Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Work Commute

I commute to work on my bicycle year round.  I drive a car on an exception basis, such as when there is a bad storm, or ice, or I have other errands to do during the day.  My commute is 8 miles each way, and takes me about 35 minutes, on average.  Driving a car with no traffic might be 15 or 20 minutes--other days up to 30 minutes.

My motivations are saving fuel and other car expenses, saving the environment, good physical exercise, and mental health (feeling of accomplishment, and time to think or listen to an audio book).

Commuting by bicycle has its roots for me when I rode to school, perhaps some in 2nd grade, but certainly 6th through 9th grades.  On my mission in Germany my favorite mode of transportation was bicycle (only in my last city, otherwise trams and buses).  At BYU I rode my bike to school, and often to work at NWC in China Lake, CA.  I didn't in Meridian at HP--narrow, high speed roads, for one thing.  But at Sequent I did quite often, and again at RLX.

When I started at Intel I was a little intimidated by the longer commute (8 miles), but within a few months of starting there I had determined it wasn't a bad commute at all, and set a goal to average twice per week.  I've done much better than that these past 7+ years.  I've even kept a calendar log of days I have ridden my bike to work.

Earlier this week I brought a camera to document my route.  It was a rather rainy day, but I was dressed for it with my booties, rain pants, waterproof jacket, and waterproof gloves.

I start out on a short, uphill stretch before turning soon into quiet neighborhoods.

About three miles in I take a path under the freeway to emerge on Evergreen Parkway.  After heavy rains this path will sometimes flood, necessitating my detour around a longer route.
This day the flooding was as bad as I've ever seen it.  Sometimes I can ride through it, but not when this deep.
The past month they have been doing construction on the path, requiring an inconvenient detour.

I ride on Evergreen Parkway about four miles.  It is a major street, but with a substantial bike lane.

Evergreen curves around the Hillsboro Airport runway, then I turn left just ahead.  I was glad when they changed the strict, dedicated left turn signal to a blinking yellow (effectively a yield, and a boon to cyclists who don't trip the sensor to change the light).

This last stretch is a rare narrow road on my commute, but doesn't last long before I turn left into the parking lot.

I lock my bike to a covered rack just outside my building lobby (Jones Farm #5).  It is usually crowded with locked bikes, but not on this rainy day.

And there you have it.  The incremental added time required vs. driving a car is, I think, very well spent.

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