My New Commute

This week, my office moved from a slightly suburban area in Cherry Creek to the heart of downtown Denver. I was not exactly looking forward to the switch because my easy 7-minute commute with free garage parking was changing into a slightly longer and much more expensive venture.

Fortunately (albeit at the last minute), my company decided that they will give all of us an extra $140 a month to do with as we wish to cover the costs of parking/transportation to the new office.

Now, in my life I am motivated by many things. But few things motivate me as much as saving money does. So when trying to decide my best plan of transport to the new office, cost was the chief factor I took into consideration (as well as time-saving since I have to get home to my dog).

Parking downtown in our building costs about $175/month. Meaning, even after I get an extra $140 in my paycheck, I would be down $35. I hate regular monthly expenses. They make me cry.

If I take the bus (about a 30-minute commute total) then a pass costs me only $80.

If I ride my bike, then I pay nothing. Win!

My sister got me the cutest cruiser bike for Christmas. (You can see a photo of me with my bike on my friend Amy’s blog. She blogged about my new bike commute!) Since Christmas, I’ve only ridden it a handful of times: a couple of times to volleyball and once on a bike date.

I’m not very good at riding a bike in a city. The majority of my biking experience is in the culs-de-sac of my childhood. I don’t know how to interact with cars, how to cross a street, which sidewalks are acceptable to ride on, what the signs with bikes and numbers mean, how to carry a bag while biking, what to do when I wear a dress or a skirt, where it is legal to park a bike, bike parking etiquette, bike maintenance, etc.

But I am now a bike commuter. Fortunately for me, my bike commute involves two blocks of city streets/car interaction. That’s it. There is a bike-acceptable sidewalk that I ride from my house to the Cherry Creek Trail, then I ride that trail for a few miles, exit and then go only two blocks to my office. Score!

Slowly I think I will catch on to these bike rules. For now I am trying really hard just to act like I know what I’m doing, which I don’t do very well. I did wear a dress yesterday, which I think went relatively well.

It’s nice to have some exercise built-in to my day. When winter comes, I will have to change my routine, probably opting for the bus or hitching a ride with co-workers. It’s nice to have so many transportation options! Keeps things exciting.

At least for now. Ask me in three months if getting to work is still exciting.

Read more about my journey into bike commuting on Amy’s blog (and see the picture!)

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About juliemcg

Marketing, writing, editing, traveling, social media-ing woman from Colorado.
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One Response to My New Commute

  1. avaerewyck says:

    Julie, in spite of the fact that you feel like you don’t know what what you’re doing, I think you’re doing a great job. Here are answers to a couple of your questions:

    1) I think the signs with bikes and numbers you’re seeing are indicating designated bikeways. Denver has a network of bike lanes, bike paths, and “shareways” (streets specifically designated as safe for cycling). You can find a city bikeways map here: http://www.denvergov.org/bikeprogram/BicyclinginDenver/StreetsandTrails/BikeMaps/tabid/438249/Default.aspx

    2) Here’s how I deal with sidewalks: Sidewalks are for pedestrians, not cyclists, so I don’t generally ride on them unless it’s necessary for my safety (like at the Broadway/I-25 spaghetti bowl) or it’s like the last half-block of my ride or something. When I do ride on sidewalks, since I don’t feel like it’s a space for cyclists, I ride slowly, really watch out for pedestrians and give them the right of way, even if it means stopping for a moment.

    Hope this helps! And here are some more safe cycling tips from the LAB: http://www.bikeleague.org/resources/better/index.php

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