Monday, May 1, 2017

National Bike Challenge Starts Today

The National Bike challenge is a nationwide event uniting thousands of current bicyclists—and encouraging countless new riders.

I've been a Bike Challenge participant for several years now. It's easy for me because my daily commute to work combines riding my bike with our city's public transportation bike-and-ride program, where I can bring my bike along on the bus with me.

I started commuting over a decade ago. Back then, I was an avid runner, and I wanted to find more time to get the miles in. My solution was to give up my downtown parking and take the bus into work so that I could run the five miles home in the evening.

Originally, I had hesitations about giving up my driving. I had this notion that I was giving up my freedom or something. That, and I imagined the city bus (have you seen who rides the bus???) would be a horrible experience. So, for the sake of running, I gave it a try.

It turns out that I couldn't have been more wrong about the bus. The drivers are professional and friendly, the fellow commuters are no hassle, and best of all, I discovered how how great it was to relax while someone else managed the road. All that for a buck twenty-five.

When our local public transportation authority added bike racks to the front of the bus, I pretty much gave up running, which was alright, because that meant I could do what I loved even more: riding my bicycle.

It takes me about 8 minutes to comfortably ride the 1.3 miles from my house to the bus stop. Those eight minutes are enough to put a smile on my face each morning. Who doesn't love riding their bike? It's a fantastic way to start my day.

Financially, commuting makes a lot of sense. For one, parking downtown costs $75 per month pre-tax. I spend about $25 per month to ride the bus. Maintenance aside, quick math shows that I save $600 per year by commuting and not paying for parking.

That's a lot of chains and inner tubes.

Granted, commuting's not for everyone. Dropping kids off at daycare/school can make it difficult. Another hindrance could be time: unless you're living near an express route, or are in the mid-town sweet-spot with a direct connection to your destination, the bus can be slow. Fortunately, my commute from 62nd and Dodge on a local, direct bus only takes 15-20 minutes, which is not much slower than by car.

Still, I'd like to encourage you to give commuting a try. It's easy to find a route, schedule and ETA to final destination through google maps.

Finally, get signed up for the National Bike Challenge already. It's fun, you can win some prizes, and it benefits our community while you walk, run, ride or commute by public transportation.

Keep the rubber side down. Thanks for reading.

Over the years, my #trekbikes 2010 Madone has been raced all over the Midwest, but it now serves as my "B" bike/trainer/daily commuter. Its Bontrager Aeolus race wheels are as comfortably nestled in the wheel wells of  the city bus' bike racks as they are in railing neighborhood corners in super commuter mode throughout Omaha. #RideBontrager  

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