For the last couple of years I’ve been toying with the idea of cycling to work rather than taking the train.
See, riding the train isn’t fun. It’s not like I can sit comfortably on the train and read peacefully until my stop. Nope, it’s not like that at all, instead the trains crowded, full of shoving, bad smells and constant jostling. On top of that my commute is about 45 minutes and I work only 8 or so miles away which seems kinda crazy.
For the last few years I’ve dreamt of biking to work. I mean it’d be great, right? I’d get in a good workout while enjoying being outdoors rather than in a stuffy train for 45 minutes… Sadly it’s not that easy.
Here’s my dilemma: I want to bike to work BUT there is NO good way to get there.
Living south of the city makes it hard because: 1) the most direct route is a very busy one, 2) the second most direct route forces me to go through Dorchester and Roxbury (not great areas) and 3) the only other route would force me to add at least 2 – 3 miles onto my route and it wouldn’t necessarily be any better. Essentially all of the available routes aren’t great – full of traffic and slightly dangerous. This leads me to the number one reason I’m not in love with the idea of biking to and from work: it makes me uncomfortable.
I hate to admit it but I’m uncomfortable biking through Dorchester and Roxbury.
Now, I know that every time I go out biking there is the chance that I might get hurt, I’m not in denial about that. However, I also know that if you are going through a very congested area with lots of traffic there is an even better chance that I could get hurt, which makes me feel even more uncomfortable than normal.
So yea, I’m not in love with biking into the city. Which sucks because I thought it would be perfect. I thought that biking would solve all my issues with my commute: I’d be outside, I wouldn’t be stuck in the train and I’d get in a great workout. But sadly it’s not that easy and I don’t think it’s going to work out even though there are many, many reasons to bike to work (all shown below in a great graphic from CollegeAtHome.com).
Trying It Out: Even though I wasn’t in love with any of the routes, I chose the 2nd option (somewhat direct but not the super trafficy way) and went out yesterday ready to give it a try. The nine miles yesterday morning went well (I’m definitely comfortable with the mileage) but I felt a bit anxious and out of my comfort zone the entire time. Essentially it wasn’t great but it wasn’t horrible so I’m still not sure if biking to work makes sense for me. Let’s break it down into:
The Positives & Negatives of Biking to Work
Positive: It’s a great way to use my commute to my advantage rather than wasting the 45 minutes stuck on a train
Positive: Great way to get exercise! My route is 9 miles to work which is a great way to start the day
Positive: I could get my exercise in for the day and always have a double workout if I go to yoga during my lunch break
Negative: I’m not always ready to exercise first thing in the morning
Positive: I wouldn’t be stuck in a stuffy, gross train for 40 minutes
Negative: I would have to carry all of my stuff in a backpack or on my bike, which isn’t enjoyable
Negative: I’d also have more stuff than normal since I’d need to bring my clothing for work that day on top of my normal stuff (food for snacks and lunch, water bottle, coffee mug, book, etc).
Positive: I’d be outside!!
Negative: Bad weather
Positive: It’d be a g0od way to increase my biking mileage each week
Negative: It’s NOT a great route for training
Negative: There is NO good route to get from my house into Boston
Negative: I’m uncomfortable biking through the areas I have to go through
Negative: I’m worried about what could happen to me (get a flat, get lost, get hit by a car, witness something bad)
My final thought: Maybe I’m uncomfortable because it’s new and different, maybe I just have to get used to it, maybe I would love biking to work if I gave it more of a shot, maybe it could be the best thing since sliced bread.
Tell me, what’s your opinion: do the positives outweigh the negatives of biking to work?
Honestly, I’m leaning towards NO but I’m not 100% sure yet… will have to think about it a bit more…
Created by: CollegeAtHome.com