Of Writing and Cycling and the Internet

The mind thinks strange things when it wakes up, unprompted, at 5 a.m. Random things. Unconnected things. Starting with “Why on earth am I up at 5 a.m. when I don’t have to be up at 5 a.m.???”

That’s why a blog is great. If writing is your outlet, you can write stuff like this, that’s totally divorced from the topic of the website itself—in this case, cycling.

Back in my days as a newspaper reporter and later a magazine editor, I’d have the chance to write opinion pieces pretty regularly. Some newspaper and magazine writers still do, but they’re far fewer than in the days of yore.

We don’t have many newspapers anymore, thanks to this Internet thingy you’re on right now. Craigslist and banner ads and company websites replaced the classified listings and display ads that were the primary revenue drivers for newspapers. Lots of journalists bemoaned the loss of their livelihoods.

Blind Luck

I never did, because I moved into IT (information technology) journalism just before the roof caved in on newspapers. I didn’t know it at the time, but the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. IT was taking off in a stunning new way with the advent of the Internet. It was one of the few growth areas in journalism.

Thanks to that serendipitous development, I was one of the early fulltime telecommuters as well. I’ve worked from a home office since 2000. It’s the perfect setup for me. As an introvert, I like my alone time, and as a writer, I need my alone time to concentrate.

It also means the Great Pandemic has affected my life very little. I don’t go out much. I never had to get used to working from home, and all that such an arrangement entailed. Didn’t have to get used to the kids being around, or video meetings over the Internet. I’ve been using Zoom for years—it wasn’t a new discovery for me.

I like working from home. I prefer the solitude. I also like writing whatever the heck I want, and a blog circumvents editors telling you what you should write and not write, or how short or long to write. There is the slight drawback of not getting paid to write this kind of stuff, but you can’t have everything.

Freedom to Ride

There is a cycling angle, even here. Fulltime work-from-home provides a freedom to ride that an office job doesn’t. As long as I put my hours in at work (and they can be long hours at my job), and it doesn’t interfere with my meetings and deadlines, I can grab my bike, or head down to the basement, and get a ride in pretty much anytime.

This is useful because I prefer to ride in full daylight, and on lightly-traveled roads. I often ride over my lunch break, or mid-to-late morning. My body seems to prefer earlier rides to later ones.

But if I had a job I had to commute to, then work 8 hours, then commute back, my time would be much more severely limited. I’d be riding at night, which is more dangerous, or at rush hour, when there’s a lot of traffic around, which is a lot more dangerous. Or early in the morning when my mind is groggy and getting on a bike just doesn’t thrill my toes.

For my mid-morning or lunch rides, I can ride for an hour or two and see only a handful of cars. It’s like I have the road to myself. It’s awesome. That kind of flexibility, for me, is priceless.

So how did this post end up being about cycling after all?

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