Please welcome another guest commuter, Melinda Posipanko, this week – if you’d like to share your commuter experiences, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I seem to have had this conversation with someone almost every day this winter: Question: “Did you ride in today?” My answer: “Yeah. It wasn’t too bad out.” Reply: Either 1)”Wow”, 2)”You’re insane”, 3) “Impressive”, or 4) a sad shake of the head.
Now to be completely transparent, “riding in” for me means a 1.5 mile ride from my house to the Princeton Junction train station. Not exactly a grueling bike commute. And I’m nobody’s idea of a “cyclist”; more tortoise than hare and riding an el-cheapo bike I bought at Kmart 5 years ago.
Let me be clear. I HATE COLD. So why have I gotten layered-up every morning to bike commute? It’s not a simple answer. I’m not crazy (at least not completely), but I really love using my body to move itself from one place to another. I ride my bike, I take the stairs when practical, and I usually take the easy-to-find far out parking space at the mall. Moving my body feels good. And even a short bike ride in the morning can make a huge difference in my overall energy level for the day.
It makes some practical sense, too. It used to take me just about the same amount of time at the end of the day to walk to my permit parking space as it now takes for me to ride home. I don’t have to clean off my car when it snows. Now, I pay $22.50 /quarter to rent a bike locker instead of $120/quarter for a parking space.
But really, I think it’s mostly the sense of accomplishment I have when I make it to the train under my own power no matter what Mother Nature throws at me. Me against the world…that sort of thing. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve driven into the station fewer than 10 times since October – and only then on days when the roads were clearly not safe.
And I’m obviously not alone. I’ve seen bike riders and empty CitiBike stalls all over NYC even on the coldest days.
So I’ll continue to suit up and head out every day that I can. And keep looking forward to spring!