A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Commuting Thoughts

I've been giving some thought to bike commuting. My morning commute is only five miles each way, and I have a locker at work that I can keep a few toiletries in. A quick clean-up and a change into scrubs, and I would be in business. I have gone so far as to order a Kryptonite lock, and now I have a commuting bike built.

Several issues have kept me from taking the plunge. First is securing the bike out of the weather. I had thought about taking the bike up on the freight elevator and storing it in my workplace. It's OK with my boss, he was thinking about doing the same thing. Only problem is the freight elevator is locked when I show up at work. Try to get that changed thorough hospital bureaucracy. Impossible. Locking the bike up on the first floor of the parking garage may be an option. I'm going to look into that.

Second is a train that runs right at the time that I would need to get across the tracks. I'm not up to fighting the traffic on the overpass, so I will have to leave earlier. Of course, that will give me the time to change........But if my timing is off, I'm late. I suppose that could happen in a car as well though. Maybe I'm just making excuses.

Finally, I have to wonder just how much I would save in gasoline. The trip isn't that far, and the time saved would be negligible. The ability to ride home after a hard day's work (at 3:00) in air conditioning, knowing that my means of transport would still be there and intact when I required it, is of great comfort. Knowing that I would not have to be concerned about weather changes for the worse while I was holed up in a case is another factor.

I suppose I have to consider why I would be taking the bike for the commute. Would it be to save gas, or would it be for my health? If it was for my health, am I placing my overall health at risk through the increased possibility of an accident and injury? Food for thought.......



Blogger Andrew C said...

I found that for me, bike commuting gave me an opportunity to unwind after work. Since my area has decent bike lanes, it meant I didn't need to worry about getting stuck in traffic and could just cruise home. My ride was about the same as yours - 6 miles each way.

As far as weather goes, you can be sure that at some point you'll be riding home in a rainstorm. Plan accordingly.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Firehand said...

I'm about five each way from work, too. But there's no locker room to clean up in, and traffic between here & there tends to be bloody awful during the day.

I'd like the exercise, AND the gas savings, but not at the cost of getting run over or forced over a curb. Not to mention being looked at askance due to the aroma wafting from my sweat-marinaded self.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Ed Skinner said...

I used a back-route when I worked at a place that was within riding distance. Early AM rides in Phoenix were hot in the summer but bearable. A shower upon arriving was a good idea, nonetheless.
The biggest plus was the mental unwinding I could do on the way home.
Plan to enjoy the rain. (We do, but it's rare.)

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Kristopher said...

I don't have a locker room to clean up at ... so I cheat, and use an electric-assist Recumbent for my 10 mile commute.

A 450 Watt hub motor assist, and a stack of laptop gel batteries in a .50 ammo can in back ... good for about 22 miles if I get lazy and don't pedal.

I still have to help on the hills ... speed is about 17 mph on flats, and the 56 tooth front sprocket it tall enough that I can still pedal at that speed and stretch my range.

Info on building one can be found here.

It seems to most folks to be cheating ... butI don't drip sweat at work, and I get there rain or shine.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Kristopher said...

One other thing :

For commute bikes, I strongly recommend fat tires.

Lots of rolling resistance, yes ... but absolutely needed, in my opinion, to deal with the continual pounding the road inflicts on commuter bikes.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Sevesteen said...

When I had a 10 mile bike commute, I felt better and more energetic on the days I rode. Even after a 12 hour day, I'd find myself at 20mph or more up a slight hill for the first quarter mile or so--Well above my usual pace, and without particularly trying.

When you do drive, bring extra stuff to work for the days you ride--The non-perishables of your lunch, a change or two of clothing.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Eric R. Shelton said...

My commute is somewhere around 5-7 miles, and I like it taking longer than the car ride. I'm sure someone could scold me for this, but I listen to my podcasts while riding. Having said that, Tucson has a lot of good bike paths and I spend almost no time actually on the same road as motorists...

8:43 PM  
Blogger Laughingdog said...

If you choose to do this, don't do it to save money. Earlier this year, when gas was a little more than $3.00/gallon, a study came out pointing out that it's actually better for the environment overall to drive instead of bike. Humans are not efficient machines, and a lot of fuel is burned to make the food to run us.

Unless you drive something with REALLY bad mileage, you'll spend more in food for that commute than you would have spent in gas.

Do it because it's healthier. Do it because you enjoy it. But don't do it because you think you'll save money.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Sterno said...

You could always try it for a week and see if it works out.

If you ride one day, it doesn't mean you have to ride the next. You could always ride on days you know have the smallest chances for bad weather and drive the rest.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Don Gwinn said...

Do it for fun. Stop when it stops being fun.

When I worked at a school about six miles away, I LOVED riding a bike to school. I just locked my classroom door and changed in there, though, and I didn't have anything worse than hills and dogs to worry about.

Now I work 20-some miles away, and I still think about it sometimes. I've actually thought of stashing my car at the truckstop about 2/3 of the way, and riding the bike the rest. Maybe that's stupid. But it would mean I'd get to put about 10-15 miles per day in, and I don't know how else to manage that.

9:02 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Links to this post:

Create a Link