So, today should have been my first “official” day commuting into work for Team Green’s Commit to Commute Challenge. I transferred everything from my laptop bag into a backpack. Purchased a neoprene laptop cover just in case of unexpected rain. Put all of my electronics into a zip bag (calculator, cords, camera, etc)… I was ready! Then, I stepped outside to strap my bike on to the car, and I totally wimped out! It’s FREEZING out there! I purchased some nice bicycling clothing, but it’s all warm weather stuff. I’ll have to wait until later in the week when it gets back into the 70s. In the meantime, I am still carpooling with my fiance, Jon, to reduce our fuel costs (and of course, our carbon footprint).
I did go on one bike ride last week. After the Commit to Commute Kick Off Info Session at Harpeth Bicycles, a few of us went for a bike ride down Carothers Parkway for dinner. It was a beautiful night, and a great opportunity to test out the bike before taking it home. Our total trip was just over 6 miles. Three to the diner, and three back. We were not on the road even 10 minutes when an SUV (driving in the opposite direction), shouted out the window “GET A CAR YOU ******ING *******IES.” Really?! How does that make any sense?
Other than that (very disturbing display of expletives), the rest of the ride was great. Most of the vehicles gave us the required 3 feet of road, if not more. There were one or two cars that rode ride next to us, and that was definitely a scary situation. As a bicyclist, we can’t get much further to the side because the road drops off into the storm water ditch. Getting any closer could mean hitting the curb and bouncing off into traffic. We also can’t see who or what is coming up behind us (unless we have mirrors on our bike/helmet… which I do not). It’s startling, and dangerous to be that close to a car. If there is a pothole or any other debris in the road, we don’t have room to swerve around it.
Following up from a previous blog post, I found out that the reason the three roads leading from my house into work are so dangerous for cyclists is because they are State roads. Metro cannot create a bike lane or bike route on those roads without permission from the State (which of course takes a long time). So, on days when I can commute by bicycle, I’ll be carpooling in with Jon to his work, then riding my bike from his work to mine (just under 2 miles). That’s definitely manageable. Maybe as I become more comfortable with the bike I’ll adventure with some longer rides.
-Keeley Reed, Team Green Director