Bike Commuter Journal – Cycling Rekindles Your Youth

Friday, April 25 by JerryFoster

Don Rekindles his YouthGuest commuter Don Pillsbury joins us again – if you’d like to share your bike commuter experiences, please contact us at wwbikeped@gmail.com.

Most people assume as a bike commuter I’m some sort of “eco-warrior.” While there might be some merit to that, my reason for riding is much more personal. When I first started cycling to work 16 years ago, the original intent was to build activity into my otherwise sedentary life. My very first trip to work was just a couple of miles – and it took me exactly 1 hour. I drove to a park near the office, pulled the bike out of the car, left the car behind for the day, and pedaled a very short distance. Over time, and as the park commission improved the conditions of the D&R Canal tow path, I was able to eventually do the full 35 miles from Trenton to New Brunswick. For the round trip I developed the habit of driving to work (with the bike), leaving the car there overnight (the building had security), riding home, and cycling in the next day – after a restful night of sleep.

While my original goal was to combat a bulging waistline, other health benefits quickly became apparent. I didn’t fully comprehend the chemistry behind it until I read an article in Bicycling magazine entitled “Riding is my Ritalin.” I’ve since seen other scientific articles demonstrating a link between cycling and happiness. So, as I like to say: “Rekindle your youth; hop on a bicycle.”

http://www.bicycling.com/news/featured-stories/riding-my-ritalin

A version of this post appeared in On the Move, the blog for the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association.

Comments Off on Bike Commuter Journal – Cycling Rekindles Your Youth

Bike Commuter Journal – Cycling, a Moving Experience

Friday, April 18 by JerryFoster

Blessing the Bikes NYCPlease welcome back guest commuter Don Pillsbury – if you’d like to share your commuting experiences, please email us at wwbikeped@gmail.com.

I have to admit, some cyclists hold a lofty self-image of their noble pursuit to reduce their carbon footprint. But could cycling ever be a religious experience?

Spurred by a challenge from a friend, two years ago for Lent I “gave up my car.” Truth be told, I was not “car-free” but I did make a concerted effort to rely more on the bike and less on the auto. Before hopping in the car to run an errand I developed the habit of evaluating whether the bike could be used. As a result I rode in conditions I would normally avoid. At the end of the 46 day period I pedaled 700 miles.

In the spirit of Lent, the cost savings of almost $200 were donated to a disaster relief charity. But more than the financial benefits, the experience was priceless. Time spent in the saddle had an increased focus on my faith and what it means to me. Would you believe me if I said it was a very moving experience?

Photo from “Blessing of the Bikes” at St John the Divine in NYC on April 30, 2011.

A version of this post appeared in On the Move, the blog for the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association.

Comments Off on Bike Commuter Journal – Cycling, a Moving Experience

Bike Commuter Journal – To the Train Station, All Winter Long

Friday, April 11 by JerryFoster

Melinda bikePlease welcome another guest commuter, Melinda Posipanko, this week – if you’d like to share your commuter experiences, contact us at wwbikeped@gmail.com.

I seem to have had this conversation with someone almost every day this winter:  Question: “Did you ride in today?”  My answer: “Yeah.  It wasn’t too bad out.” Reply: Either 1)”Wow”, 2)”You’re insane”, 3) “Impressive”, or 4) a sad shake of the head.

Now to be completely transparent, “riding in” for me means a 1.5 mile ride from my house to the Princeton Junction train station.  Not exactly a grueling bike commute.  And I’m nobody’s idea of a “cyclist”; more tortoise than hare and riding an el-cheapo bike I bought at Kmart 5 years ago.

Let me be clear.  I HATE COLD.  So why have I gotten layered-up every morning to bike commute?  It’s not a simple answer.  I’m not crazy (at least not completely), but I really love using my body to move itself from one place to another.  I ride my bike, I take the stairs when practical, and I usually take the easy-to-find far out parking space at the mall.  Moving my body feels good.  And even a short bike ride in the morning can make a huge difference in my overall energy level for the day.

It makes some practical sense, too.  It used to take me just about the same amount of time at the end of the day to walk to my permit parking space as it now takes for me to ride home.  I don’t have to clean off my car when it snows.  Now, I pay $22.50 /quarter to rent a bike locker instead of $120/quarter for a parking space.

But really, I think it’s mostly the sense of accomplishment I have when I make it to the train under my own power no matter what Mother Nature throws at me.  Me against the world…that sort of thing.   I’m proud of the fact that I’ve driven into the station fewer than 10 times since October – and only then on days when the roads were clearly not safe.

And I’m obviously not alone.  I’ve seen bike riders and empty CitiBike stalls all over NYC even on the coldest days.

So I’ll continue to suit up and head out every day that I can.  And keep looking forward to spring!

A version of this post appeared in On the Move, the blog for the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association.

Comments Off on Bike Commuter Journal – To the Train Station, All Winter Long

Bike Commuter Journal – How Things Change, or Not

Friday, April 4 by JerryFoster

Please welcome Steve Kruse as our guest bike commuter this week – he chairs the Princeton Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and bike commuted from Princeton to Plainsboro through 2005. Steve joins us via an article he wrote almost 17 years ago, Two Wheels To Work, which appeared in the U.S. 1 Newspaper, May 28, 1997, used here with kind permission of author and publisher.

It’s great to get a view from last century, to see what has improved, and what hasn’t. Steve’s article mentions road conditions, policies, motorists both considerate and not, and several planned improvements to the area.

Steve noted that “New Jersey does not spring to mind as an especially bicycle-friendly place.” Is that still true? Maybe, but NJ DOT adopted a Complete Streets policy in 2009, so future improvements should include accommodations for biking and walking, transit users and those covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. As our readers know, the state has jurisdiction over only the federal highways and interstates and a few other major arteries. Fortunately for today’s Princeton to Plainsboro bike commuters, Mercer and Middlesex counties, as well as Princeton and Plainsboro have all adopted Complete Streets policies – click here to see everyone in New Jersey who’ve adopted Complete Streets.

Significant improvements have also been made to onstreet bike lanes in West Windsor, which are beginning to form a network. Steve mentioned staying out of the “door zone” of onstreet parked cars on Harrison – Princeton’s shared lane pavement markings (“sharrows”), including on Harrison, guide cyclists (and notify motorists) to the safe lane position away from cars. Plainsboro continues to extend it’s network of paved multi-use paths. The League of American Bicyclists have designated West Windsor and Princeton Bronze level Bicycle Friendly Communities, and Princeton University earned New Jersey’s first Bicycle Friendly University award.

As you read Steve’s article, what do you notice has changed? What has not?

This post also appeared in On the Move, the blog for Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association.

Comments Off on Bike Commuter Journal – How Things Change, or Not

Archives

Categories

Tag Cloud

bicycle bicycle commuting bicycle safety Bicycle Tourism bicycling Bike/Ped Path bike commuter journal Bike Commuting bike lanes bike path bike racks bike ride bike safety biking Community Bike Ride Complete Streets crosswalk D&R Canal Downtown Princeton Junction East Coast Greenway Historic Bike Trail League of American Bicyclists Learn to BIke Livable Communities Main Street Mercer County mercer county bike commuting Mercer County Park multi-use trails National Bike Month NJDOT pedestrian pedestrian safety Plainsboro Princeton Princeton Junction train station Ride of Silence Route 571 safety sidewalks Smart Transportation speed limits traffic walking West Windsor

Upcoming Events

Apr        Membership Drive. Become a member/Renew your membership today and support our local community.

Apr 29  WWBPA to participate in Community Day at Duck Pond Park (11am-4pm)

May 1     Scholarship applications due for Graduating High School Seniors

May 6     Opening day for WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market & Walk from Hawk Elementary School

May 11     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

May 20   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market & Kids Learn to Bike

June 3    WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market  & Adult Learn to Bike (9am-12pm)

Jun 8       Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

June 17   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market & Bike Repair Clinic

July 8     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

July 13     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

July 22    WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Aug  5     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Aug 10    Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Aug 19    WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Sept 9     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Sept 14   Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Sept 23   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market – Bike Drive (Donations)

Oct 7       WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Oct 12     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Oct 28     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market – Halloween

Ongoing – Register your bike with the WW Police Dept for Free

Volunteer Opportunities – Sign up to give back to the community

Now Accepting Applications for WWBPA Student Advisory Board

More Events »

Visit our Facebook Page

Follow us on Twitter

Google Group