On bicycle lanes and rain
Have you heard of Citi Bike? It's a program in New York City where you can borrow bicycles for short periods at a time to move to any Citi Bike station for a relatively low cost. Too good to be true? We've had such a system in Mexico City since 2006 or so, called Ecobici. I'm fortunate enough to have bike stations near my house and my job, so I can go between them without most hassles associated with traditional public transport services. Mostly, the advantage that it's never crowded, sometimes is faster than the bus and i get to do two half-hour small workouts every day. Sweet!
To give you some context: the bus I would take to get to and from my job costs 6 pesos per trip, which amounts to 12 pesos a day, 60 pesos a week. My annual membership of Ecobici costs 400 pesos with unlimited rides as long as a single trip doesn't last more than 45 minutes. So, even if we don't count the weekend rides I take to unwind and go to fancy parks and cafés, my annual membership costs the same as 7 weeks of daily public transport. It's a steal
However, rain is one of the few reasons that can stop me from riding my bike now. When I was ready to get out this morning it was already raining, just enough to soak anyone who spent 3 minutes under the rain. "So I guess it's the bus today" I told myself. Big mistake, Andy.
It's been weeks since I last used cash. By the time I got to the bus stop, I realized I was $1.50 short of my fare. When the bus arrived I tried the old trick of going first so that the driver will be more focused on the passengers getting on than on the fare being paid. Unfortunately, he did pay attention. When he confronted me I told him I hadn't change to pay the exact fare. He was about to shout when the woman behind me yelled: "Oh, but when I don't have anything but a $10 pesos coin and I overpay because you don't give change, you never complain, right?", and then deposited a $10 pesos coin in the slot.
The driver tried to say something, but nothing came out of his mouth. We all saw this lady with respect for saying out loud what many of us have only thought. There was no applause from the crowd, I didn't even said "thanks" because it's against the rules to be that cheerful in a crowded bus at 8 AM when half the passengers are already late. She's my heroine.
On my way back home
6PM, time to go home, except that it's raining and I don't want to get soaked and I'm not in the mood for another round in a crowded bus. I leave when the rain stops, at 6.45 and head directly for the bike station at Champs Élysées and Moliere, which is usually empty at this hour because everyone around here closes at the same hour. To my surprise, the station is almost full and there's nobody around except for two other girls and a guy.
Each one of us takes a bike and slowly starts the usual preparations. Strap your backpack to the bike, put on headphones (even if headphones are technically against the law), put on a helmet, adjust the seat's height and ride on. I put on my "hyped up" playlist on shuffle and I get Iron Maiden in return. Awesome
Shortly before Fear of the Dark's solo ends, I get to the first red light and stop. I finish the solo on my Air Guitar and then I notice that the two girls were right beside me, giggling. I didn't mind, living in a big city helps you understand that you shouldn't care what other people will think of you, specially if you may never see them again. I finished the solo and we get the green light. I bike away.
The next songs were I saw her standing there, a remix of Final Fantasy's victory fanfare and Prisoner of Society. By then, I was only 6 blocks or so from my destination, when I stop at another red light and notice the same two girls beside me, watching me do more Guitar Hero-like movements. I smile at them and one of them asks me: "Do you know where Havre (street) is?" -- "You just missed it, two stoplights back" -- "Thanks!"
I put on my headphones again but I don't press play immediately. Just before I pedal away, the girl says to her friend: "I told you, you should've asked him before"
I think I may have been a distraction for two girls. Doesn't matter, had air guitar.