Posted by Stev187 on Monday, April 21, 2008
The above video shows a bus rack like the one I used this morning. I do not live in Maine.
I have a very managable suburban commute. I live about 12 miles south of my workplace which is located in the smallish city of Flint, MI (pop approx. 115,000). Commuting to work is very easy for me; there is almost no traffic to speak of, and I can easily get to work using my car in approx. 15 minutes. This is true if I take the highway or surface streets.
We definately have a "car culture" here in Michigan. Without thinking about it, we often take our cars for very short trips--even without passengers or cargo. It's easy to get into the habit of just driving everywhere.
It takes about a gallon of gas for me to get to and from work on any given day. That means I can get to and from work for less than 4 bucks. Sadly, I have little incentive to bike or take public transportation. I decided to put some pressure on myself to see if I could do the bike/bus thing without losing too much flexibility.
This morning I left the house earlier than usual; I rode my bike to the bus stop. I left at 7:28 and got on a bus at 7:40. My bike easily snapped into the rack on the front of the bus. At 7:56 I got off the bus and retreived my bike at the downtown stop. By 8:05 I was in my office.
Total cost $1.25. So I figure that I saved about 50 cents by commuting to work via bike/bus. If I ride the 10 miles home instead of taking the bus, that savings will increase to $2.30. While I am not rich, the savings don't really mean that much to me. But I feel good about not using my car when I don't really need to. That bus is going to make the trip whether I am on it or not. Why not make better use of that resource?
For an extra 10 cents I could have transferred and taken another bus right to the college. My main concern about the bus commute is time, not cost. The bike/bus option eliminates the need for a transfer and extra waiting. In total, the bus/bike option only adds 15 minutes to my morning commute.
So I guess I need to ask myself: Do I have 15 minutes to do a small part to reduce the use of gasoline? Sure I do, particularly when it's so easy to do.
It's also a cool option to be able to take the bus back, or simply ride. On the way home I am not in a time crunch, and it's okay if I get a little sweaty and dirty.
And heaven knows I need the exercise!
Monday, April 21, 2008 @8:53:27 AM
According to the famous movie, Flint was very depressed a few years ago. Sounds as if you found good work. Has your town revived recently?
Monday, April 21, 2008 @9:38:34 AM
You're probably thinking of Roger & Me, Mike Moore's film about the impact of GM downsizing in the 1980s. I happen to be a big fan, but folks in Flint are split about Mike and his movie.
The Michigan economy is in real trouble, and Flint is in many ways the epicenter. We have steadily lost manufacturing jobs in this state, and the trend Mike publicized in his movie didn't stop. There are just under 9,000 GM/UAW jobs in our community now. Yesterday's paper had an update:
I have an excellent job. I've been a community college teacher in Flint for 16 years. During most economic down cycles, enrollment at community colleges goes up.
Some parts of the community have "revived" while others have declined even further. Until Flint and Michigan as a whole are less dependent upon the auto sector of the economy, times will be troubled around here I am afraid.
Thanks for asking.
Monday, April 21, 2008 @11:05:20 AM
Monday, April 21, 2008 @11:33:36 AM
Steve that's awesome!
I work in Baltimore and live in a suburb about 11 miles from my office. I LOVE riding the bike to work. Not only does it save on gas, but the exercise makes me feel so much better during the day than if I drive in.
There are complications though
1) Tough to pick up the 2 kids from school... they won't fit in my panir
2) Ride back home is mostly up hill
3) Don't trust myself riding with a banjo (I've had a number of run-ins with the pavement). But that's okay as my coworkers don't seem to appreciate my banjo skills anyway.
4) Some of the areas I ride through are neighborhoods where they filmed the HBO series "The Wire". So I have to be a little cautious, especially as it gets dark.
I joke, but all in all, riding into work is a great thing. I wish I could do it more often than I do.
Enjoy your commute!
Monday, April 21, 2008 @5:00:44 PM
My wife and I are just now watching The Wire. It might be the best writing I've seen on television in years. We are watching on DVD starting from the beginning. We are now up to season 3.
Yes, picking kids up is not possible. Now that the kids are taking the bus, I don't have that issue. I am going to try the bus/bike hybrid commute this Spring. I rode home without the bus today and made it to my city council meeting on time!
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'Banjo strap' 2 hrs