I've tried to bike commute in the past, but quickly fell off the wagon. I was all gung-ho in May 2009, but life had other plans that summer. It rained almost every day in June, my life went crazy in a bad way, and when I moved to Park Slope, my potential bike commute went from 5.5 miles to 9 miles, a task far too daunting for someone like me who is decidedly not a morning person.
Now I am happily back in Williamsburg, and my new bike commute is a much more manageable 3.5 miles, so I am recommitting for real. To force myself to bike regularly, I signed up for a metrocard (through my work transit check program) with only enough money to travel by subway half the month. I'll see how this goes and hopefully adjust to an even cheaper metrocard in the warmer months. I'm also hoping that because the ride is relatively short, I won't get sweaty enough in the summer to need a gym membership just to shower before work.
To prepare, I bought a basic fender for my back tire (something like this) to protect me from slush and rain spraying up my back, and got my bike tuned up. My bike is over 10 years old and I'd never taken it for a tune up before. I'd always wondered if the creaky gears and weird noises were a sign it might fall apart at any minute, so it's good to feel confident in its working condition now.
So this morning, I rode my bike to work for the first time this year. I've been getting around Williamsburg and Bushwick by bike all winter, so the 30 degree weather didn't faze me. I don't wear any special gear for biking in the cold - just my usual clothes, winter coat, gloves, scarf, a ski headband underneath my helmet, and a backpack. For now, I'm bringing a clean shirt to change into when I get to work.
It was 30 minutes door to door, the same as taking the subway. The route had me safely on bike lanes most of the way. Bike lanes have come under a lot of controversy lately in New York, but they are necessary for bicycling to become a viable form of transportation as we move away from reliance on cars and oil, and I am personally grateful for the Department of Transportation's work to create an extensive bike lane network in this city. And I didn't encounter any ticket-happy police. Here we go...
Have you ever tried or thought about commuting by bike?