Just For Fun/ My Bike Commute in 2 minutes.
Posted June 22, 2015 / Just For Fun/ My Bike Commute in 2 minutes.
In 2009, in the midst of the Great Recession, the company I was working for announced a plan for implementing pay cuts across the entire staff as a way to stem the layoffs they’d been forced to make. The plan was genuinely well-conceived, but it would definitely require some belt-cinching.
It was spring, and I’d just finished the Boston Marathon, so I was feeling some good fitness momentum. And as it so happened, one of our two car leases was about to expire. I texted my wife, just after the company announcement, and told her I didn’t want to get another car. I wanted to get a bike and ride it until the Boston weather prevented it.
And so I rode all spring and summer, 11.1 miles each way from my home in Lexington, Massachusetts into Boston’s Back Bay. And I completely fell in love with it. Fresh air. Great exercise. No sitting in traffic. No fossil fuel emissions. Not to mention no car payment, gas costs, parking fees, insurance – there are countless reasons to commute by bicycle, and I loved them all.
Then one day in October, while riding in, I met another rider named Bill. Bill pulled up alongside me and asked if I knew how to get to Longwood Medical Center. I noticed he had a cast on his left arm, and he told me he was headed to get it removed. Ironically, he’d broken it when his bike hit a pothole. I told him he could follow me to Harvard Square, and I could show him the way from there.
So we rode for several more miles. He had an old Fuji single-speed, and he was a really strong rider. He was also chatty, and forced me to keep up with his conversation while hammering all the way. Turns out we had a weird amount in common. He was in marketing, I was in advertising. He lived for years in Mill Valley, California, the town from which my family and I had most recently moved. He also worked for the Coors company during a short period when my agency had them as a client. And while working for them, had lived in Boulder, which is the town to which my former agency, CP+B, had re-located.
Then at some point he asked if I’d ever ridden all through the winter. I told him I’d just started riding, and he proceeded to tell me how to go about doing it, should I choose to – what gear, what tires, what routes, etc.
I thought about it all day, and that evening, announced my intentions to my wife: I was going to gear up and take on the winter with two wheels. It would be an adventure! Like training for the Marathon had been. Maybe I’d blog about it!
The following morning, in the middle of October, it snowed. It was as if nature was reminding me what I’d signed on for. Undeterred, I set out, and I haven’t stopped yet. Six years later, we’re still a suburban family with only one car – a statistical oddity to be certain. And if can be avoided, I’ll never own a second car again.
Granted, I’ve worked primarily from home since January of 2014, but since ‘09, I reckon I’ve ridden well over 40,000 miles just commuting alone. My bicycle is still how I get almost everywhere I need to go. I have some clients who’ve never even seen me without bike tights on!
My ride always offers something new. Twice a day, every day, It gives me some funny, interesting, or death-defying story to share, but what I don’t share about it is what I love most. Twice a day, every day, my ride is all mine.
Music: Flogging Molly