Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Riding my Bike!

About three years ago I purchased a bike from Craig's list. It looked a little like the one above, a Giant hybrid, only mine is plum colored and I have a crate on the back to carry things, as well as a rack on the front, but so far I haven't used that to carry anything. I also have two cup-holders, which hold my travel mug really well, so I can bring my coffee. In previous years I always intended to ride my bike to school instead of driving, but I never seemed to stick with it. This year I'm going to try to be more serious about that.

Here are my reasons for wanting to ride my bike more:

1. It makes me feel healthy. I definitely am one who hates exercising for exercise purposes alone. This doesn't mean I hate physical activity. I just hate going to the gym. I love doing things like hiking or gardening, or even running outdoors with a group of friends, because the primary focus is not 'getting fit', it is just an added bonus. So biking to work fits right in this category. It gets me to my office, but also gives me a bit of a workout. Also, since I only live 5 miles away, it only takes me slightly longer to get to the office by biking than it does by driving, since I have to walk about 10 minutes from the parking lot to my building. And I think if I start getting better at biking (aka not using the brakes on big hills because I'm scared of going fast) then the times should be pretty equivalent. Plus biking is easier on my knees than running.

2. I am all set up to ride my bike in a variety of conditions... or at least I have the ability to be. I got bike lights for my birthday from my mommy this year! A front white light, and a back red light, and both have various modes of flashing or pulsing and whatnot. Very Cool! I still have to get batteries in them and put them on my bike though. Also, I have a really nice rain jacket as well as rain pants, so even the weather shouldn't stop me.

3. This is my sneaky plan to save a lot of money. The cost of gas alone for driving to and from work is somewhere between $.80 and $1.00/day. That is nearly $30/month, just for the gas to drive to school. If you add in other car expenses, like oil, maintenance, tires, etc., the national average cost of a small sedan is around $.50/mile. Obviously this average changes depending on the source, but I went with that number as it is the amount Dartmouth reimburses for mileage on expense reimbursements for work travel. That is $5 per day that I would be spending if I drive to school, which is a LOT of money.

4. Opting for riding my bike over driving is the green thing to do. I have been a Vermonter for almost three years now, so it is about time I started actively trying to be more environmentally friendly. This seems pretty self-explanatory, although I did just find this disturbing article that basically justifies driving, since walking requires more calories, and food production has become so energy-intensive that the pollution from a car is actually less than that of additional food production. There were also some other odd facts* on things like how organic cow's milk is worse than non-organic because the cows produce less milk, making their methane emissions higher because more cows are needed. I feel justified in not buying organic milk, but I'm still going to ride my bike.

Anyhow, I kind of got off-track there, but I am Super excited for my new plan to ride my bike more. This is the third spring that I have said that, so I hope I actually stick with it this year. I have hopes of having bike-riding become my natural choice for getting myself places, and having my car be the backup plan. Plus I want to ride my bike to all sorts of great places, like the farmer's market, the local contradances (I'll still need to drive to the far ones, but at least I can carpool), The Chutes by the Union Village Dam, Isabell's for delicious breakfast, the Whippy Dip for delicious ice cream, and probably other places as well. Ta Da.

*I use the word "facts" loosely, as I don't really know the source for this info.