Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bike Commute Challenge

Yay for me! I rode my bike home from work yesterday for the first time!

So, we’ve got this thing called the Bike Commute Challenge. Maybe it’s going on in your town? Maybe it’s just an Oregon thing… Different businesses compete to have the greatest percentage of employees riding their bikes to work during the month of September. I don’t think you win anything but bragging rights, and all of the actual benefits like better health, less pollution, etc.

For the past year and a half I have been carpooling with T. Since her last layoff, however, she has just been driving me to work and picking me up. I know, I know, how very wasteful that is! I have been talking about riding my bike to work but hadn’t gotten up the courage or motivation to do it. The bike challenge was the impetus I needed.

I had T drop me and my bike off yesterday and today. I feel ok about that. It cut the car commute in half. Next week I aim to ride both directions.

It’s only 5 miles from my house to my work, but it’s through the city, across the river and up a steep hill. Truth be told, I’m not doing the steep hill – not up or down it. Instead, I’m taking the tram up and down. It just feels safer and more doable for me. I made it home in 40 minutes yesterday, which is about 20 minutes faster than the bus. I know I’ll be able to shave a good 10 minutes off that time; I wasted a few minutes riding around one neighborhood looking for the bike path. Also, there’s one short but steep hill that my legs weren’t up to yesterday. It’s only 2 or 3 blocks long but I walked my bike up it yesterday. By next week I hope to ride the whole thing.

It really felt great to be getting home via my own power. Empowering! I’ve walked home before and that felt pretty good, too, but zipping along on my bike was great. And, the whole time I was pedaling I was thinking about how much better my pants would fit in a few weeks. I haven’t been working out for quite a while now and I have gained an unacceptable amount of weight and I just don’t feel good. This will definitely improve my physical and mental well-being.

The unknown so far is how the weather will affect my commute. Portland is known for the rainy weather, and it’s coming. I’m going to check out some rain pants and see if I can stick it out in the upcoming wet weather.

Wish me luck!


  1. I love that you're blogging!

    Riding from your work to home seems like it would be a lot longer than 5 miles. I guess when you're on the bus and you have to stop every couple blocks, it makes it feel longer. I'm very proud of you! I think it's very smart to take the tram down the hill. It doesn't seem safe at all to ride down.

    I'll check back often. I love you!!


  2. Thanks for such a prompt response! You are my first follower! Yay! That makes me happy!

    It's really not far, but as you say, stopping every two blocks makes for a long bus ride. Most of my ride is along the waterfront, so it's pretty darned nice.

    I love you too!