Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Commute

The worst thing about DC is the commute to work. The daily drive over the Wilson Bridge for 4.5 years (pre-renovation) must've added 10 years to my life. I was dreading a repeat of that experience. Luckily this time I'm working somewhere easily accessed by public transportation and bicycle. Public transport is a little took me an hour to get to work via bus and metro on Monday. On Tuesday I rode in for the first time. The ride was nice...after a test run the previous week, I found a route with a lot less cars, avoiding Old Town. I thought it would be an easy 26 mile round trip, but I've let the competitive side get the best of me. There are tons of people on the Mt Vernon Trail...I can't let anyone pass me, and feel like I must pass any recumbent or hybrid bike I see out there. Due to traffic lights, I can't ride it much faster than 45 minutes...record was 43 minutes on Friday morning, and I was hauling ass every chance I got.

According to the Kipplinger Bike Commuting Calculator, I'm saving $21.30/day by not driving...this is partially due to the $9.50 daily parking fee. Since I haven't bought a 2nd car yet, I could probably calculate in some additional savings. Of course, I've negated some of these cost savings by eating an extra lunch every knock off $10 there...take out the parking and it's basically a wash. When you throw in all the recent purchases to support the commute, I've negated all the saving. So far it's been lights, jackets, tights, and most recently this bike:

After much deliberations and shopping, I bought a Kona Jake the entry-level Cyclocross racer. I'd been eyeing some higher end CX bikes, nearly bought a Cannondale, but after realizing that I'm a Cat 4 racer that only plans on 2-3 Cross races per year, I couldn't justify a Cat 3's bike. This will double as a commuter bike, and I'll feel better about leaving this on the rack in the parking garage than the Cannondale.

The biggest benefit to riding every day is my sanity. When I drove on the beltway everyday, I felt like punching every grandma that cut me off or jumped in the "fast lane" and slowed down to 35mph while she tried to operate her cell phone. It's a lot easier to ride in the grass off the bike path while passing the ipod wearing girl weaving on her aero bars as she learns to ride a bike on the trail (so far the biggest annoyance on the bike path).

It's all exciting so far...we'll see what December brings. I've got all the gear, but have no idea if I can survive the cold.


Jon said...

good thing someone came up with an algorithm to determine just how much money your whiteness is saving you. it helps when being smug, I'm sure, as in the following example:

Steve's Coworker: Boy, traffic sucked today.

Steve: I didn't have to deal with it. I rode my bike. I wore outdoor performance clothes and had zero carbon emissions. And I saved twenty one dollars and nine sents.

Steve's Coworker: Dick.

Strap said...

and if i drive, i'll drive the Prius...either way I can be smug.