Sunday, April 28, 2013

Anything Goes Commute Challenge: solo bike trip (primary route)

Well, I just noticed that LadyFleur's Anything Goes Commute Challenge has a deadline of April 30, so I am going to hammer out a few entries.

Sunrise moonset view as I start my urban commute. I leave early--between 6am and 7am-- to minimize the traffic encountered on my route.
 I started riding to work last year after ten years of car commuting. I'm not a newbie to bike commuting- riding was my primary mode of transport for about 13 years, most recently when I was in law school riding up and down the east bay hills with my casebooks in my panniers. I returned to cycle commuting last year as a way to integrate exercise and commuting and to get some JOY in my morning commute.

The "suburban" part of the route features view of Mount San Bruno and the lagoon in Brisbane.
 My canonical route is the most direct route between my home in San Francisco and my work in South San Francisco. The ride is 1/3 city riding, 1/3 semi-suburban and 1/3 blissful Bay Trail.

On the Bay Trail approaching work. I LOVE this part of the ride, where I take in the views and enjoy the many twists and turns of the Bay Trail.
It's not all pretty on this route, which features some fairly gritty urban riding, and my next post "group rides" will have some photos from the gritty bits of the ride. To minimize some of the traffic congestion on the gritty part of the route, I leave early- between 6am and 7am. It turns out that I really like getting to work on the early side and I really, really like leaving work by the fixed company-bus schedules. I tend to stay late to finish up work otherwise. More on this in my "company bus commute" post.

The biggest benefits to bike commuting for me? The exercise and stress relief. My best days at work start with a bike ride. I have noticeably lower levels of stress throughout the day. Endorphins in action? I don't know but whatever the mechanism, I'll take it!

The Stats:
Route: surface streets, bike/pedestrian trail
Distance: 10.4 miles for basic route
Elapsed time: 50-58 minutes (depending on light cycles)
Exercise time: 50-58 minutes basic trip
Reading/relaxing time: 0
Bliss factor: 7
Cost per trip: -$1.40 ($0.60 basic bike cost estimate* -$2 company reimbursement for riding my bike to work**)
Enables: Exercise, 1.5 breakfasts, earlier start to my work day, fixed departure time from work on company bus (forces me to leave work rather than working into the night), lower environmental impact, stress prevention/relief
Disadvantages: can't carry heavy laptop for longer morning commute (hurts back), dislike commute in heavy morning traffic so must leave before 7:00 am for enjoyable commute, must leave by 6:30am to make 8am meeting once or twice a week, must pack clothing (I leave shoes and sweaters at work).

*I am using LadyFleur's $0.05/mile bike cost estimate, which I don't remember how she calculated.

 **my benevolent employer pays me to use alternative transportation to work, e.g., bike, company bus, public transit, vanpool, etc. I get $2 to bike commute (each way).  I'll elaborate in my "company bus" post.

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

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