Monday, June 15, 2009

One More for Biking

OhmanthatwasAWESOME! So, I've got later hours, now, right? I go in at ten and leave work at three, with an hour off for lunch. I have to get used to a whole new schedule and I'm not sure when to catch the morning bus.

My guess today was wrong. I thought it was 9:31am, but no, it was 9:29. I was at the stop at 9:29 but the bus was a few minutes early and I spotted its taillights about three blocks north of me. FOUL.

I sat down to wait for the next one, but it didn't come until quarter to ten, and it would be a half hour trip so I'd be 15 minutes late for work. It wasn't worth waiting to me (and I'd just slammed two cups of coffee) so I thought I'd bike to work.

I hauled our bikes out of the basement on Saturday and we went out to Freewheel (I think it's called) to get a rack for the panniers Reb got me for my birthday. They installed the rack, I put the panniers on (they seem kind of loose so I'm doing something wrong), and this morning I decided to see how long it would take to bike to work.

I left at 9:44am and arrived at my office at 10:03am.

WHAT?! Biking to work is not only easier than catching the stupid bus, it's faster?! That's it. That's it! I'm biking to work every day! There is no reason to shell out $80/month for an unpredictable, grouchy bus service, not when I could be saving time and losing this gut!

But--and this is important--now that I'm biking, I have something new to gripe about in my other blog, Small Laws. I've complained about the hazards of being a pedestrian, and I've railed about the harrowing driving experience. Now I'm on a bike: I wear a helmet, I stop for red lights and stop signs, and I use hand signals... and almost nobody else does. So I've got a lot of material to cover, and now that I've picked up a SuperHeadz Baby Holga, maybe I'll have some interesting photos to share.

I mean, just this morning there were two offenses. A woman drove her car down the biking-only lanes (not even in the bus lane) going south on Hennepin, and a cyclist cruised through a red light right in front of me. I yelled at the cyclist.

UPDATE: My friends Bobbi and Eric told me about a couple interesting Metro Transit-related programs:

2009 Commuter Challenge - I don't really know how this works. I signed up, started an account, noted biking to work today and busing to work in the two prior weeks of June, and... that's it. I don't know where the challenge comes in. Is someone supposed to bet me something?

Guaranteed Ride Home - This is a little more obvious: I fill out my information, pay nothing, and receive two coupons for cab fare or bus/LRT transportation in case of emergency (the 1st and 3rd options entail paying and then submitting for reimbursement).

UPDATE: I shut down my work computer at 3:00 PM, got my bike, took the service elevator to the ground floor, walked to the end of the block, and joined traffic.

I went south on Hennepin Ave, turned to ride through Loring Park, went down Lyndale to the bike overpass; took Bryant Ave all the way home.

Parked my bike in the garage and, in walking to the house, noted the time: 3:26 PM.

Just astonishing. And that, with headwind and some uphill pedaling. I got a full day of exercise and saved $3.50 in bus fare and almost 30 minutes in commute time. Just astonishing.

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