Biking to Work

a sign that I'm on the right path

I work about 3.5 miles from my house.  It’s downhill to work and uphill on the return trip.  Now that the weather is warming up, I plan to bike to work at least once per week.  It takes about 3-5 minutes longer than driving – so I shouldn’t have any excuses . . .

But I do.  Sort of.  I admit to being a little nervous sometimes with the cars whizzing by.  I don’t really look forward to my heart rate reaching 175 BPM just to get up a 3/4 mile-long hill.  But for me, what new activity doesn’t cause a little anxiety at first?  Like working out at a new gym or starting a new job, I think it will become second nature after a little practice.  Luckily for me, my route includes a bike boulevard and this sweet tree-lined street, where some fellow cyclists will give you a nod:

By biking I’ll stealthily get more exercise which of course leads to all sorts of great things.  As a bonus, I get to see things a bit differently from the top of a bike.  For example, the PNM building has a nice waterfall, there’re lots of cool murals downtown (and all around ABQ, which you can view by quadrant), and I love checking out the pretty gardens along my route.

This can’t really be about saving money for me.  Here is my quick calculation assuming my vehicle gets 17 mpg city and gas is about $3.45/gallon:
$3.45÷17 mpg = $0.203/mile  –>  7 miles (RT) x $0.203 = $1.42 /RT to work
I drive home for lunch about 3x week, which I would not do if I biked (I’d have to brownbag it to save any money).  So, it’s $11.36/week just to go to work ($1.42 x (5+3)).  Biking 5 days/wk, 40 wks/year is $454.40 in gas.  (Please tell me if my math is off, but be kind.)  Depending on your perspective, this is nominal considering the hassle which is why cost-savings cannot be my only reason for doing this.

My gear is nothing fancy, just the basics:

  • Some kind of hybrid bicycle purchased from Costco in 2006 – if I make this a habit maybe I can justify buying myself this one in chartreuse;
  • A helmet – placed carefully so as to not totally screw up my hair;
  • A neon green vest for visibility – not fashionable, but fully functional; and
  • A Camel Pak – not really for water but for storing my purse and maybe a change of clothes or shoes.

Last year Fixed and Free tuned up my bike and I think it’s still in good working order.  This year they filled up my tires gratis.  Before embarking, don’t forget to brush up on the City of Albuquerque’s Rules of the Road (where you can also map your route using streets with bike lanes).  (Another good resource:  http://bikeabq.org/.)

So, cheers my fellow cycling commuters!  Here’s to freeing up traffic and getting some exercise!  Any full-time or part-time bicycling commuters out there?

~R

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6 responses to “Biking to Work

  1. You could take into account the extra time it takes to bike x your hourly pay rate, you might end up losing money on the deal if you look at time vs money. And then there’s also sanity: does biking add or subtract from that? And how do you put a monetary value on that?

  2. It makes me a little anxious sometimes, but overall getting outside on my bike makes me feel better for getting some exercise and fresh air; and I am more engaged with myself and my environment than when I’m in my car :) As a bonus it seems to get my metabolism revved up early in the day!

  3. My goal this summer is to NOT drive for an entire week. I can get rides from others, but if I alone want to go some where it has to be by bike or I guess bus. I won’t be working full time, but I have responsibilities throughout the city and as early as 5:15am in the morning. Organization will be the hardest part.

  4. I try and ride to work at least twice a week once it warms up. I ride from Coors and Montano to the Air Force base. Its about 15 miles each way and takes about an hour. There are parts of the commute that can get scary but the city of Albuquerque has done a good job catering to bicyclists and for the most part the drivers in town are pretty cyclist friendly.

    • 15 miles each way – kinda puts my 3 mile commute to shame! Even though it takes an hour that means it’s one less hour you have to put in for cardio at the gym, right? I can’t wait until the construction is finished on Lead and Coal because the City is putting in bike lanes each way and the lights will be timed!

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