I wrote about commuting by bicycle a couple months ago, but it was too cold, and got dark too early to seriously consider commuting home from work in the evenings. With the weather warming up and the daylight lasting longer I’ve decided to tune up the bike, purchase a helmet and map out a safe route home. My wife will drop me off at work in the mornings with my bicycle and I’ll plan to ride home. Riding to work is not feasible now because I am in such horrible shape it would take me an hour to catch my breath, shower, change, cool down, etc. For now, I’ll stick to riding one way home because there I can collapse in comfort.
Fortunately, my job is only located five miles from home, but those are five miles of traffic-congested roads not particularly safe for the bicycle commuter. I’ve mapped out a route that will make for a longer ride, but offers a safer, residential alternative to crowded city streets. I would rather take a little longer to get home safe and sound. Besides, I could use the exercise.
My initial investment is a bicycle helmet and Cateye bicycle computer (I actually bought the bicycle computer last year, so maybe I can finally get some use out of it). I stay motivated when I see the miles rolling off, and I will make it a personal challenge to increase my mileage on the bike every week. I’m not buying any fancy clothes, just shorts, t-shirts and some comfortable shoes. I know from reading other biking blogs that bicycle shorts and shoes are recommended gear, but since I am not concerned with wind drag or other performance issues, I opt for comfort. Besides, spandex wasn’t designed for us endomorphs!
By eliminating the use of my second vehicle we should save about $50 a month in gas, plus additional wear and tear on my already older vehicle. Add back in some basic maintenance costs for the bike and I should see a realized savings of about $35-40. Assuming I can sustain this routine for nine months out of the year that is an annualized savings of about $300. As an added benefit, I expect to lose a little weight from this routine as well. Over time I may increase the mileage by taking alternate routes home. This should add to the cardio benefits of using my bike to commute from work.
image credit: stop.down