Author Topic: Biking my way to health and wealth  (Read 13515 times)

sideways8

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #50 on: March 05, 2012, 05:56:25 PM »
Oh, for other Illinois residents looking into biking on the roads: The Illinois Department of Transporation has a map (by county) of the main roads color coded to bikeability here http://www.dot.il.gov/bikemap/state3.html

Parizade

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #51 on: March 11, 2012, 08:15:31 AM »
Thanks for the inspiring thread! I took my bike into the shop for a tune-up yesterday and chatted with the owners about how to prepare for bike commuting.

My commute would be about 15 miles each way, but it's mostly bike trail. There is only 1 stretch, less than a mile, where I have to cross a bridge with traffic. The bike shop owners have used the same bridge for bicycle commuting so they had lots of good advice for bright flashers and headlights.

We have a gym at work, so I can shower up when I arrive.

I will have my bike back next weekend, I plan to make a Saturday trial run on the 24th then make my first commute on the 30th. I will stick with Friday commutes only until I get my endurance up, then add a day at a time until I am full time.

Mike Key

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #52 on: March 11, 2012, 02:03:09 PM »
My wife and I just went for our first ride together this afternoon. 7.55 miles, so I'll have to work her up to my speed of 21 miles. We're happily addicted.

Chemistay

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #53 on: March 11, 2012, 02:21:09 PM »
My wife and I just went for our first ride together this afternoon. 7.55 miles, so I'll have to work her up to my speed of 21 miles. We're happily addicted.

Congrats! This weekend I went on my first solo ride for fun. Only 6.2 miles but I had a lot of fun and could have probably gone a little further if the weather wasn't so threatening and I knew my way around this city a little better. I also rode my bike twice yesterday (into downtown for some site seeing and then to the grocery store) which added up to another 6 miles or so. The last half mile of all these rides is a pretty decent incline but I feel a little less like I'm dying each time. :-)

Bullseye

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #54 on: March 15, 2012, 12:05:08 PM »
We own two cars, and I've been 'trying' for years to get back down to one.  The obstacle is that I work days, and my wife works evenings (part time), we hand off kids in between.  I tried bus, took way too long for me to get home in time.  I considered scooter, concluded it was too dangerous with rear endings.  Gave up for a few years and just drove.

Then MMM unknowingly kicked my ass into gear and made me realize that I could bike, at least part of the time.   My commute is 9.3 miles (15km) each way, mix of path, bike lane, and curbside of road.  I can park my bike in sight of my office, 100% safe from stealage.  If I work hard, I can do the 9.3 miles in 33 minutes downill, 43 uphill to get back.  Using a KHS Urban Express I got cheap on Kijiji, fitted with pannier on a rack. 

I've been doing the commute by bike once a week, on average.  Other days I wuss out because it is below freezing, too windy, raining, or I have to get home faster (I can drive in 15-20 minutes).   I figure my savings is $6 every time I ride, based on a $.20/km full cost (see MMM article on this topic).  I've probably just paid for the bike and gear I've bought, at this point.  I also bike to do shopping or errands quite a bit, with the kids sometimes.  I enjoy biking, but feel biking every day would be a big jump.

So now I'm stuck, still have two cars, and can't see a good solution.  First obstacle is that I don't know if I could bike to work every day year round.  This is Toronto-area, brutal cold and wind in winter, melting heat in summer.  No showers at work.  Carpooling not an option since I work weird hours to allow for wife's schedule.  Can't change jobs yet, for various reasons.  Can't move closed to work, housing too expensive.   Plus we like where we live, and it's very bikeable.  Solution - suck it up, get good gear and just do it.  Sponge-bath at work on hot days.

Second obstacle is that even if I did bike every day, my wife has no option but driving for her work commute (and also doesn't make sense to change jobs or move), so I'd be car-less with kids who go to 3-4 lessons per week.  These lessons are bikeable distance for me, but not for my 6 and 7 year old kids.  They are too big for a bike trailer now.  Solution - change lesson days or wife's schedule so car is available on days we go now.  Both are definitely possible, but I'm a bit worried still about being at home with kids all winter with no car.  Kids do bike errands with me in better weather, but would be hard on them in bad weather.  This obstacle is still easier to resolve than the first, in my opinion.

Longer term solution is for wife to work days instead, and me run a business from home.  She takes the car, and I don't need one.   Easy.  Totally possible, and will do it, but just not yet. 

I might do a trial run with no car, see how it goes. 

The payoff?  This is Canada, so everything is more expensive than the U.S.  By dropping the second car, we'd save;

$1,800/year in depreciation and repairs/maintenance (based on my long term accounting records)
$900/year in insurance
$1,000/year in gas

Nearly $4k/year added to the stash if I could do this!  Never really added that up before, though I was aware of it below the surface.

Not really looking for solutions here, just putting all this down on 'paper' helps me see the obstacles and solutions better, but open to any ideas or comments regardless. 
« Last Edit: March 15, 2012, 12:21:31 PM by Bullseye »

zoltani

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #55 on: March 16, 2012, 05:32:22 PM »
I'm signing over the title to the Audi today, and after that my only official source of transportation when the wife isn't home is going to be my bicycle!

Congrats!  Since selling my car I have not missed it at all, and now can't fathom locking myself in a steel box to move myself around the city.  There are so many sights and smells (some good some bad, lol) that I would miss.  I also like being out in all weather, sun, rain, cold, heat, it makes me feel more like a human, like I am alive. 

Mike Key

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #56 on: March 18, 2012, 12:29:05 AM »
Wife is now up to 21 miles with me, she's ready to do a test run to work.

James

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #57 on: March 29, 2012, 10:00:34 AM »
I've been wimping out on the bike riding with the cold mornings recently, thanks for the punch in the face I gave myself after reading what others are doing to make it work.  I'll be riding tomorrow!

KimPossible

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #58 on: April 02, 2012, 06:59:15 AM »
I got a bike last week.  I think it's the first time in 20+ years that I've been on a bike!  I spent much of Saturday making excuses to ride around town.  It was so much fun! (Of course, I'm a little saddle sore now....)

Next up, riding to work.  The biggest issue is going to be when I have to pick up the kids at their respective schools, but I'm working on solutions.  And there will be plenty of days when I don't have to worry about that.

Mactrader

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #59 on: April 18, 2012, 11:20:33 AM »
I'm very interested in figuring out how I can bike to work, but am having difficulty getting over the wussy-pantsism and hoping you guys can help work out the issues I'm having!

Here is my recommended bike commute by Google: http://g.co/maps/vvyqr (school is about a 2-3 minute bike from my home)

It's mostly country roads, so there's no sidewalks but also light traffic. The main drag is not recommended on this drive so I'd likely be able to avoid the 55-70mph cars whipping by that would give me a heart attack to be sure. This is Michigan, where people LOVE their cars and despise pedestrians, so safety is a concern of mine.

It's a 15 mile trek, which has me really concerned as to whether or not I'll be able to pull this off. I have a very demanding job with a rigid start time. The map shows 1:15 for the commute (I don't know what speed it uses as an assumption), which means I'd likely have to leave around 6:00 to make sure I have enough time to arrive, shower, change, etc. Not being a morning person, that will be a challenge on its own. I typically wake up around 6:15 now and stumble into the shower. I have reports that are due out by 8:00am (at my desk by about 7:40-45 to be good to go) and I think my largest concern would be making sure I don't stink from a sweaty bike in. We do have a shower here that I could use, so I'm thinking I'd pack my work clothes and get ready for work when I arrive which also leaves me needing less time to get ready before leaving. I'm sure there is a good way to fold kahkis/dress pants and a polo in a way that they don't get all messed up in the backpack.

The other aspect that gives me a bit of consternation is that I have infant twins at home. In an emergency, I'd just take a taxi, so I'm not worried about that. As I leave somewhere between 4-5 (and arrive 5:30ish) if I biked I would be kicking that out about an hour and leaving my wife with a later dinner and managing three kids on her own for longer than she is accustomed to. There may be something coming down the pipe soon that'll allow me to leave closer to 4:00, which would alleviate that issue, but it's not for sure yet and a work in a progress.

I think that about covers all of my concerns with biking into work. I'm counting on the strength of your mustaches to punch holes through my concerns and help me find a way to overcome them (and assure my wife I won't be a deadbeat!)
« Last Edit: April 18, 2012, 11:24:06 AM by Stavros »

Matt K

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #60 on: April 18, 2012, 12:13:59 PM »
I know nothing about Ann Arbor...

I tried pulling the route over to go down Whitemore Lake Road from Joy road. It adds distance, but may be an easier ride (looks like less city intersections). Google also highlights that road with a dotted green line, suggesting something bike friendly about it.

Biggest suggestion - don't try the route out on a work day. To see if you can do it, take a weekend ride down your chosen path and see how it goes. Take a break downtown (maybe have lunch?) and head home (possibly trying a different route).

This will give you a better idea of time than Google's estimate. I've found ride times are remarkably consistent if you don't have many traffic lights in the trip. For me, a really slow and lousy ride is only five to ten minutes longer (over an 11 mile ride) than a good quick ride. It is really nice not to be at the whim of traffic jams and construction slow downs.

Chemistay

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #61 on: April 18, 2012, 03:45:04 PM »
So I've been biking consistently for 1.5 months. The first month of that was in a small German city that had amazing bike lanes (mostly separated from the road and large intersections with over/underpasses for the bike lanes - it was seriously awesome). And for the past two weeks I've been back in California. Its been going pretty well and I haven't been at all tempted to start paying for parking/gas again...until today.

Someone ran a red light when I was in the middle of an intersection and came within inches of plowing into me. If they hadn't slammed on the breaks at the last minute and swerved out of the way, I would definitely have been hit straight on at about 30mph. Luckily there was no one else in the intersection for them to hit while avoiding me and nothing terrible happened to anyone except my life flashing before my eyes. Even though I'm relatively new to biking, I grew up with cyclist parents and know quite a bit about being a safe/defensive biker in terms of where to ride in a lane, what cars expect at stop signs/intersections/etc. but I'm really shaken up by what happened today. I know it would have been the same result if I was walking across the intersection but I can't help but think being t-boned by a car going 30 mph is going to do a lot less harm than being run over. Any thoughts? Words of wisdom? Advice?

sol

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #62 on: April 18, 2012, 04:04:01 PM »
I've been hit twice. It's not really so bad.  Just wear your helmet.

I don't think it's any more dangerous than riding a motorcycle if done correctly, and you have the added safety of not really being able to cause accidents the same way you can while driving.