May Is National Bike to Work Month!

Sorry for the long interval between posts, readers. Grad school is hitting me hot & heavy. My thesis proposal got accepted (after half my data was collected already) and now it’s time to move on. Lots of computer work has been done this semester, and this summer will bring lots of processing and number crunching in order to meet a hopeful Fall 2011 graduation deadline. I had wanted to finish by the time I was 30. At this rate, I might be able to make it before I hit 31.

Next week starts National Bike to Work Month and with me having a short commute of less than 4mi one way if I take the long way, it only makes sense to participate. With gas prices in my area passing the $3.80 mark this week, it’ll certainly save me some dough. I plan to keep a weekly tally of my commuting mileage. My goal is to commute by bike every day this week. I’m not going to post GPS tracks of my commute because frankly, I’m a bit more savvy about privacy concerns than that. That said, every Friday I will include some photos and video clips of my commuting activities throughout the week.

I started National Bike to Work Month early by biking today. The weather really couldn’t have been better for it today. Low humidity, didn’t get too hot, plenty of sunshine. I did get caught by the train on my commute home, though. This will be a frequent frustration for the month, I believe. There’s a major freight rail route through my town and the crossing is a typical one with gates. There are 5 sets of tracks to cross, and they frequently stop in town to drop off grain and other materials for the local feed mill. My commute home today was in the neighborhood of 25 minutes at a leisurely pace, and on a fast day I can easily shave 10 off of that total. And the train didn’t catch me for very long today, either.

I will go over various commuting gear that I use throughout the month. I go back and forth between my two bikes depending on my mood and also have a selection of packs depending on what I want to carry. I also have an assortment of lights I use. This time of year they don’t do much commuting duty (I use lights when commuting more in the wintertime). This time of year, I use my lights mountain biking more to avoid the heat of the day. But, if I pull a long day in the office, I’ll use the lights. I also have some little accessories that help commuting in other ways and I’ll talk about them.

I also plan to check whether bike commuting trims me up at all. I’ll weigh in on Sunday and post weekly weigh-ins to track my progress.

How do you commute by bike? What’s your commute distance? What gear do you use that makes things easier for you? Safety gear? Can you combine bike commuting with public transportation in your city? Does your city have bike lanes, multi-use paths, or any other bike-friendly facilities that enable people to get around by bike? What would make it easier for you to commute by bike?

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