Thursday, January 05, 2006

My New Commute

I've always wanted to bike to work, but I never knew if it would be realistic (and I didn't have a bike!). Well I bought an inexpensive mountain bike at Target on New Year's Day. I bought it primarily to ride with my daughter since she got a new bike from Santa. But I decided to take advantage of the new wheels and see if a bike commute would be feasible.

Dallas has very few bike trails, but like most cities it has designated surface bike routes on city streets. So I did some research and found an interactive map where you can see the bike routes (current and future). I then used the excellent Gmaps Pedometer to find my own route and map the distance. My route turned out to be about 9.5 miles one way, so for me about 50 to 60 minutes of riding. Perfect! An extra two hours of working out should help with weight loss and leg strength.

My first ride in was great. There are some significant hills on the route so it's quite a work out. There's only one area that's really scary, and that's riding on Audelia and crossing Interstate 635; lots of cars and merging traffic. You can see the route and the hills on Motion Based. If you have a Garmin Forerunner you should check out Motion Based; it's pretty cool!

My ride home was good but I didn't realize how dark it would get. I felt pretty unsafe during the last 20 minutes because I didn't have any lights on my bike. So after getting home last night I ran over to a bike store and bought a red tail light, a head light and a rear-view mirror for my helmet.

Today's commute in was also great. So far I really like the bike commute. To make up for the extra time I've been skipping my morning latte (saves me some calories!) and eating a really quick breakfast. I don't want my commute to affect my time with my family.

I don't think I'll do it every day, and I don't know what I'll do as it gets warmer, but right now it's awesome! And I'm saving money on gas and making one teeny tiny contribution to helping the planet. If you have the opportunity, give it a shot.