Thursday, May 15, 2008

Commuting: A Quandary

Would the fitness-promoting and cost-saving benefits of riding my bike to work outweigh the sheer suicidal lunacy? That's the question that's occupying my mind these days.

I live in Takoma Park, Maryland and work at a place I like to call the Cosmodemonic Institute for Science Policy, which is just below Chinatown. It's a ride of some seven-and-three-quarters miles down Piney Branch and 13th St. If I cut across on R St. over to 7th, I can make the whole ride on DDOT-designated bike routes. There's even a handy map that I can wave weakly from my stretcher as I'm being loaded into the ambulance.

Seriously, as long as I get up early enough to beat the worst of rush hour, I can't imagine a more pleasant way to start my workday than pedaling in a leisurely fashion to work as my city wakes up around me. I could get to work, shower, and probably still have time for breakfast and the Post crossword before I have to get down to business.

On the other hand, the seven-and-three-quarter-mile ride back home is almost all uphill.



hsempl said...

i've been considering the same option! the quandary added for me is i need to get in shape to ride my bike to work; but if i ride my bike to work, i get in shape. i started capoeira classes which should help.

oh, and i need a bike.

seriously, let me know how it goes, cause i agree it would SOOOOOO beat the metro/car/bus.

Rob said...


Oh. Capoeira. Cool!

There's a shop in Arlington I'd like to go have a look at. Bulldog Bike Restoration. Their prices are very reasonable. Maybe we can do a trek down there sometime.

Di said...

YOU HAVE SHOWERS AT WORK?? I'm jealous. Wait, I have showers at work. But I can't get organized enough to keep clothes and stuff there to change into.

If you don't feel like trekking home, you could always take your bike on the metro and ride home from SS or Takoma stations.

Rob said...

Not only are there showers, there's whole fitness center. It's one of the things I like about my job: I have no excuse, none whatsoever, for blowing off my workout.

Staying organized would be a challenge, but it's a decided advantage being male and shaven-headed. I wouldn't need to keep any stuff at work. The kinds of clothes I usually wear would fit into a couple of panniers. It's all scarily doable.

I realized this morning I can't use R St. because it's one way in the wrong direction. Probably what I'd have to do is negotiate Logan Circle (yeah, right -- walk my bike across the crosswalk and through the park is more like it) and take P. And I'd go all the way over to 6th; there's always a nasty bottleneck at 7th and New York Ave that would be terrifying to cycle through.

Di said...

Yeah, you should take the traffic flow concerns seriously. It could be dangerous. Maybe you should do a practice run on Sunday morning when there aren't many people on the road!

Paddy on the Turnpike said...

Hey Rob-
I've been biking to the Metro once in a while--here are a few other things to keep in mind: rains.
In the will get really hot and muggy.
In the will get nipple-cracking cold.
You will be breathing...carbon monoxide and random little black particles.
Once in a while it's fun though.

Rob said...

Yeah, we'll see how it all works out. It can't be much less fun than being stuck in traffic in a car, or riding the bus. And I'd get to feel smugly virtuous.

Melissa said...

My weeny little 2mi ride to work is SOOO much better than the bus. Some days, like today when I have too much stuff to schlep, I walk instead.
My ex used to ride from TP down to Thomas Circle area, and he said the ride *down* was actually a bit harder because the couple of ups on the route to work were pretty steep, whereas the more general up on the way home was gentler.
You'll probably find that you become more impervious to hot/cold/wet weather, too, once you start riding in it five days a week :)