February has been a rough month for me, in many ways, not the least of which because of snow and ice. When there’s ice on the roads, I don’t bike, for fear of sliding. When I don’t bike for extended amounts of time, I get cranky. Until this week, I biked 4 times for the entire month. I was not in a good mood.
So yes, we moved again. What we gained in space and home ownership, we lost in proximity to work. My bicycle commute is back to being around 50 minutes again. It’s been difficult waking up much earlier, especially now that the days are shorter and I start and end the ride in the dark.
But there are benefits to this longer commute. I now travel on two bike trails. One of the trails is wooded, and I’ve seen deer graze nearby nearly every day. There were ducks swimming in the stream last night. More often than not, I’ve had drivers stop at intersections and wave me through. These moments make up for the more challenging parts of the commute, involving riding in traffic and going up hills. I’ve more than doubled the number of miles I ride in a week with this new commute.
This evening, I had the rare opportunity to ride home with my friend and neighbor. Traffic was fairly light, so we rode side by side at times and chatted. It made the time go by fairly quickly, and the next thing I knew, I was home. It was such a treat to commute with someone instead of riding alone.
As before, I’m still adjusting to my new home and my new schedule. But the transition has been better than I had hoped it would be.
So far, commuting with the Dahon Mariner has been working out well. Most days, I lock up the bike at the station, but I’ve ridden to work and taken the train home a few times now. I’ve bought a (Tern!) bag and carry the bike on the train covered, as shown above. The elevator at the station hasn’t been working lately, so I’ve used the escalator. I slung the bike on my shoulder using the padded strap of the bag and carried it down, and no one was the wiser.
This past weekend, I got caught in the tail end of the storm, and took the bike onto the Metro without covering it. In the photo above, you can see the saddlebag where the bike bag is stashed. I did finally figure out how the wheel magnets work– I have to actually raise the handlebar height so that it doesn’t get in the way of the magnets when folded. Once it’s folded properly, it’s fairly compact– enough room for someone to walk down the aisle of the train car and take the seat across from me. It fits into the trunk of my car nicely, too.
The only thing I want to tweak is my commuter bag. My Arkel bag fits my work stuff, but I can’t fit a change of clothes as well. I’m working on it.
All in all, I couldn’t be more pleased with the Mariner for multi-modal commuting.
Ten years ago, I did not bike to work. I drove. Even though I lived 3 miles from work.
At the time, it made perfect sense to me. It took me about 10-15 minutes to get to work by car. By my usual mode of transportation, public transit, there was no direct route to work from where I was living, and it would have taken me 30-45 minutes. Driving was the most efficient way for me to get to work.