Ride a bike; see the world (or at least the city)

Pam LeBlanc poses in front of a mural in downtown Austin. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

Pam LeBlanc poses in front of a mural in downtown Austin. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

 

Today, you get a list. Specifically, a list of noteworthy things that I’ve seen or experienced lately on my bike commute.

Depending on the day, I pedal between 7 and 20 miles around Austin, getting to and from swim practice, work and interviews. Sometimes I have to take my car, because I need to get to faraway appointments. Still, for the last eight or nine years, I’ve averaged about four days a week on two wheels.

I used to think that would be hard. Then I tried it.

I get a lot out of it, too. I avoid gridlock traffic because on a bike, I’m always moving. I dash over creeks, watch for critters and listen for birds. I get to see buildings sprout downtown. I greet the hard-hat crew, lunch boxes in hand, as they march through city streets before dawn.

And without even trying, I get exercise. I like to think that keeps my legs looking cute. (Humor me, please.)

Sometimes, in the heat of July and August, I question my sanity when I’m grinding up Lamar Boulevard, but fresh spring mornings and crisp fall afternoons make up for the struggle.

Without further ado, my list:

  • Orangey-pink sunsets and sunrises.

    Pam LeBlanc rolling in wildflowers off of Bull Creek Road. Photo by Chris LeBlanc.

    Pam LeBlanc rolling in wildflowers off of Bull Creek Road. Photo by Chris LeBlanc.

  • Murals.
  • The biggest frog I’ve ever seen.
  • Thong guy, up close.
  • Crews rowing on Lady Bird Lake.
  • Construction workers reporting for duty.
  • Friends out for a run or walk.
  • Snakes, slithering across the hike-and-bike trail.
  • Wildflowers.
  • A yard filled with chickens.
  • Sometimes, the mayor or police chief.IMG_3886
  • A rat, sauntering across a downtown intersection.
  • Two weeks ago, a dive-bombing flying cockroach.
  • A squirrel, aiming for my spokes, then bouncing backward after impact.
  • Once, the presidential motorcade.
  • Nutrias, in Shoal Creek.
  • BMX bikes popping like popcorn at the Ninth Street bike park.
  • People living under bridges.
  • A polydactyl cat named Daedo.
  • A Mexican restaurant serving margaritas.
  • Neighbors driving their cars.

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