Thursday, February 19, 2009

My 1000 Mile Commute in 2009

I’ve always been a bit of a fair-weather bike commuter, but with each successive job I’ve had over the past 12 years (there has been 4 of them), I’ve moved a little closer to home. With each new job, I’ve added a few more days of commuting by bike. At my current job at the University of Washington, the route I take when I commute by bicycle is just over 13 miles round trip (a little more according to Google Maps, a little more still according to my bikes odometer).

As a fair weather biker my bike usually doesn’t get pulled out until late May and gets put away in early October. During a normal year I will commute to work by bike a couple days here, a couple days there. Eventually I find a good book to read and start taking the bus so I can read my book, and my bike gets put away. However, this year will be different; I have set a goal of using my bike to commute 1000 miles in 2009. That’s roughly 80 days of round trip commuting by bike if I take my usual route. There are 261 work days in 2009. However, if I exclude most of January, and half of February (I started on February 12), exclude planned vacation days (2009 is already totally planned out) and only count work days based on my alternative work schedule (9-9s, or 9 hour days with every other Friday off), I am left 191 days to complete my task. So I will need to bike a bit less than half of my scheduled work days in 2009.

The rules are I have set for myself are as follows: Regardless of the route I take I can only count a maximum of 13 miles round trip (6.5 miles each way). If I put my bike on the bus for any part of a trip in either direction, that half of the commute does not count. I can only count miles biked in the commute to and from work (no going on a long bike ride on the weekend and counting that). I have to publicly post how I am doing here.

So to most bike commuters, this is nothing (the guy I share an office with bikes every day that there isn’t snow on the ground), but for a fair-weather cyclist like myself with a delicate posterior this is a bit of an undertaking.

To the non-bike commuter who asks “why bother?” Sadly the reason is cycling and skiing is the only real exercise I get. I really don’t have time to go to the gym on a regular basis, and wouldn’t go even if I did have time (don’t really like gyms). I need to get some kind of exercise and taking care of it during my commute seems like the easiest way.

EDIT: I fully admit that biking 6.5 miles at a time can hardly be considered "exercise", but I gotta start somewhere.

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