Friday, May 9, 2008

Biking to Work in Boston - My first time

It was 7:11 PM, and I just finished a delectable seafood pasta dinner. Perhaps not the smartest time to try riding my bike the 2 miles to work and back, but I felt the biking itch. After all, I am the head of the green team at work and I don't even drive a hybrid car (tsk, tsk).

May is, after all, National Ride Your Bike to Work Month, and gas prices are just going up. Why pay $4 a gallon when I can depend on my own fuel? I had to at least try riding my bike. I wanted to give it a test run before depending on the bike as my transportation in the morning and perhaps missing an important client meeting or being embarrassed by my co-workers seeing me fall off my bike on the way in.

So. I struggled to get the bike out of the basement, strapped my helmet on, and hopped on board.

The ride to work was a breeze. I concentrated on shifting, signaling, and avoiding potholes (my car could take them, but I don't know that my rear end could). I think it helped that most of the trip was downhill. I felt the breeze in my hair, sweat just a little at some tiny uphills, and thought, "wow, this isn't bad."

When a Prius passed me, I laughed. "You think you're green? Ha!"

I got to work safely. Believe it or not, the ride took just about the same amount of time as driving - I'd say about 10 minutes with traffic lights, etc. Maybe even quicker. After all, on my bike I can coast up to the front of every intersection. I had but a few drops of sweat on my brow. I would have felt comfortable throwing on my work clothes and heels without showering - I think I sweat more climbing the 3 flights of stairs to my office.

The ride back was a little more difficult. After all, I had to make it to the top of a hill that my car couldn't climb last winter. Make that several hills. I was holding onto my handle bars with a kungfu death grip. It felt like it took forever, but in actuality took about 14 minutes.

So. All in all, my test commute by bike was a success, and I would recommend it to anyone in the city.

If you're interested in riding your bike to work but are a little intimidated, check out these bike commuting tips or Mayor Menino's bicycling information site. Since next week (May 12 - 16, 2008) is official the Bay State Bike Week, there are many bike friendly events including "breakfast pit stops" in Cambridge and near Government Center. There's nothing like a little food to motivate you to ride.

This morning, though, I climbed in my car and drove. It's supposed to POUR today, after all!

Boston Bike Resources

You don't have to look as professional as my cousin Tim here. Just make sure you have a helmet. Oh, and a bike.

Related Posts: Springtime, Gasoline, and a Solution, Make Boston Greener, and Green Tips for the New Year.

Photo of Boston bikers and Kick Gas logo courtesy of Bay State Bike Week.
Photo of my cousin Tim courtesy of, well, my cousin Tim.


Adam Pieniazek said...

You're the head of the green deal at your work but you drive 2 miles?

Seriously, the T or walking/biking can't get you there on a regular basis?

I wouldn't call you out if you were just an average person trying to not drive but you're the head of the green movement and you drive the measly 2 miles to work? It seems you're physically fit to move your own body the two miles so what gives?

Also, where do you work? I'd love to get a job there where I can prophesize without following.

Casey said...

I can make all the excuses in the world for driving the 2 miles (such as frequently after work I have to travel to meetings to run OYFP or go to floor hockey games 10 miles away), but none of them will be good enough. I agree with you! That's why I'm starting to ride my bike to work.

As far as "proselytizing without following," our green team isn't a holier than thou group. We try to educate and inspire, knowing that making someone care about the environment happens in incremental steps. We realize that not everyone (slash most people) aren't willing to sacrifice convenience for green-ness.

I suppose you could really make the same argument about any ethical activity - you volunteer 10 hours a week? Why don't you volunteer 40 hours a week? Why are you sitting on your couch right now when you could be saving the children? Etc etc.

Adam Pieniazek said...

I'll admit I was a bit tough, it's just I was more surprised it was your first time but not having a used bike on-hand is definitely an impediment. Even used, a decent road bike still costs $300-400 so it's not as easy as I made it seem.


100% agree that it's easier to educate in incremental steps and that convenience is a huge temptation for everyone, myself included.

Great last paragraph to go save the children and institute world peace now!

Casey said...

I guess I left this out of my post - I used to bike commute all the time in high school and college. Then I started working 26 miles from where I lived... so I stopped.

Last September I moved within 2 miles of a new job. So, technically this wasn't my first time ever bike commuting, just my first time this job... :-)