First place, and crowing about it | AspenTimes.com

First place, and crowing about it

Stewart Oksenhorn

Stewart Oksenhorn celebrates the first-and-only day of his competitive cycling career. (Mark Fox/Aspen Times Weekly)

The nine minutes it took to ride from The Aspen Times to the Airport Business Center was not even enough time to count the ways that biking beats driving. (And certainly not enough to convey how grateful I am that I live in town and not forced into the car every day.)Nine minutes is quick; the version of “Dark Star” on my iPod was barely through the first verse by the time I had hit the finish line. And biking time goes even more quickly when you pass car after car, tallying single-occupancy vehicles (roughly half) and what it would cost local governments to stockpile beater bikes at the old intercept lot for commuters to ride into town (not so much that it isn’t worth a try. After all, it couldn’t be as much as it cost to build the damn lot, which hasn’t proved to be worth a lick.)

These are the reasons why biking beats driving that I came up with during the ride:1. Personal finances. Gas at the Conoco across the street is so high-priced that they don’t even have a big sign to tell you the cost. ($3.79 for regular, and I had to drag my ass across the street to find out.) Air for my bike tires at the same station, however, is free.2. Environmental. Go see “An Inconvenient Truth,” then get in a car and see if you don’t start calculating how long it will be before the Rocky Mountains are under water. Or turn into a desert.3. Fun. Sitting in traffic ranks right near the top among things you don’t want to do. Even above going to prison. (The official word is that Ken Lay died not to avoid prison, but to avoid downvalley traffic after leaving Aspen Valley Hospital.)

Here are the additional reasons I came up with while sitting at the ABC, waiting for my driving, busing and walking colleagues.1. Exercise. A co-worker said something favorable about my legs recently, the first compliment I’ve had on my looks since I was in diapers. I chalk it up to the fact that I bike virtually everywhere. Pressing the car accelerator and brake may cause tendentious of the metatarsals, spreading of the buttocks, diarrhea, amenorrhoea and impotence.2. Music sounds better through an iPod than a car stereo.

3. Getting to crow, “I’m part of the solution, not part of the problem!”Finally, here are the additional reasons I came up with while riding back into town, while several of my opponents were still on their way to the ABC. (Never mind that I was fighting a hellacious headwind, and wishing I was in a car.)1. Political. Every time you fill up your gas tank, it means the guys we’re fighting in those wars are winning.2. You build up an appetite and burn calories, so you can eat more of those frozen ice things everyone at The Aspen Times is addicted to.3. Imagining you’re Charlie Tarver.