Sunday, August 24, 2008

On Biking to Work

My husband and I live in Eugene, Oregon, which not only could be called the Running Capital of the World (thanks to Phil Knight and Pre!), but is probably the Biking Capital of the World as well. We've got more bike trails than any other city I've seen, and almost all of our major streets have bike lanes.

We live 2 1/2 miles away from my work, and 3 miles away from my husband's. Because of the soaring gas prices, and because we want to do our part towards cutting down reliance on oil, we've been biking to work as often as we can. This has really reduced the amount we are spending on gasoline, plus we are not in as much hurry to replace my car, which is in need of major repairs. We're very lucky in that most of the time neither of us need a vehicle at work, and when one of us does, we trade off using our Ford Ranger, which gets pretty good gas mileage for a pick-up.

We bought our Gary Fisher mountain bikes a few years ago, and toyed with the idea of purchasing commuter bikes. Because space is an issue, we instead decided to put road tires on in place of the knobby mountain bike tires. This has really increased the comfort level of our rides, as well as the speed.

I work for a bank that has a storage room down on the basement level, so my bike is secure. I'm not sure how I would feel if I had to lock up my bike outside. Eugene is a very safe place to live, however property crime can be high, especially bike theft. Although my car is probably still worth more than my bike, the values are getting close!

Currently I don't have a rack on the back of my bike, so I take a backpack with my clothes and incidentals. My bike has rear disc brakes, which makes it hard to fit most racks, with the exception of the type that mounts to the seatpost. I'm considering buying one of these that comes with the storage bag that fits on the rack, so that I don't have to carry the backpack anymore. I think this would make the ride feel a lot better, especially on hot days!

Overall, I've been very happy biking to work. I feel wonderful throughout the day, as the exercise tends to give me a good mental boost. Oregon can start getting pretty rainy around October, November, so time will tell how I will feel then. I do have some rain gear, so that should help!


Jess said...

It must be wonderful to live in a bike and runner friendly environment. Here in South Florida, people would sooner run you down than anything else.

KD said...

We've actually had a couple of instances of bicyclists being hit recently, and then one incident up in the Portland area in which a bicyclist got in a fight with a motorist! Sometimes it's the drivers who are at fault, other times it's been the bicyclists.

I see crazy driving here, but I've also seen some pretty reckless behavior from bike folks too. It's too bad that some people can't follow the rules...would make the streets safer for everyone!