I told a friend, who thought I worked from home, this fact, and he got a good laugh from it.
Truthfully, I did ride my bike into work (an office downtown), and then some, each day.
It was fun, and tough, and I think worthy of a write-up to share the experience. So here we are.
I didn’t ride my bike to work each day last week because I’m a treehugger or a hippy. I’m not even a hipster, other than in my mind a little.
I’m just a regular guy who decided to take on the challenge. Last week was technically bike to work week, a promotional effort tied in with bike month. That, along with the fact that I need some more exercise, was reason enough to do it.
Biking to Work in Frisco, Texas
Ironically, I live in the most anti of bike-to-work locations: the suburbs of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. As I rode each day I could feel everyone staring at me and imagined them thinking there was something wrong with me. In fact, a friend even saw me on the road and texted me asking if I needed a ride.
Although it seems like this is the road biking and racing capital of the world, there aren’t that many biking commuters. Everything here is so spread out. I try to keep my world small (it helps to keep you sane), but it’s rare that you aren’t driving 15 miles one-way on a weekly basis for something routine.
Most couples here wouldn’t dare attempt a life without two vehicles, much less just relying on bikes or public transportation.
And those who do dare take to the roads here on a bike must deal with more pickup trucks and SUVs on the road per capita than any other place in the world. I mostly stuck to the sidewalks and picked up a good helmet by Wednesday after feeling pretty vulnerable those first two days.
My Commute and Results
I’m thankful that my office is 3.1 miles from my house. That doesn’t sound like a long way, and it wasn’t at first. But by the end of the week, I was slightly dreading the ride.
Probably more so because of my lack of bike shape though. I hadn’t ridden my bike in probably a year and a half before last week’s challenge. But the ride was also tough because there were a couple of really windy and warm days, along with one rainy day.
I’m lucky in that I don’t have clients or coworkers, so it didn’t matter that I would come to the office sweaty and wearing shorts. I stuck it out though and had a lot of fun and got a lot of satisfaction from it in the end.
My bike held up well. It had a little trouble in the 15 to 16 speed range on the derailleur, and the tires started leaking air really badly by the last day. But given that I hadn’t ridden it much lately and it’s twelve years old, I was pleased with how it handled the week. Here’s a breakdown of the mileage I rode:
- Monday – 11.4 Miles – 1 Hour – Took the long way to and back from work so I could stop by a place to get breakfast and a late lunch.
- Tuesday – 13.8 Miles – 1 Hour 15 Mins – Straight to and from work, but took an almost 8 mile trip to lunch and back.
- Wednesday – 15 Miles – 1 Hour 20 Mins – Stopped by breakfast joint on the way to work and went to the bike shop around lunch before returning to the office and then straight home.
- Thursday – 6.3 Miles – 35 Mins – To and from work.
- Friday – 9.1 Miles – 50 Mins – To and from work with a swing by my mail box and a lunch spot.
In total, that’s 55.6 miles and 5 hours on the bike.
Fuel savings is minimal, but savings nonetheless. My Accord get’s 23 miles per gallon on average, so I saved myself 2 gallons of gas or roughly $7.50.
The benefits go well beyond simply fuel savings. Biking to work allows you to put less wear and tear on your car, or even do without a second car. Biking to work also has tremendous benefits for your health. It’s a great way to get in shape.
Now that the week is over, I can see myself occasionally riding to work. Maybe once a week. As the Summer heats up though it will be tough to maintain that pace.
More resources from Bike to Work Week 2013:
- Biking To Work: Healthful Until You Hit A Pothole
- The Logistics of Bike Commuting And Staying Professional
- Anti Automobile April
Have you ever considered biking to work? Did you complete the bike to work challenge this year?