Tuesday, May 26, 2009

With commuting comes great responsibility

Commuting in the Tri-Cities is not terribly different from commuting in Denver. Sure there are differences, but I get in the bike, wear a helmet and work my way through traffic. Four miles to work and back...very similar here as is was there.

The biggest difference I find so far is balancing bike commuting with responsibility. In Denver I had little on my plate...mostly the keeping the room I rented up and getting to work on time. I had more time to bike. I also had no car in Colorado which made bike commuting more of a necessity.

Now that I am home I find I have to make a greater dedication to a new passion: managing my time better so I can bike commute. Getting to work and back takes about 15 minutes and it is a very direct route. If I have to stop at the store on the way home, however, this adds a couple of miles and more time to my commute.

My home has many more responsibilities as well: A dog, 4 cats and much more...yard, dishes etc. I'm sure you are all too familiar with the work of owning a home.

In the end I find this all a great challenge. I find I could easily use this all as an excuse and sometimes it is all too easy...missing days I could be on a bike.

I am up for this challenge and look forward to managing my time well enough to continue cycling to work and commute.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bike to Work Day Tri-Cities

Friday was an absolutely beautiful day after wind, rain and cloudy skies in Eastern Washington. A perfect day to bike to work.

I have spent the last year living and working in the Denver, Colorado area where Bike to Work day is a pretty big deal. Break stations are set up along the bike paths and routes to serve a little breakfast or energy to continue to work. Vendors come out to connect with new or veteran commuters. Best of all you get a chance to interact with a lot of people who commute, even if it's just that one day or week a year. That makes a difference.

As I biked to work last Friday (May 15th) I did not see any other commuters and there was no celebration for Bike to Work day. Now I do not make this observation to condemn the Tri-Cities for not making a big deal out of Bike to Work or even urban commuting. It is an observation, rather, of a different area that is growing and changing.

Just a year ago there were fewer commuters and cyclists in the Tri-City area of Eastern Washington. With at least two clubs, a 20 mile bike path along the great Columbia River and more bike paths surfacing every year, the Tri-Cities (that is Richland, Pasco and Kennewick, Washington) are poised to make a very big deal out of commuting if not Bike to Work day and/or week.

Yes, this area has a long way to go to become more bike friendly and aware, but the first step is getting more cyclists out there to let the citizens know this is not a fad but a fundimental change in the way people are choosing to commute even if it's just one day a week, month or year.

As of this moment I am dedicating myself to helping Bike to Work Month (May), week and day become more prominent in the Tri-City area. Here's to Bike to Work Week Tri-Cities 2010!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Not a buzz commuter, but a novara commuter!

Found this on the Bike Commute Tips Blog. Thanks to Paul Dorn for allowing me to reprint this story.

Love the photo of loading the Novara bike (looks like a Randonee) on the rail! Note the Novara Commuter panniers as well.

From the Sacramento Bee, 04.30.09:
Commuter: A 'multi-modal' journey

In 1992, Paul Dorn sold his car, which wouldn't be such a big deal, except he never bought another one. Now he has written a book showing others how to get by with less car use or no car use at all.

"The Bike to Work Guide: What You Need to Know to Save Gas, Go Green, Get Fit" (Adams Media, $7.95, 218 pages) focuses on helping the 57 million cyclists in the United States "extend the fun they have bicycling on weekends to their daily commute."

"I didn't set out to become a bike commuting expert. I had a modest goal of creating a Web site, and that led me to have an ongoing conversation with bicyclists," said Dorn.

Dorn is not a bike rider fixated on speed. He equips his touring-style bike with a rear rack. He usually rides wearing loose-fitting hiking shorts instead of tight-fitting Lycra. "People should ride whatever they are comfortable in and whatever suits their style," he said.

Read more about this story, Paul Dorn and his new book on the Bike Commute Tips Blog.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bike Your Drive and more...

Since May is bike to work month I thought I would offer some of the great resources available to begin bike commuting.

The first is one I believe I've mentioned before: the Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge. This is a great first step. Most household errands are within 2 miles of home and the majority of those are done with a car. If we could bike even one of these per week, just 2 miles, we can be a bit more healthy and reduce our impact on the environment.

The next is REI's Bike Your Drive. This is a challenge and a resource for anyone just beginning to commute, a current commuter, or even those of you simply interested in bike commuting an d looking for more information.

Last is a blog and site I started reading a year ago when I started bike commuting: Bike Commute Tips Blog. This blog has been listed, along with a couple others, on my favorite blogs. The blog offers info for those interested in bike commuting, but wonder about the tight bike pants. Commuting can be for anyone and everyone. The Bike Commute Tips Blog offers information for those curious and currently commuting.

There they are...a few great resources. A lot more information is available and continues to grow as bike commuting becomes more popular and viable.

Hope any one of these may be an inspiration to get out and add a little pedal power.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bike to Work

So May is Bike Month and also when bike to work day occurs. Washington's bike to work day is on Friday, May 15th. I hope everyone will get out and do what the can to bike to work on that Friday. I know it is a Hanford Friday off for those located in and around the Tri-Cities. Please get out on that bicycle anyway and show your support for a great alternate, and healthy, form of transportation.

Here in Kennewick and the Tri-Cities the local REI and Ben Franklin Transit host the Commuter Challenge for the month of May. It's great to see a lot of people participate and support urban commuting in the Tri-Cities community.

I have noticed a lot of people commute riding in Richland and Kennewick as opposed to recreational or exercise. Hopefully the number of commuters and the diverse group of participants help bring awareness for such a simple alternative to sitting in a car and burning fuel everyday.

I hope you all decide to take the challenge of riding your bike, or even borrowing a friend/relative's extra bike and get out on May 15.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Buzz commuter moves to Eastern Washington

A little over a year ago I moved to Colorado leaving my wife and home to work. Part of pursuing my career ended up including bike commuting for that year.

Now, for various reasons, I am back in Eastern Washington back with my wife and home...still dedicated to bike commuting.

Over the last couple of weeks, as I ride in this area, I can't help but compare urban commuting and cycling in general to Colorado. So much is different.

Even though traffic and drivers could be challenging in Colorado; here I feel as though drivers do not even care about sharing the road with an alternate and far older form of transportation. Even in the bike lane drivers pass well within three feet. It is challenging.

May is bike to work month and I plan on making the commute as much as possible. I also hope to build urban commuting awareness in this area over the next year.