Usually when I leave early it's because I'm trying to catch up from a long morning.
Tuesday around 11 a.m. I realized that the weather was turning. A miserable morning of wind, rain, and unscheduled meetings was breaking into a warm fall afternoon. I emailed my friend Pascal (he just bought a new Triumph) and we agreed to meet up for a quick ride. Over lunch, I ran into Matt (he's has a Honda 250 that he picked up from a MSP course) and that made three. Beating the afternoon commute, we were out of town on the back roads by 4. We managed 25 miles and were home before dark.
Riding back against the evening commute I realized how lucky I am to be able to slip away every now and then. Passing car after car as they head home I began to think about how great it would be to do this every day. To ride to work. I would have to exchange a 20 minute walk across campus for fifteen minutes of congested local traffic. I would be in line with them—eating their exhaust and waiting my turn at the traffic light. But the chance to ride on a moments notice if the weather shifts … very tempting.
My friend Steve lives out of town. He rides most days and has wonderful morning commutes with detours down back roads and country lanes. I'm pretty sure it adds a little time to the trip, but I doubt he minds. For him, every day has the possibility of a good ride, even when it's cold and miserable. You can catch his thoughts and his photographs at Scooter In the Sticks.
If I lived out, I'd be tempted do the same. Even get up earlier to log a few extra miles before work. But for now, I'll have to settle for knocking off early.