Author Topic: commuting via public transit or bike  (Read 4137 times)

J2

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commuting via public transit or bike
« on: August 06, 2016, 01:17:06 PM »
Hi all,

I recently bought a Giant Escape 2 hybrid bike with the intention of using it for errands and general exercise, but I'm considering using it to commute to work.

Currently, I take public transit to work, which takes about 40 minutes door-to-door each way and costs $7.10 per day with the train.  If I take the bus, it takes at least about an hour door-to-door each way and costs $3.50 per day.  I can reduce some of this cost through a pretax benefit at work, which allows me to deduct the metro costs from my paycheck tax free. 

I'd like to cut out that cost by biking to work.  Plus the metro system in Washington DC is undergoing metro repairs, so there are delays and issues all the time.  I live about 7 miles away from work, and the bike ride down takes about 45 minutes (I have to stop at lots of lights in the central city).  The ride back would take about 55 minutes because of hills.  While this seems a reasonable trade-off of time given the added exercise, there are a few things I'm concerned about: 

The first is safety.  While Mr. Money Mustache has written about how the risk of death by biking is far lower than driving, it is definitely more dangerous than public transit, which is the safest method of transport by far.  And that's just death, which doesn't worry me as much as risk of injury.  What concerns me most is the possibility of suffering a serious injury, such as a shattered knee, broken leg or arm, or some other injury that wouldn't kill me but result in expensive medical care and permanently reduced physical mobility.

The second concern is logistics.  I have to wear a suit every day for work.  I live in the Washington DC metro area, which is very muggy in the summer.  My work has showers, but I'll need to buy a special garment bag to carry my suits and the cheapest I found is about $200.  I'll also need to prepare for cold and rain, meaning I'll have to buy gear to keep me warm, dry, and safe.   

I've enjoyed my new bike so far, and I really like the idea of getting some exercise as part of my commute, but is it worth the safety risks and additional logistical hurdles?  The opportunity cost is a bit different when it's bike vs. public transport.

For those who bike to work, how do you stay safe and how do you brave cold and inclement weather? 

PtboEliz

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Re: commuting via public transit or bike
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2016, 01:29:56 PM »
Can you store a few suits at your office to avoid the garment bag?
Layers, layers, layers for cold; waterproof jacket with pit zips for wet... as has been written here recently, it's much more pleasant to be on a bike in inclement weather than it appears, invigorating and awesome even.
As for safety, go slow, take your space and be careful..  a bike safety course might make you feel more confident.

J2

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Re: commuting via public transit or bike
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2016, 03:14:16 PM »
I only have a cubicle, so I could store my dress shoes, but I don't have a place for my suits.

When the days are short in the winter, is it too dangerous to bike in the dark?  I have front and rear lights for the bike.

MsPeacock

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Re: commuting via public transit or bike
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2016, 06:33:58 AM »
I work with a few people who bike commute even in the dark cold winter days. Have you looked for some of the online Facebook groups for DC cyclists? Or Potomac peddlers? Members there may be able to answer your questions more specifically.


Personally, I don't bike in the dark. I feel like DC drivers are so marginal under ideal driving circumstances that I don't want to risk dark, rain, etc. I do not commute by bike, however, so YMMV.

Janie

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Re: commuting via public transit or bike
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2016, 06:54:25 AM »
Check out WABA http://www.waba.org

Where are you biking from/to?

How about a hook like this for your cube to leave a few jackets?

With This Herring

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Re: commuting via public transit or bike
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2016, 09:03:48 AM »
I only have a cubicle, so I could store my dress shoes, but I don't have a place for my suits.

When the days are short in the winter, is it too dangerous to bike in the dark?  I have front and rear lights for the bike.

If you decide to bike in the dark (and good for you!), please don't rely on bike lights alone.  Please wear a full, bright yellow reflective vest.  They are cheap, lightweight, and let drivers know that you are a person on a bike instead of a reflector on someone's mailbox.  There are too many people in my area who bike in the winter or at night while wearing only dark gray/navy/black clothes and just rely on a bike reflector or a small, flickering bike light.

There are people who just use a bunch of those little T-pins in the cube walls and hang wire hangers off them, so you should be fine.

Frs1661

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Re: commuting via public transit or bike
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2016, 09:58:36 AM »
For night riding, I have used this brand of lights for 5+ years. Get a headlight and taillight and you will be seen! They are expensive but of high quality and very bright. The $10 blinky red taillight at your local bike shop simply is not enough IMHO.

http://dinottelighting.com/



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J2

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Re: commuting via public transit or bike
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2016, 04:44:37 PM »
Check out WABA http://www.waba.org

Where are you biking from/to?

How about a hook like this for your cube to leave a few jackets?

Thanks for the site recommendation, they've got some great resources.  I'm riding from the Silver Spring area to downtown. 

My cube isn't long enough to fit any jackets.