We recently bought a car from my parents. It's an exceptionally normal, champagne-colored 1997 Toyota Camry. It's a decent enough car. It runs well and gets good gas mileage. Seeing that Qian and I both are drivers now though, we needed to get a new set of wheels. So a couple of weeks ago, we did:
That's my new, 2010 24-speed Gary Fisher Wahoo mountain bike. I splurged quite a bit of money on it. I figured that if I could ride it in place of driving a significant amount of times over this coming summer, then it would at least partially pay itself off in saved gas money (and insurance, and car payments, and repairs, etc.). Basically, this is my attempt at us staying a "one car family."
I bought the bike with the idea that I would ride the bike to my work most days that it's not raining. During my first week of bike ownership, I rode it three times to work and back. During my second, two times. And this week, four times.
One of the great things about where we live is that we have access to wonderful bike trails. Johnson County, Kansas just has a plethora of biking options. I'm really not interested in biking on sidewalks or on major roads where cars are flying by. I don't want to die.
If I jumped on a main street near my apartment and just took streets, I could get to work in seven miles. But I've chosen to ride trails at nine and a half miles (each way).
Here is a map, from this very useful Google Maps Pedometer site, of my route to work:
As you can see, it is not exactly a linear path. But my meandering has some benefits though.
Here are photos I took both this morning and yesterday morning on my rides into work:
A golf course, just before I get on the Tomahawk Creek Trail
The sun trying to peek through some trees. I cross over a half-dozen of these bridges on the trail.
A more natural bridge here
Another downed tree over the creek
This hill is a bastard. It is the most difficult part of my ride every morning.
For every hill you climb though, you do have a hill to go down
A very Kansas landscape
This is one of the only bike lanes in the Kansas City metropolitan area. I'm really lucky that for the part of my commute that is not on bike trails, I have a bike lane upon which to ride.
I'm really enjoying riding my bike to work. Apart from the beautiful scenery, I already feel healthier and am not minding at all getting up earlier to compensate for the extra time biking requires. I can feel my endurance getting better already. I'm digging down deeper and am finding energy that I just didn't have even a couple weeks ago.
The times aren't exact, but my first few rides took me about 55 minutes. My rides today were about 45 minutes. I don't expect that kind of huge jump in improvement again, but such can be expected seeing that I went from being completely-out-of-shape to getting-in-to-shape.
No matter how fast I ride, I'm loving riding my bike to work. It's positive for me both physically and spiritually.