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January 23, 2004: Alternative transportation

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My boss has been doing the bus/bike thing to work every now and then for the past few months. I've pondered it, but never worked up the enthusiasm required to get myself out the door half an hour earlier than I usually leave.

This morning, however, I finally did it. Or rather, I should say that I managed to do it, but just barely. I am all about being sustainable and environmentally friendly, but taking the bus is more expensive than driving my car. Plus it requires exact change. For someone who rarely, if ever, carries any cash at all, this was a bit of a challenge. Regardless of all my misgivings, however, I did manage to leave the house and give myself just enough time to zip up to the store, get cash for the bus fare, and then make it to the bus stop with only seconds to spare before the bus arrived.

Each bus can handle up to two bikes, which fit into racks that have been bolted into the luggage areas underneath the bus. It seems a colossal waste of space, since without the rack you could probably fit a few more bikes in there, and the racks are not necessarily the most self explanatory, nor do the drivers seem to know the secret tricks to getting a bike to actually *fit*.

Once we arrived in Old Sacramento, we pried the bikes out of the luggage areas with can openers and rode about three miles through the park to the office. All told, I managed to score just a little under 13 miles today, which was a nice boost toward our goal. I also determined that next time I do this, even though it's such a short distance, I am definitely wearing my padded bike shorts. The padding was sorely missed when riding over the cobblestone streets in Old Sacramento, you see. Ouch. Serious ouch.

It was a nice experiment, and at least now I know where to catch the bus for both ways, and how to work my way to the office, and more importantly, how to wedge my bike into the bus so that the top of the luggage area does not remove the handlebars. I doubt it will become something more than an occasional thing, for a number of reasons (not the least of which had to do with the cobblestones). The timing is certainly an issue, since many nights we have somewhere we have to be in the evenings and there's little enough time as it is to scrounge dinner out of our kitchen without adding on the additional time of bussing and biking. But when I'm faced with the need to rack up a dozen or so extra miles to meet the monthly quota, at least it's nice to know an option exists.

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