02 September 2009

Bike Commute Challenge

Yay for me! I rode my bike home from work yesterday for the first time!

So, we’ve got this thing called the Bike Commute Challenge. Maybe it’s going on in your town? Maybe it’s just an Oregon thing… Different businesses compete to have the greatest percentage of employees riding their bikes to work during the month of September. I don’t think you win anything but bragging rights, and all of the actual benefits like better health, less pollution, etc.
For the past year and a half I have been carpooling with T. Since her last layoff, however, she has just been driving me to work and picking me up. I know, I know, how very wasteful that is! I have been talking about riding my bike to work but hadn’t gotten up the courage or motivation to do it. The bike challenge was the impetus I needed.

I had T drop me and my bike off yesterday and today. I feel ok about that. It cut the car commute in half. Next week I aim to ride both directions.

It’s only 5 miles from my house to my work, but it’s through the city, across the river and up a steep hill. Truth be told, I’m not doing the steep hill – not up or down it. Instead, I’m taking the tram up and down. It just feels safer and more doable for me. I made it home in 40 minutes yesterday, which is about 20 minutes faster than the bus. I know I’ll be able to shave a good 10 minutes off that time; I wasted a few minutes riding around one neighborhood looking for the bike path. Also, there’s one short but steep hill that my legs weren’t up to yesterday. It’s only 2 or 3 blocks long but I walked my bike up it yesterday. By next week I hope to ride the whole thing.

It really felt great to be getting home via my own power. Empowering! I’ve walked home before and that felt pretty good, too, but zipping along on my bike was great. And, the whole time I was pedaling I was thinking about how much better my pants would fit in a few weeks. I haven’t been working out for quite a while now and I have gained an unacceptable amount of weight and I just don’t feel good. This will definitely improve my physical and mental well-being.

The unknown so far is how the weather will affect my commute. Portland is known for the rainy weather, and it’s coming. I’m going to check out some rain pants and see if I can stick it out in the upcoming wet weather.

Wish me luck!

4 comments:

greg said...

Pulling up a pair of pants and having them fit comfortably is an amazing feeling - don't stop thinking of that.

Good for you, I am quite impressed!!

8thdayplanner said...

My work is only 1/2 mile from my house so I usually walk. But I bike before work, especially now when the local farms are haying. The smell is unbelievably good.

Unfortuntely even though I work out, the chocolate is still winning the battle.

Good luck with your new routine.

Murray said...

I am so jealous! They have bike to work day around here, too, and every year I am jealous of everyone I see pedaling away on the bike paths while I am on the bus. Maybe someday I will be able to live closer.

Anyway, good for you and good luck!

e said...

greg: that's a big part of my motivation!

8dp: riding or walking one is so much closer to everything outside. All the smells and sounds are immediate and not muffled by the car. I like that! Ok, except for the exhaust...

Murray: do they let you bring a bike on the bus? Ours have racks in the front. Some of my coworkers take the bus partway and ride partway. It's a compromise but worth it.