Author Topic: Today marks one year of not driving to work!  (Read 4603 times)

DougStache

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Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« on: May 01, 2014, 05:16:50 PM »
Hey all,

I am sure many of you can surpass me greatly on this feat, but I wanted to share my accomplishment in case anyone is considering cutting their commute and just needs an extra push.  I'd like to share how I started, what benefits it has had so far, and where we can go from here.  It really is amazing how this one small tweak has changed my life, and I'd like to keep this focused on just that change.

One year ago I decided to take another step towards saving money (likely after reading Curing your Clown-Like Car Habit).  I was also finding myself being very stressed after driving in rush hour, and the parking garage at work didn't help.  I made a deal with myself that I would ride the bus to work for just one week, and see if it was doable.

Fast forward a few weeks: I'm still riding the bus, I'm less stressed out when I get to work, I'm happier when I get home, and I've started reading more books; all for the low cost of giving up a little flexibility.  Where I live a bus pass is $1.50/day, which is less than I'd spend on gas.  At this point, I started playing with the idea of biking to work and found a safe bike route.  I tricked myself the same way as before: I'm not making a major life change, I'm just trying something new. 

Since then, I now have a great system of taking the bus to work on bad weather days, and biking otherwise.  Because of this lifestyle tweak, the following wonderful things have happened:
  • My wife and I only need one car
  • I am generally more productive at work (especially on biking days)
  • I am very rarely stressed out when I get home
  • It builds exercise directly into my day, without needing to go out of my way
  • Estoy estudiando español en el autobús
  • I have made a good (frugal!) friend who rides the bus
  • I have reduced our gasoline consumption by ~150 gallons per year

To improve further, there are two changes I'd still like to make.  First I would like to slowly change my definition of "bad weather" so I will bike to work more often.  Then I would like to downgrade our one car to something more reasonable, but this is a decision DW needs to get on board with and I am being patient.

What positive changes in your life have you seen by skipping the daily car commute?

The Happy Philosopher

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2014, 05:34:12 PM »
Badass dude. Nice work. I started biking to work a year ago or so but only when the weather is nice and it is light when I ride. I don't like dark or rain during the morning or evening commute - mainly a safety thing

DougStache

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2014, 06:07:44 PM »
I don't like dark or rain during the morning or evening commute - mainly a safety thing
Ditto, hence the bus!  We bought a house last fall, and purposefully picked it due to having a safe bike route and being one block from a bus stop.  I know some folks are badass enough to bike home in the pitch black during a snowstorm, but it's wonderful having the cheap alternative of public transit at my door.

spoonman

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2014, 08:31:40 PM »
Well done, DougStache, well done!

I've been riding the bus to work and I have been benefiting from the same things you listed.  The neat thing about the bus is that it is not time completely wasted.  The fact that you can read on the bus makes all the difference in the world.

welliamwallace

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2014, 08:10:47 AM »
Awesome! For me, today marks one day of biking to work! I just got my bike this weekend.

It was exhilarating and fun. My 18 minute commute only went up to about 35 minutes. I also stopped at the gym on the way in because I was feeling so motivated!

Sonorous Epithet

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2014, 08:26:08 AM »
I'm one month into bike commuting and I approached the concept of "bad weather" like a 5 year old testing limits -- with science!

My line of thought goes: "I know I'll get wet, but just how wet?" Many days the answer was "not wet enough to stop me!" One day I got my lap pretty wet. We laughed about it at my expense in the morning at work, and I had dried off by lunch.

The weather will soon hit the 80s, and I am worried about sweat. So my line of thought is, "Well, I know I'll be hot today. Just just how hot?"

DougStache

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2014, 11:02:49 AM »
Awesome! For me, today marks one day of biking to work! I just got my bike this weekend.

It was exhilarating and fun. My 18 minute commute only went up to about 35 minutes. I also stopped at the gym on the way in because I was feeling so motivated!
Nice job!  If you're just starting out, I recommend increasing your rides per week slowly.  Although just listen to your body, and you'll be good.

I'm one month into bike commuting and I approached the concept of "bad weather" like a 5 year old testing limits -- with science!

My line of thought goes: "I know I'll get wet, but just how wet?" Many days the answer was "not wet enough to stop me!" One day I got my lap pretty wet. We laughed about it at my expense in the morning at work, and I had dried off by lunch.

The weather will soon hit the 80s, and I am worried about sweat. So my line of thought is, "Well, I know I'll be hot today. Just just how hot?"
I like the approach.  My problem (which I really should try solving soon) is that I need to lug my behemoth of a laptop to and from work with me; it's a 16" laptop that weighs ~8 lbs.  One of the few times I left it at home, I ended up getting called for a prod support issue so I don't like just leaving it at work. 

Currently I carry it in a backpack, but in the summer it makes my back sweat like crazy.  I have a rack for my bike, but I'm having a hard time finding a pannier that will fit it.  I could request a Macbook Pro at work, but I like my company and don't want to make them drop $3k for what is largely just an inconvenience.  I may be able to setup my desktop at home with VPN/etc so I won't need my laptop for prod support issues - that may be the best way to solve it, but I need to check company policy.

Sonorous Epithet

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2014, 11:23:14 AM »
Currently I carry it in a backpack, but in the summer it makes my back sweat like crazy.  I have a rack for my bike, but I'm having a hard time finding a pannier that will fit it.  I could request a Macbook Pro at work, but I like my company and don't want to make them drop $3k for what is largely just an inconvenience.

Maybe you could task your company with finding a pannier that would work -- it would be a lot cheaper than a new laptop.  Hopefully your procurement people like a challenge!

DougStache

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2014, 04:30:14 PM »
Currently I carry it in a backpack, but in the summer it makes my back sweat like crazy.  I have a rack for my bike, but I'm having a hard time finding a pannier that will fit it.  I could request a Macbook Pro at work, but I like my company and don't want to make them drop $3k for what is largely just an inconvenience.

Maybe you could task your company with finding a pannier that would work -- it would be a lot cheaper than a new laptop.  Hopefully your procurement people like a challenge!
Hah, company has ~180 people worldwide.  We do not have "procurement people" :)

Sonorous Epithet

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2014, 06:42:52 PM »
Still, there's nothing like getting a little buy-in from your boss/coworkers/employer to help you turn an obstacle into an opportunity :)

marblejane

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2014, 08:25:52 PM »
You could try attaching your backpack to your back rack with a bungee cargo net. I do this and find it to be very secure.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2014, 09:26:22 PM »
BADASS in my book. Nice work!

DougStache

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2014, 07:02:43 AM »
You could try attaching your backpack to your back rack with a bungee cargo net. I do this and find it to be very secure.
This is why I love you fellow mustachians.  I should have thought of this, but it hadn't crossed my mind.  Trying this later today!

Sonorous Epithet

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2014, 10:30:44 AM »
I got a bungee cargo net for $5 from amazon made specifically for bikes, if you need to look for one. I think it was an add-on item when it comes to shipping, though.

Silvie

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2014, 12:14:29 PM »
Muy bien el número 5!

Here in Barcelona I live 350 meters from work, or a 3-minute commute. Saves time, money and stress :-)

Joggernot

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2014, 07:17:51 PM »
Periodically Walmart will have small cargo net bungies in the automotive section.  When they do I buy a couple because I use them on the motorcycle to hold my suitcase and laptop case when going on a business trip.  Yes, they allow a motorcycle for reimbursement.

bobmarley9993

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Re: Today marks one year of not driving to work!
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2014, 08:50:51 PM »
I don't have anything to share but good on you for making it a full year.