Bike commute

Today my hippie leanings came closer to full circle when I commuted to work on my bicycle. I thought about it a week or so ago when the cycling club at work was trying to attract interest in a charity ride and Bike to Work Day, which is next Friday the 16th. I figured it sounded like a good idea, what with my wish to lose the perpetual five extra pounds, my tree hugging (spewing fewer diesel fumes daily has to be a good idea, no matter how efficient my fuel mileage may be), and what the heck, why not set an example for other drivers who are feeling the fuel price pinch? It hasn’t hurt me yet, but I might need this backup transportation someday. Also I saw what I guess was a muskrat, which has to be a good sign for the day. Or something.

I happen to live at one end of an underused greenway (and parkway) that follows a meandering creek. The greenway and parkway are inefficient for cars with all the creek-following, but it makes for a pretty ride and the lack of cars is great for biking on the road. One does risk serious corporeal damage on the divided highway that makes up the rest of the route after the greenway ends (if Indianapolis would just finish the planned greenways I’d have one all the way to work, but I’m not holding my breath on that one), so on the advice of another bike commuter who has taken this route for years (and who was hit by a car last month), I just took the sidewalk in that area. The highway goes to the city dumps, industrial areas, and the airport, and there is so much debris-dropping large truck traffic that it’s the one area I’m uncomfortable taking the pavement. No one was on the sidewalks so it all worked out. Hey Indy, how about some bike lanes on Raymond?

I waited for a few lights and had to navigate security gates at work, but other than that it was a direct route of about seven miles. I predicted the one rude/dangerous thing a car did, turning in front of me with no signal, and I didn’t need my pepper spray for any dogs or thugs, so I’d say it was a success. I was in the showers at work within 45 minutes of leaving home.

Of course now I’m thinking of all the doodads I would like to buy for my bike, a Gary Fisher I purchased several years ago but I haven’t mountain biked in the last few years. I’ll probably go for Kevlar-belted commuter tires rather than the knobby ones I currently have, panniers to replace my backpack, and I need to finally learn how to change a flat. I had all the stuff to do it but now the tire levers are missing and I never have had a flat for practical experience. Would my roadside assistance come? They say as long as I have my cell phone I can be in any vehicle…

Bike to Work Day (and bike month) is observed all over the country. Indy has events planned for next Friday. Will I see any of you on Monument Circle for breakfast in spandex?

Michiana readers: your bike to work week is June 2-6 because you are pussies about May weather.

4 thoughts on “Bike commute

  1. I’m already planning a live shot for the show for Bike to Work Week because of a very successful one last year. We ended the show on our reporter and the Mayor of South Bend tooling around on a tandem bike. It was hilarious.

  2. Good for you, Amy! I think it would be great to bike to work, but I would 1) have to get in much better shape than I am now to make it 12 miles or 2) leave the house at 5 in the morning to make it here on time. Also, I think we only have one shower in the building here (unless you count the emergency showers in the lab?), and the roads I’d have to ride on aren’t very bicycle friendly — either really busy or are narrow country roads. My goal is to eventually move to where I can walk to more places I need to frequent, and the part of town I live in just isn’t going to be that way.

  3. Some people drive part way and then bike the rest of the way. That saves time and energy, but still gives the benefits of exercise, fuel savings, etc. I learned a lot about choosing routes just by reading some online forums and resources–I was nervous about riding on the roads and was pleasantly surprised to find a good route.

    If you drove to an easy location with a good route the rest of the way, you could totally try it!

  4. Hi. Please join the Bicycle to Work! LinkedIn networking group. Members pledge that they will try to ride their bicycle to work or on an errand at least once a week. Although the benefits should be obvious, let me outline them here.

    Right now people in the industrialized world are facing two very grave problems: obesity and a growing scarcity of oil. Compounding this problem is the new food shortage brought about, in part, by the conversion of food cropland to bio-fuel crop production. Most people feel powerless to help, but there is one thing that we can do. Ride our bicycles to work.

    If everyone would agree to ride their bikes to work one day per week we could cut oil consumption by as much as 10-15%. No one would argue that riding a bike burns more calories than driving the car. Although popular politically right now, most bio-fuels consume more energy than they produce. We would be much better to eat those bio-crops then use our own energy to transport us around.

    So spread the word. Make it a movement! Bicycle to work one day a week and do your part to cut back obesity and the overuse of oil and precious cropland.

    Just go to my profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreylstevenson and you can click on the group to be included. While you are there, don’t forget to ask to link to my network of more than 8,000,000 like-minded professionals. I accept all invitations and look forward to meeting you.

    Jeff

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