Ohhh wow. I just looked down at my hands as I started to type, and WTH my cuticles are all torn up!? Granted I did just get out of the pool, and that always makes them look worse, but what happened? That only used to happen when I had to break down cardboard boxes a lot at work…
So. I am writing to you from the 114A Express bus – U of MN to Uptown, and wherever it goes after that. I am on my way home from school.. and I am not in my car.. and it feels SO good.
I have officially become a bike/bus student commuter. My lil Accord is still sitting out front, but I am making every effort to only use it when there is no other option. This whole summer I have done really well with eliminating/minimizing/combining car trips, walking when possible, biking when possible, and carpooling if it’s an option. It’s one of those things that just makes me smile.. I can’t help it! It’s kind of like when you’re going to a race at 5 in the morning, and anyone else out on the highway you know is going to the race too because they have their 26.2 sticker on their bumper, or their bike with aero bars on the back of the car. C’mon.. you know you’re sitting there behind the wheel with a hugh jass grin on your face!
I feel like I’m being introduced to a whole new club being a bike commuter. You see “regulars” on the path at the same time each day… people get to know you at the bike shop en route. And then the bus.. there are DEFINITELY regulars there. (cough** and some cute ones at that **cough)
I’ve talked before about the environment being really important to me. I wouldn’t have included “recycle” in the name of my blog if I didn’t care about it. (Ok.. so maybe not on the same level as tatting “I Love Alfonzo” on your hip, but close!) Unnecessary has been my signature word for so long, and it still is. Lately I have become really aware of gas prices, time wasted in a car, the sheer NUMBER of cars out on the road, and that is what I want to talk about today.
[ETA: I’m at home now… quick bus ride!]
Bike commuting has so many benefits! Aside from the “insider’s club” mentioned above, I can name so many more:
- you’re obviously helping cut down on pollution – each and every gallon of gas we burn leads to about 20 pounds of CO2 gas in the air, and that contributes to the crazy climate change business we have going on.
- Want to know what you’re gonna burn on your bike? Calories. Want to know what’s going to be heating up? YOU, because you’re going to get crazy toned legs.
- What about money saved? A typical U.S. family spends about $8000 per year operating a car. A bike requires no gas, no oil changes, no new tires, and maybe a $50 tune up. You can even get PAID to bike – the government started a program with some companies that reimburses employees who bike commute! If you’re interested in this program, check out this site from the League of American Bicyclists.
I’ll just start right off again with all the benefits of riding public transportation:
- Again, the big obvious one – helping cut down on gas emissions that are harmful to our environment. The average Twin Cities driver releases about 2.6 tons of green house gasses each year when they drive to and from work. (Source.) Um.. I’d rather not! And that’s just ONE person. Take that, times every other Joe-Schmoe-why-won’t-this-traffic-go sitting next to you.. and you have a very. very. large number.
- Minneapolis now has HYBRID busses! 28% better fuel efficiency.. quiet.. and clean!
- No questioning whether or not you’ll go outside after work and be snowed in.
- No more scrapping ice off your windshields.
- No more parking tickets.
- No more expired tabs.
- No more running out of gas on the high way.
- No more speeding tickets (hey.. if the bus driver does it, not my problem!!)
- Nooo more!
I ❤ Minneapolis!!
The fact that I have these options – public transportation and paved bike pathways or bike lanes around my city – makes me so grateful!! It is definitely not something I take for granted, because I have been in plenty of cities where there is no such thing as city bus, biking is used only when there are training wheels attached, and not much longer there after, the closest anything is a good 15 minute drive, there just really aren’t many other options besides using your car! Minneapolis for sure has a few areas in which we could improve our public transportation system (and we’re working on it – hellooo more lightrail!) but for my needs at this time, the bus routes we have and the bike paths are sufficient, and they get me where I need to go. I would LOVE if the Lightrail was extended to go up to St. Cloud so I could visit family without driving, but I have a feeling it will happen some day.
What is your public transportation system like where you live? Do you use it? Do you walk or bike places instead of drive? I feel like because this my blog falls into the health/wellness category, answers are more likely to be YES than if I were to ask the general public. But that’s great! And if you don’t or haven’t started trying to cut back on your automobileage.. I challenge you to ask yourself why? What can I (you…) do to start taking those steps? If you’re stuck.. here is a site that offers some great TIPS!
Well.. I could go on and on about this issue for a really long time, so I think I’ll cut it here. I hope you guys don’t mind reading a little non-running post every now and then.. although now that I think about it, RUNNING is a great alternative transportation option too!! Hahha.. a little hard to get those textbooks to school though. 😉 And because I’m not sure how to even write a complete post without mentioning what isss going on running wise – tomorrow is my LAST 20 miler before TCM! A huge group of us is starting at mile 6 and running the last 20 of the marathon course. It should be fantastic. (Ignoring the 5:30 wake up call.. I don’t like that so much.) Know how I’m getting to the start? BIKING. Know how I’m getting home? CARPOOLING!
Seeee ya soon peeps!