Sunday, April 28, 2013

Anything Goes Commute Challenge: group ride

It's usually more fun to do something in a group, and bike commuting is no exception!  There is a surprisingly large community of San Francisco bike commuters going south in the morning, and I've been pleased to join various groups for the early morning ride in.

Waiting at a red light in the Mission district with the SF2G FFFF (first friday friendly frolic ride), a NRLB ride that attracts a large group
At the moment, I ride with SF2G about once every two weeks-- I'd like to increase that number to once a week or more over the summer. I join their FFFF "no rider left behind" ride and slower "style 3" rides. I'll also leave earlier than a faster ride and see how long it takes them to catch me, then attempt to hang with the faster group when it passes (kind of a group ride, right?).  I also commute with co-workers every now and then- either by plan or by just running into someone on the road.
Here's some of the grit in my canonical route-- waiting for a red light on Bayshore Avenue. Multiple lanes, highspeed traffic, freeway entrances and exits and lots of trucks and busses.
The group rides are fun for a lot of reasons, including the company, the challenge (I always ride faster up the little hills when with a group!), and for the draft in the headwind-y bits. I also really like the reinforcement of commiting to a group ride in advance-- this helps get me up and out in the morning and keeps me out of the car. Riding with a group also breaks up the tedium of doing the same route again and again.

A prettier bit of the commute.
 The Stats:
Route*: surface streets, bike/pedestrian trail (primary route)
Distance: 10.4-12 miles for basic routes
Elapsed time: 50-58 minutes (depending on light cycles)
Exercise time: 50-58 minutes basic trip
Reading/relaxing time: 0
Bliss factor: 6
Cost per trip: -$1.40 ($0.60 basic bike cost estimate -$2 company reimbursement for riding my bike to work)
Enables: exercise, social interaction, fitness challenge, positive reinforcement of likeminded bike commuters, helps me get up and out of the house early!

Disadvantages: SF2G tends to leave very early, tied to a schedule in the morning, must pack clothing, fixed departure (but this also has an upside).

*I hop off early on this route, since I only go to South San Francisco

This post is part of my Anything Goes Commute Challenge series. Click here to read more posts in the series.


Anonymous said...

I love that you have a negative cost due to company reimbursement! I used to see the SF2G commuters riding past my old office at Bayshore and Embarcadero in Palo Alto. How far do you have to ride to start with the group?

NadiaMac said...

The rides start at coffee places that are one and two miles from my place. I also intercept the rides, leaving from my place and riding directly to the spot where my canonical route connects with thhe bayway route.

NadiaMac said...

It occurred to me this morning that I don't know if the company reimbursement is taxable income-- I'll need to check my paycheck to see. So, the reimbursement amount may be lower than 2$ if it is taxed...