Bike Commuter Journal – The Wimpy Way to Work (So She Says)

Friday, May 30 by JerryFoster

Kiyomi bikePlease welcome Kiyomi Camp, who also serves on the Princeton Free Wheelers bike club board, as our guest commuter this week.

When I was in high school and college, I used to ride my bike everywhere, both for transportation and for pleasure. As an adult in semirural Montgomery, New Jersey, that didn’t really seem like an option, especially after my kids were born. I lived on a 2-lane highway 4 miles from the nearest commercial area and about 8 miles from my workplace and the kids’ school.

Then I went to my 30th college reunion. Seeing all the people riding bikes at the college brought back happy memories. I resolved to try riding my bike to work, at least during the summer when I worked shorter hours and didn’t have to chauffeur kids.

The route I worked out involved riding on the towpath for 3 miles then taking to the streets. At the time, I only owned a mountain bike. The first climb up Mt. Lucas on knobby tires nearly killed me, then I had to climb Cherry Hill Road! I changed my route to avoid Cherry Hill, bought slick tires, and eventually got strong enough to make it up the hills without having to stop. My route was about 9 sweaty miles. I work in a school and have access to showers so this was not a problem. My clothes and lunch fit in my trunk bag and I kept shoes and toiletries in my desk. I really enjoyed riding to work during the summers, when I could ride home before rush hour, but I’m a pretty wimpy rider and found the rush hour traffic on my road during the school year was more than I could handle.

In 2011, I moved to Hopewell, a mere 7 miles to work but on more heavily traveled roads. From Princeton Free Wheeler ride leaders Diane Hess and Andy Chen, I learned some routes through developments that minimize my time riding on The Great Road. I also make use of the “bike lane” (really, a sidewalk) on The Great Road for the uphill portion of my ride home. My new route turned out to be rideable at rush hour so I can now ride year round although I’m still a wimp and drive if it’s icy or visibility is poor (or if I oversleep.) My ride to work starts and ends with pretty nice downhills. Of course, this means that my return trip starts and ends with some pretty serious uphills, but I can reward myself with a shower and a recovery beverage when I get home.

I acquired some different bikes and became addicted to a couple of bike blogs that extolled the pleasures of riding to work on an upright bike while wearing one’s normal clothes. Enamored of the vision of myself riding to work on a stylish bike in my dress and ballet flats, I decided to give that a try.

Unfortunately, seven miles with a couple of miles of uphill each way is not really fun on an upright bike. I concluded that I really prefer riding a road bike while wearing bike shorts. I’ve learned to bring in a bag of office outfits on my driving days so that I can commute on my unencumbered “fast” road bike. I also built up a vintage touring bike with a Brooks saddle and Carradice bag for days when I want to look picturesque or carry my clothes and lunch.

As a wimpy rider, I like to make myself as visible as possible. My bikes sport front and rear lights that are used even in daylight, and my main commuter has reflective tape on the frame and rims. I wear a helmet, use a rear view mirror, and avoid road-colored clothing.

I don’t bike to work every day, but I’ve never had a day where I biked to work and wished that I hadn’t. I guess this means I should bike to work more often!

Thanks Kiyomi – if you’d like to share your commuting experiences, please contact wwbikeped@gmail.com.

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 – The Wimpy Way to Work (So She Says)

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

May 09   Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

May 11  WW Community Day – Duck Pond Park

May 15  Ride of Silence (rain cancels – check WWBPA facebook page)

May 18  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

May 18  WWBPA bike clinic Hightstown – 1st Presbyterian Church 10am-12pm

May 25  WWBPA volunteering at BikeFest – WW Community Park

June 01  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market; Learn to bike

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

June 15  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market; Bike tune up clinic – Bring your bike

June 29  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

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

July 13  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

July 27  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

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

Aug 10  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Aug 24  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Sept 07 WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

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

Sept 21  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market; Bike Drive – Collecting bikes to support Trenton Boys & Girls Club

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

Oct 12   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Oct 26  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market; Halloween parade

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

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

Become a Member/Donate

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