Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bike to Work Week Live-Blog

In honor of Bike to Work Week, I pledge to at least try to bike to work this week and report the results, experiences, and my thoughts here.

Day 1: 
Perfect weather, a little crisp in the morning. This is going to be awesome. I got to hear the rushing of water in our local creeks and saw a groundhog and a killdeer. Biking lets you take in sights, sounds, and smells that driving muffles or eliminates. The trail was wet in many places, but not muddy. Along with the water on my pants, my fears of showing up at the lab with bikers butt evaporate quickly.

I drove in the afternoon after biking home for lunch. While driving I saw a hawk and a vulture, so the two transportation methods are currently (unexpectedly) tied for wildlife viewing.

Thought after Day 1: My bike commute is about 7 minutes longer than driving. I've had bike commutes that were shorter or the same time commitment as driving and I've had some like this one that are longer. Either way, commuting by bike can actually save you time. How so? If you consider the fact that I got 30-60 minutes of exercise when I biked, then I didn't need to go on a run or take a trip to the gym. By bike commuting, you are multitasking and making efficient, yet enjoyable use of your time.

Day 2:
Perfect weather again, slightly chilly so I don't arrive all sweaty. Saw a deer and two scissor-tailed flycatchers. So biking is back on top for watchable wildlife.
Cut a couple minutes off yesterday's time now that I know the route. The trail still has wet spots, but I'm wearing dirty pants and going on a 10k run later this morning, so I'm not worried about getting messy.

After the run in Prairie Grove, I got a ride back to the office and biked to campus for a meeting and then home. Some parts of the commute are really nice (see photos below) and some aren't. This brings me to my...

Thought after Day 2:  Having separate trails and protected bike lanes really improves the experience of commuting by bike. If you want people to explore alternative/active modes of transportation, you need to put in place infrastructure that makes them feel safe while doing so. Running a trail through the woods along a creek helps make bike commuting more enjoyable than sitting in car on a congested 4-lane road. The worst part of my commute involves biking on and crossing a busy state highway frequented by large trucks and speeding cars. Luckily, Fayetteville is about to finish another section of trail that will let me avoid this part, which highlights my point. More people will choose to bike when they don't have to risk their lives (and lungs) sharing the road with cars and trucks; especially when that means they get to smell flowers, see wildlife, and listen to birds chirping while getting in their exercise for the day.

Heading Home on Day 2

Would you rather see this or a traffic jam on a highway?

Day 3:
The weather was great again this morning and I added a rabbit to my bike week wildlife list. Since all this great weather is putting this live-blog in danger of getting monotonous and boring, I will add that it sprinkled a few drops on me as I locked up my bike.

To be honest, if it looks like rain this week, at least in the morning, I probably won't bike. I've experienced bike commuting in the rain and it isn't pleasant. Even with rain pants on, something will get wet or you'll just sweat inside all that rain gear. Given that my route has me interact briefly with cars and trucks on a busy state highway, biking in the rain isn't super safe either.

Update: Oh boy, look at that. It just rained, but the internet tells me there is no chance of rain until later tonight so I'm probably just looking at wet roads and trail for the lunchtime bike home and hopefully no water from above.

On the bike home for lunch, I saw two deer enjoying lunchtime along the trail. I drove to work after lunch and that turned out to be a good decision, as it was raining at 5:00 when I left.

Day 4:
It was a bit warmer and muggier than ideal on the ride in this morning, but I skipped wearing a backpack which helped with staying cool. If you are new to bike commuting or considering getting into it, I recommend getting a pannier bag (or saddle bag) for your bike. These often come as a pair, but I managed to find a single (cheaper) pannier that came with a rain cover. You don't want to get caught out in the rain with your cellphone or laptop unprotected right?

So far it has been a great week for biking to work, but I'm afraid that is translating into somewhat monotonous reading material. So for your viewing pleasure, please check out these great videos of a guy learning how to get around that one reason he didn't bike to work:

Day 5:
Warm and muggy again, but still more enjoyable than driving. I forgot to wear sunglasses, so I got a healthy dose of pollen and concrete plant dust in my eyes.

I joined a small, new bike gang to get to lunch at Nomads and later biked up to Columbus House for a biker discount on a couple great beers. After that, I went to a new farmers market and then biked home. All in all, a great week of biking. I plan to keep it up (at least until it gets crazy hot) how about you?

This is the last day of bike to work week and I biked every day! Now the question is do I participate in Ditch the Keys Week?


  1. Informative post for bike lover. Actually, your article photos are also attractive. I love my bikes too though my one is backdated. :( Please suggest me some good bicycle for personal use.

  2. I would like to thanks for your video. Thanks also for your nice article

  3. This post or blog is very excellent and informative for bike lovers.Thank you for your informative video.