Spin Viddy

adventures in biking and commuting…

Commuting By Bike: v1.0

If you didn’t already know, I am a daily bicycle commuter.  I tend to commute by bicycle year around except when weather dictates that it would be unsafe.

Typically my day begins before sunrise, I tend to ride about 3 miles from my home to the nearby train station where I catch the MAX light rail.  This is why you see the occasional video clips that I post to entertain myself.  when it’s that early in the morning there is not much to entertain me while I am waiting for the train.  When I am feeling motivated I will just ride the entire 7 miles from home to work.  The main reason I utilize public transportation for part of my daily commute is the fact that part of the route into work includes some stretches of road that are not well lit and I have suffered many a punctured tube or shredded tire due to hitting debris that I was not able to see quickly enough to avoid.

On the flip side, I generally try to ride my bicycle all the way home from work because traffic is light and riding is a great way to relieve stress.

I do not own a car and for the most part I do not miss having a car and I certainly do not miss being stuck in traffic.  My choice to go car free was not motivated by liberal environmentalism or a belief in living a green lifestyle.  No, I am the first to admit that over the years I was starting to develop the symptoms of road rage and luckily I was able to realize what was happening before I did anything stupid.  Giving up the car in favor of a bicycle was not a difficult task for me as I have been cycling since I was a young child and once I realized that the majority of things I need to accomplish on a daily basis do not require a motorized vehicle, well, I was hooked.

What amazed me the most, and still amazes me is the fact that the time it takes me to ride my bicycle to work is the same amount of time it takes to drive and when the traffic is heavy it is actually quicker to commute by bicycle.  The same when it comes to the quick trip to the grocery store or local shops.  Plus, parking is much faster and easier on a bicycle.  You never find yourself prowling the parking lot on a bike looking for the space closest to the entrance.  In all reality the only drawback to not having a car is when it comes to traveling out of town.  I live in the Portland area and the Oregon coast is a mere 90 minutes from here so obviously a last minute trip to the coast is not possible.  Although, on one single occasion about 4 years ago, I did bike from here to Seaside, Oregon and it only took me about 10 1/2 hours.  Not bad.

Now to get back to the topic of bicycle commuting.

The mostly frequently asked question I get besides the obvious, why do you do it, is in regards to riding in inclement weather.  You’d be surprised at the numerous accessories that are on the market to help make riding your bike in less than ideal weather more bearable.  I live in Oregon so obviously rain is a huge factor and something that every local cyclist needs to keep in mind throughout the year.  Personally, I have a set of fenders that I can easily put on and take off as needed as well as a waterproof jacket, pants and shoe covers.  When the weather starts to cool I have some toasty thermal tops and bottoms to keep me warm.  As for actually riding in the rain, most people do not realize that due to the narrow width of a bicycle tire, you cannot hydroplane on a bicycle.  The biggest threat other than a car not seeing you is riding over a slick surface like wet train tracks or the drain covers in the road.  I have always felt refreshed after biking in the rain, even during a heavy downpour.  Other than rain, I have also ridden in snow, slush and ice.  Yes, ice.  Again, depending on the conditions, it is pretty easy to configure your bicycle to handle all sorts of bad weather.

Personally, I love bicycling and bicycles and I try to avoid being that guy who is always preaching about carbon footprints and cutting back on oil dependency so let me just say that if the opportunity arises and you feel up to the challenge by all means, commute by bike.

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May 26, 2009 - Posted by | Bicycle, Commuting, Culture, Public Transportation, Tri-Met, Writing | , , , ,

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