Sunday, September 07, 2008

Big wheels keep on turning

Now that my 14-month vacation is over and the new school year has begun, I've been biking to work every day. I plan to do this for as long as the weather stays clement (I biked to work in December for one day of the transit strike, and it's not an experience I want to repeat), and now I realize that there's no excuse for not having done this (except in rare occasions) before. I live and work less than a block from the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, so I just have to cross Riverside Drive, and then there's no car traffic for the rest of the route. I guess the excuse is that I live and work two blocks from express subway stops, and the subway is just enough faster that in past years I haven't made the effort to get up slightly earlier to bike. But having a later class schedule this year has tipped the balance.

  • Twice-daily exercise without going out of my way.
  • Even if biking takes slightly longer than the subway, it's a completely predictable length of time, determined only by how fast I pedal. The subway often has unforeseen delays.
  • No more waiting on humid platforms or crowding in on rush-hour trains.
  • Saves money: I haven't bought an Unlimited MetroCard yet.

  • Have to change clothes upon arrival at school, adding to the effective door-to-door time even further.
  • Less convenient to go somewhere other than straight home after school (though not such a big deal since I can leave my bike at school overnight).
  • It might start raining during the day (not really a problem - see above).
  • The subway was where I did all my extracurricular reading, so that's not happening anymore. (Reading a book on a bike would be dangerous. So would an audio book, to a much lesser extent.)
The pros are ahead for now. I'll be back on the subway when the weather changes.


  1. i've considered biking to school, but the sweat factor effectively nullifies that option

  2. I've found that it's chilly enough in the morning, especially right on the river, that this isn't a significant factor on the way to school (I wear shorts and a T-shirt to bike to school and change when I get there), and in the other direction when it's warmer, I can shower when I get home.

  3. I actually prefer my bike commute during the winter (on days with no ice) to my summer commute because it is not sweaty at all. I switch to full-finger gloves, a wind resistant jacket, and earmuffs, and I am good until it drops below 20. i can wear my work clothes too since it is cold enough to not sweat. with the right accessories (pretty cheap) I bike year round except days where i need to wear a suit, it's raining when i want to leave, or there is ice. The latter conditions are not just unpleasant but substantially less safe.

    Kudos to you BZ!

    You may also notice a few other benefits: sleeping better, feeling more rested, and being more alert upon arrival at work to name a few.

  4. I'm starting to think that my bike commute to work (1 mile, 8 minutes) is short enough to provide the Cons but not the Pros...

    In fact, I think that the only benefit for me is that it's my speediest option -- bus and foot don't compare.

    So I'll keep doing it, but it would be nice to at least get good excersize on my commute if I can't read. :)