OK..copying and pasting my blog about my first day on the bike commute...it's long
I truly believe we'd be a better society if more people got out of their cars and onto their bikes for their ride to work. I know that a lot of that has to do with the infrastructure and Tampa's is NOT bike friendly. My commute is 50th across Fowler, left on Fletcher, right on 42nd up to Bruce B. Downs (BBD). There is a nice bike lane on 50th. There's a nice lane on Fletcher. There's a nice bike lane on 42nd. Until the stop sign (don't know the cross roads.) The bike lane disappears. But it's only 200 feet or so up to BBD. There is a nice bike lane, but it's a really busy and fast street. I've got school buses going by at 50 mph, which can be pretty unsettling for a bicycle. Fortunately, it's only about 100 yards before a real bike commuter path starts that's 10 feet or so off the road. That's a nice path for a few miles, but then construction starts up and they've shut off the bike lane so I've got to take a detour and go back behind Lowe's and wait for that light. Again, I've got to say, that's a long freaking light. Maybe it goes slower since I'm out in the elements on my bike, but coming and going today seemed to take forever.
I'm about 8 miles away from work. I've got a bike lane most of the way. It's flat. It's an easy commute. I'm happy.
But there's still all the other stuff to worry about. I try to make eye contact with the driver of a car I'm approaching, but way too often they're on their cell phones or staring at their phone's screen, texting. And I know it's because that bikes aren't a big enough part of the culture; they're not trained to look out for us. I'm supposed to be a biking advocate, like Alan Snel, but I'm finding myself cursing the drivers far too often. I almost fell over on the way home. I stopped and unclipped because a car was right in the path of the bike lane and didn't have any idea I was there....but didn't get my balance and almost toppled over. I'm so glad for that save.
I left this morning a few minutes later than I'd planned (never good for a first go) but had a good ride to work. One thing I noticed though; the traffic lights lasted a LOT longer during rush hour than they did when I did the same ride at mid day. So, waiting for traffic lights or hitting traffic lights correctly can probably add or subtract 8 or so minutes from my commute.
Got to work, and had not planned properly. Couldn't find my bike lock so I spent minutes fumbling for that. Made my way to the gym and to the shower. Had 15 minutes to undress, shower, dry off, do hair and face, dress and make it to my desk. And I fought with the plumbing. I thought turning the valve on all the way would get me hot water, but it didn't seem to work. I danced in a cold water shower. Didn't take a full shower; didn't have time. Had a PTA shower. Got some hot water by turning the valve half way back to cold (
) I was so confused but had no time to ask anybody. Managed to make it to my chair right at 8 o'clock.
Ride home was sweet. Arrived home feeling refreshed. Had some freaky moments..I was threading between two lanes of traffic without a proper bike lane. Was pretending I was NYC bike messenger. Hoping folks would see me in my bright red shirt. But, you know what? I arrived home feeling great.
Will continue next week.