Saturday, August 6, 2011

Biking to work

A few months ago I bought a nice new bike for myself for my birthday.  The price of gas was through the roof at that point and I had been reading lots about  carless lifestyles.  I haven't been riding much, just the occasional trip around the neighborhood and rides with friends.  Well, sometimes random things happen to your plans...Thursday night, as I was driving over to a friend's house after work my car died.  Just died.  In the middle of a turn, in the middle of the street.  After three lovely ladies (no men stopped) helped me push it into the grass I made some frantic calls to get things figured out.  Fortunately, I have a great mechanic and he arranged for it to be towed to his shop.  My son came to pick me up and all was well for the evening.

The next day, however, was going to be a challenge.  Sure I could have called a friend or my mechanic to pick me up and take me to work but I decided to ride my bike.  It is only 6 miles and I had just done a 9 mile ride the week before.  And fortunately there is no one else in the office on Friday afternoons so my sweatiness would not be an issue.  What almost was an issue was not bringing the keys to the office.  They are normally with my car keys and when you hop on a bike that's not something you usually take with you.  Thank goodness, Patti was still there.  I was pretty hot when I got there but at least when you work for a chiropractor there are plenty of ice packs.  I used one to cool off so I could get to work.

Pinellas county is not the safest place to bike or walk but I had mapped out a couple routes that would keep me off the busy streets and even through a park and a rec center.  Sometimes  on a bike you can go where cars cannot.

The trip was uneventful as far as traffic was concerned until I was almost to the office.  Seems there was a little SNAFU with the railroad crossing, the arm was down but there was no train in sight.  It was backing up traffic like crazy but when you're on a bike you can avoid things like that.  I snuck under the arm and continued on my way while other motorists were honking at each other and trying to maneuver through the crossing when they realized there was no train.  I did have a minor flashback to the movie we had to watch in Driver's Ed about car/train collisions.

It took about 45 minutes to go 6 miles and I figure I burned about 265 calories.  It takes about 20 minutes in the car and very few calories when you just sit there.  It was good to find out that I can do it and I will do it again.  Maybe when it cools off a little, or do a combo bus in (to avoid getting so sweaty) and bike home, or bus/bike both ways.  Things to think about.  As I found out when I tried my bus experiment awhile back, we need some work on our infrastructure.  I wonder who I could talk to about that?

My mechanic came to pick up so I could get my car and so my bike remains at the office for now.  Hmmm, wonder how to get it home.

And another thing I learned, running your car close to empty all the time is not good for the fuel pump.  Guess I'll have to change that strategy, too.

What keeps you from finding alternatives to driving your car to work?


  1. Good for you Kristin. I would love to ride to work, except it is over 36 miles one way. Maybe I should move closer to work. Anyone want to buy a house?

  2. Being close to work and almost everything I do is one of the things I enjoy most about where I live. The farthest I travel on a regular basis is 24 miles to school but I could easily take the bus if it ran late enough. Suburban sprawl, which we thought was so great when we were growing up there, really takes a toll on relationships, health and pocketbooks. Maybe you should move down here?