The Chainlink

Seeing this article about car trouble leading to bike commuting made me think... we have lots of great stories right here. Sooooo, tell us how you started bike commuting, how long you’ve been riding to work and what changes you’ve experienced by making the change. Also, if you multi-modal e.g. bike-train, what is that like?

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I began riding to work in 2012 - a combo of bike/Metra. Now I ride bike/Metro (in DC). I think the thing that's changed for me is how easy it is because I do it every day, without thinking too much about it. It's just a part of what I do - getting the backpack and water bottle ready, getting my helmet on and heading out the door. Sure, I experience not great drivers, lack of infrastructure, etc. but today as I rolled up to our office parking lot, look who was there to greet me. 

I began biking to work in the mid-1970's when I lived in the Society Hill area of Philadelphia, down by the Delaware River.  It was a charming restored colonial neighborhood, with brick streets, small houses, and gaslite street lamps.  But I worked out by the airport, in SW Philadelphia, at the big GE complex that has since been completely shut down and bulldozed.

The Bike Coalition (similar to ATA) had just been formed, and people were beginning to bike around Center City, Society Hill, and along the Schuylkill River.  And I had been taking the old trolley cars through the tunnel under that river, past U of Pa, and out to SW Philly where they stopped right in front of the plant.  Very convenient.  But I'd just bought a bike, and wanted to ride it on those hot Philadelphia summer mornings.  So I asked the IBEW union workers at the plant, and they generously offered me a locker where I could keep office attire, and access to their showers down in the basement of that huge old 6-storey factory building.  I tried out a route...and found that I loved the 30-minute commute!  I mentioned it to a few other friends who lived downtown (not many of us 'pioneers' in those days), and they loved biking to work too!  It was the beginning of the Bicycling Movement on the east coast!

A few years later, when GE transferred me to their new credit affiliate out in Barrington, IL, I continued to bike through the hills of Lake Co. to the rural offices on a country road...much to the amazement of my boss and co-workers.  A very pleasant and safe 20-minute ride.  But unlike Philadelphia, no one in Barrington was ready to give up their car, no matter how safe the roads might have been!


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