Pedal to the Mettle

I was chatting with Saugatucker about the merits of biking to the train recently. Sure, it’s a few minutes of misery on those 20 degree mornings. But we agreed there’s something about driving to the train that just feels like the ultimate suburban cliche…wait, the image of the angry commuter chipping ice off his windshield before driving to the train would be the ultimate suburban cliche.

Saugatucker carves almost three miles through the Westport terrain each morning on his bike, a much lengthier jaunt than mine. We mentioned the quiet delight we experience when seeing neighbors climb into their cars around the same time we set out on our bikes, both looking to make the same train, but only one of us having to navigate the labyrinthian misery of the commuter parking lot.

Of course, on those bleak wintry-mix mornings when I set out on foot, I’m all too happy to have those neighbors give my sorry ass a ride to the station.

So I was torn between walking to the train and riding the trusty steed this morning, with all the precipitation nonsense that fell yesterday. I was fearful of the dreaded black ice this morning, but also tired of all the walking to the station I’ve done of late due to all the snow. So I decided to set out a few minutes early and bike cautiously.

At the end of my driveway, I saw a neighbor climbing into the passenger seat of her car, with her husband at the wheel. Their kid was in tow too–heading to the city with mom due to winter break from school.

The roads were fine and I resumed my normal speed after descending Heartbreak Hill to Memorial Drive. I pulled into the station parking lot just as the stone-faced D was dropping off T and Little V–chalk another one up for the bike guys.

My morning momentum was short-lived, however, as the 8:16 was late. At 8:22, the loudspeaker crackled to life.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the 8:16 is running 10 to 15 minutes late,” it said.

Us platform pigeons performed a collective exhale to show Metro-North our displeasure, and sought refuge from the morning chill in the plexiglass shelter.

At 8:29, the 8:16 rolled in. No explanation for the delay was forthcoming, and the 8:16 pulled into Grand Central at 9:13, a full nine minutes late. That’s even late by Metro-North’s generous 5:59 rule, which says trains arriving up to six minutes late are, in fact, on time by the railroad’s standards. In fact, the latest issue of MNR mouthpiece Mileposts said the Harlem Line was “on time” 98.6% of the time in 2009–meaning us poor suckers on the so called “8:16” this morning were privy to something that only happens 1.4% of the time.

How special! Perhaps I was better off riding the bike to the city.  

This entry was posted in 5:59 Rule, 8:16, Bike Rack, Bike to Work, Mileposts, Saugatucker. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Pedal to the Mettle

  1. jerseyjim says:

    This makes me feel like crap. I too, was trying to decide between bike and car, and chose the car. Tomorrow, the bike!

    Last summer I contemplated getting a “city-bike”, a garage sale beach-beater, for my 9 block commute between Penn Station and my office. Thought further…Too dangerous.

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