Monday, July 28, 2008

Change Is Good.

What a mind shattering thing! My work announced shuttle buses last week that go from the city where I live to my office. This is so cool. I'm going to save HUNDREDS of dollars in gas, maintenance, and insurance (now that my miles have gone done). However, this totally throws a wrench into my cycling routine.

I'm not a recreational cyclist. I'm a commuter who loves cycling. I have a very hard time going on a "ride". In my mind I can't get over that I'm not going anywhere. I'm just going in some big circle. There is no point to it in my mind. People can give me great reasons to ride and I can think of some myself, but I can never convince my brain. I hope I can change this, but so far no good.

So a big thing thing in my life was my driving part way to work and cycling the rest of the way. I was doing about 17 miles round-trip. I had a safe park and ride to park in all day for free. I had a great route through some trees with a wide generous bike lane. I had a really good time and I was getting better at cycling. I was feeling really good about myself too.

However, with the money I'm saving from the shuttle and extra time I have to get some more work done on the commute (we have wifi!), it's like for me to bike to work, I'd be paying to ride. That's just money out of my wallet. I can't do that right now. So, my park and ride days are numbered for now.

This puts a two options on the table for me now. My first thought was to bring my bike to work (which I do anyway) and map out a local ride near the office. Ride in the morning before work. This is a pretty good idea. In fact I'm going to actually try it in blatant disregard to my brain saying it's just a big circle and what's the point.

There is a catch here tho. The more I ride, the more I want a new bike. However, the bus doesn't have bike racks. It's basically a big Greyhound bus. You have to stow your bike underneath and just let it roll around anyway it wants to. If there are other bikes in the hold, then well, they're going to hit against each other. Since most new bikes have carbon fiber all over them (my new carbon fiber seat post mentioned over and over again that if you breath on it funny you need to see your local bike shop and have them inspect it) I'm guessing having your carbon bike hit up and rub against other bikes for 35 miles each way isn't a great idea.

Ok, so maybe no new bike. But wait, it's the second option on the table! My commute to the bus station is only like 5 miles each way. I could still get a new bike! I mean if a new bike was what I really wanted. I could get a single speed! Robot keeps telling me about his bike and there is something very pure sounding about it. Plus, no gears and derailleurs go get bent up in the bus's hold. I dunno. I'm not like swimming in dough right now, but I like the idea!

Honestly, I think what all this blathering on is about, is that when you don't have an optimal ride to work, be it distance or bike friendly streets, you're forced to come up with creative ways to make bike commuting work. I could just drive to the bus station each day. I could easily park my car there, but that wouldn't feel right. I want to bike. I want to not use a car. I want to get that exercise. Mostly I want to feel the world go rushing by as I pedal faster and faster. I want to have the bike in my daily life. I think I need to have the bike in my daily life. So I'm taking these changes in stride and I'm going to try to find some bike goodness in them. I'll even try to share what I learn.

1 comment:

Da Robot said...

Well, I see two good options, and one pretty good option. The first option is for you to ride all 35 miles to work and forget the bus altogether. Yes, it will take you more time, but 70 miles of riding (maybe even just twice a week) will scratch your itch and put you in great shape.

The second option is to get a decent single speed ($700 tops) and just ride to the bus station EVERY day. That's 10 miles a day or 50 a week, not a lot but pretty acceptable. Once you have this single-speed, you'll be totally jazzed and start using it to get to the grocery store and to the cafe and every where else you go on your own. This is what's known as having a cycling "lifestyle."

The third option is to go on those "rides" you talk about, but like you, I can really never make time for them. It's not that I don't want to, it's that I can't justify the time expenditure for non-goal-oriented travel. I need to be getting something done with ALL my time. I've got kids fer chrissakes, baby robots, who need my time.

And you do too.