Bicycle Commuting

It was nice to see that Jen Murphy, wrote her 1 July column about bicycle commuting. I was checking up on her “What’s Your Workout?” column, as I periodically do. You would think that the current energy woes would motivate more people to ride their bikes to work or to run other errands using a bicycle, but I haven’t seen much of an increase. I still see the usual suspects driving their honking big SUV’s, trucks, and assorted gas guzzlers. I spend a fair amount of time driving places too, but I feel much better when I ride. For all the skeptics out there, all I suggest is that you try it.

This is what I posted on the WSJ Forum dedicated to Jen’s column:

I’ve been riding to and from work for many years. It is 14 miles each way to our plant in East Hartford. I strive for three days a week. On the ride in, it takes 45-50 minutes if I go all road and an hour if I ride the Rail Trail (dirt) for the first eight miles. On the way home, it takes 15 minutes longer because it is uphill. If I can’t ride both ways because of a meeting, family commitment, Daddy duty, etc.; I drive in with my bike on the roof, leave my vehicle, then ride home. The next day, I ride back in.

I leave early (6:00 A.M.) so I don’t see too many people, and need to use lights in the colder seasons. I wish I saw more riders. I go through some higher traffic urban areas and I am forced to ride defensively. At least once a week, an ignorant motorist squeezes me against a guardrail, cuts me off, or turns in front of me (like today). I ride defensively. My main commuter bike is an Ibis Hakkalugi cyclocross bike converted to singlespeed with old parts from my basement. It has 32c tubeless-tubular tires and full fenders, and is the perfect machine for the task.

Incidentally, my wife, Debbie, also commutes via Rail Trail to work at a yoga/fitness center a few times a week. Often, she pulls our two year old in our Chariot jog stroller/trailer. She leaves our son at the gym childcare center, which is a nice benefit. Recently, she has been doing errands as part of her commute. You can load a fair amount of groceries into the trailer.

We have both experienced the overall good feelings that result from commuting by bike.

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