Corner of Safety Street and Frugal Road

A lot of times in life we (the people of the world), will find ourselves making a decision to go with the cheap, risky decision or with the more expensive, safer choice. Like jumping on the solar stock bandwagon vs. just buying an oil ETF, or getting the seasonal best apples at the supermarket vs the free (possibly over ripened) watermelon at the farmer's market. Like choosing the special at the Chinese Take-Out vs the good ol' sweet and sour chicken or purchasing the good, known equipment for work vs buying from the lowest bidder.

Well I am at that junction with the gas prices. I am *gasp* thinking about commuting to work by *double gasp* bike or scooter. My GF and I have been working at the same place for the past year and she is quitting this week to pursue other ventures. We have been commuting together up until this point. Her car was wrecked during the ice storms we had here this last winter and I want to leave my car around for her. So out have come my bike and scooter, appropriately named Ghetto Superstar and Piglet. I will tell the stories of their names some other date. The scoot is in dire need of a overhaul, but the bike is ready to go.

So here is the dilemma, I live in Kansas on the Southwest side of downtown KC and work just north across the river of downtown KC (approximately 10 miles). So to get from my home in Mission to work in North KC, I will have to go some of the not so friendly bike parts of downtown. That makes me a little nervous. I do like to ride and have been covering about 20-25 miles a week in preparation so the distance isn't my problem, it's the whole bike vs car thing. While some may think a bike can rival any car out there, I can tell you from a few interactions that I have had, that a car wins that fight every time. Even when you are sneaking up from it from behind, while it is parked. Regardless, I used to be a pretty decent rider back in the day (cue Toby Keith - As Good As I Once Was), and was never afraid of traffic before. The possibility has it's health perks though too, what with the work out and all, which I could definitely use the exercise. Work has showers and lockers available, although usually meant for the Union guys on the factory floor.

I am equally encouraged by Noah kc-info.blogspot.com who has had a little bit of publicity on the radio and newspaper in KC recently. He essentially rides the streets that I had mapped out previously into the city everyday, so we will see. I really like his blog as well, he seems rather friendly and open. I have read his friend the CommuterDude before when researching commuting in KC as well. Anyway, my plan is to begin riding when I get back from the Philippines, it's all preparation until then.

I almost forgot, I love the scoots. Piglet (1980 Suzuki FZ50) has lived a glorious life by getting my brother through undergrad and med school and then getting me through 6 years of engineering school. Piglet (a play on 'Hog') is an underpowered, high mileage trooper and frankly may need open motor surgery to get it all working again. That will be my backup for the bike on days I can't ride or am late for work. 60 mpg won't make me feel guilty about the ozone depletion anyway. Grant could probably tell you some good college stories about it, but basically I chose a more expensive winter jacket vs paying the Parking Patrol at college. I loathed the Parking Department there and pranked them often.

I really want this to work out, because I do miss riding regularly on my bike. I am not old by any sense of the word, but I am getting to the point where soccer and lacrosse are causing me more pain then good. The exercise benefit isn't there when I am hurt with an ankle injury for two months and can't really do any active sports. I like the idea of bike commuting too because it doesn't really take away time from my GF and our pets and I still get to do a sport I enjoy.

I will keep you updated on the progress next month.

1 comment:

Grant said...

Long live Piglet!

I work about 7 miles from my house, and take some back roads through the West edge of my city to get to work. So I could easily scoot to work, but for that short of a distance is it really worth it?

I am starting to notice more motorcycles and mopeds on the streets these days, which I think is a good thing, and indicates to me the effect of high gas prices is working.