t pinpointed it, that seems to frequently cook over a wood fire. The downside is that I’m usually ravenous by the time I get home.
Burbank is a great place for a bike commute. You get that mild SoCal temperature most days and it’s blissfully flat. One day recently, though, I got caught in a mild rain on my ride home. I was surprised at how peaceful the experience was, and how gentle the rain was as it fell on my skin. I think that when in a car, even light rains can seem much more noisy and foreboding than they actually are when you are outside in them.
Most of my ride takes place on Brighton, which is a quiet neighborhood street one block over from Buena Vista. I love seeing all the different styles of houses and how they keep their gardens. My favorites are the ones with proper desert yards filled with pebbles and yucca and cacti. I’m also still delighted by the common sight of citrus trees in front yards, limbs heavy and drooping with ripe fruit. I really do live in a beautiful place.
So, has my bike commute made me feel more connected to my community? Maybe! It certainly has made me appreciate the beauty I get to experience every day, and what a lovely place Burbank can be.