I love and hate bicycling to work

The title says it all. But I can also give you details.

I love bicycling to and from work because I get to see things I would not see if driving a car. Today I saw a lot of birds, as usual, and I saw a snake (which I almost ran over, because from a distance I could not tell it was a snake), and Mount Hood. It is generally only possible to see Mount Hood on my commute while crossing Tualatin Valley Highway. If I cross that road while driving a car, I can’t also look at Mount Hood. On a bicycle, I can get in a glance.

I like being out in the open, not surrounded by plastic and metal, and most of my commute is on a trail so I am not even in traffic. I like getting exercise. It makes me feel good to move.

I hate bicycle commuting because of Mount Williams. It is not a mountain. It is a really big hill. And the last 130 vertical feet are the worst. I know that if I keep working at it, I will eventually be able to go up this hill with much less difficulty. But it is hard work.


This is the start of the steep part

Also, I hate Millikan Way between the Nature Park and Murray Blvd. There is no bike lane on that stretch, and people always drive faster than the posted speed limit. Plus, there are curves. So I ride slowly on the sidewalk and apologize to any pedestrians I come across.

Finally, I hate arriving at work sweaty and with my hair mushed flat against my head. While it is true that I can shower at work, that means I need a towel at work, and clean clothes to change into, and I have to get to work earlier to be able to add the shower to my day before I start my job. None of these things is an incentive.

I also have some reasons why the Bicycle Transportation Alliance should schedule the Bike to Work Challenge in June instead of September.

  1. In September, it is likely to be cold in the morning and hot in the afternoon. Today, for example, was 52°F in the morning and nearly 80°F in the afternoon. So I wore leggings and long sleeves and a jacket and my full-finger gloves this morning, and this afternoon I wore shorts and a t-shirt and my half-finger gloves and no jacket. Thank goodness I didn’t also need different, more formal clothes for work or I would have had two outfits in my saddlebag in addition to my office shoes.
  2. In September, there is a lot more traffic, because of school. More traffic means scarier bicycling.
  3. In September, the days are getting shorter quickly, and by the end of the month sunrise will occur after 7 am, which is my ideal time to leave for work. In June, sunrise is consistently before 5:30 am, ensuring safe visibility in the morning.
  4. In June, I might start a habit to continue all summer. In September, I probably won’t continue this new habit into the next month because of the cold, dark, and likelihood of rain.

OK, thanks for reading my opinions. I don’t know if this link will work for you if you are not on Runkeeper, but here is my route.

One Response to “I love and hate bicycling to work”

  1. leetramp Says:

    Congratulations on your ride. I agree that most bike commutes are love/hate–there’s those parts you love and those parts you hate. My new school is about six miles from my home, and I’ve ridden all 15 days so far!!! It helps that parking would cost a lot, and public transit would take longer, so I keep riding. Traffic is not pleasant, but at least in the morning I’m before most of it (school hours are good for some things), and if I get out of school before 4:30, I can bet bad traffic on the way home–incentive to not stay too long after the kids leave!

    Down here in the San Francisco area (hey, San FRANcisco!), they hold Bike to Work days in May, so you have to tell those Portland people to get with the rest of us :-)

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