Gaining Confidence in Bicycle Commuting

When I moved to the DC area two years ago, I wanted to get into the bicycling commuter lifestyle, but told myself that I first needed a second bicycle built for that purpose. My touring bike is too expensive to lock up at public places where reports of thefts and vandalism are all to rampant, and the thinner tires aren’t made for negotiating potholes and curbs, I convinced myself.

This year I realized that I wasn’t going to take the time to shop for a clunker commuter bike, so I should just try going to work, to church and to the farmers’ market with what I’ve got.

While I’m not yet ready to join the many bicyclists zipping down the bike lanes in central DC, so far it’s worked out well here in the suburbs.

In August, September and earlier this month I was riding my bike to work at least twice a week, bringing it up to my office instead of locking it up outside. It’s only a 3-mile ride, so it doesn’t feel like much, but I do have more control over my schedule rather than waiting for a bus and it allows me to enjoy the outdoors more during the weekdays.

On Wednesdays, it particularly worked out well, as I’d ride to work and then to yoga class afterward. It was a lot faster riding the bike to yoga — about 15 minutes — than taking the long, winding bus ride to the dance studio where the class is held (about 30 minutes).

I also rode to church a few times, both for my once-a-month stints volunteering at the food pantry and occasionally to Mass itself. I felt OK locking up the bike there, hoping my good intentions while leaving it there would keep anyone from trying to break the much stronger cable I bought soon after moving here.

A couple of times I’ve also cycled to the Silver Springs farmers’ market, carrying home produce in my back carrier and side panniers.

Ted got me to buy myself a reflector vest and a rear light for the bicycle. I haven’t yet hooked it up yet, so my commuting days are nearing a close as the days get shorter.


About mariannedc

I just moved from Albany, NY, to the Washington, DC, area and many friends and former co-workers want to hear about my life here. So this seemed like a great way to do that.
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