Monday, August 25, 2008

A Day in the Life (part 3)

Jack finishes up his workout with some stretching, gets back on his bike and heads off to work. He heads straight for the bike racks in the garage. When he gets there, he laments how little room they have for bike commuters. When is the building going to realize that bike commuters need more space?

He is used to being dissed on this issue. 5-10 years ago, you never heard of people commuting to work on bikes. Even now, when the price of gas is through the roof and there are more bike commuters than ever, there is still an awful lot of people who can’t seem to understand the phenomenon. When the issue comes up, car people (aka, most people) often smirk, with a look of pity on their face. The questions are always the same:
Car Person: How long does it take you to bike to work?
Jack: Umm...about 15 minutes each way. When I used to live in Virginia my commute was about 45 minutes each way. Now THAT was awesome because I would bike straight through the trails along the Potomac and watch the sun rise every morning. On the days that I could leave work early enough the sun would set as I crossed the 14th Street Bridge. It was magical. :)

BTW, what do you do in your car every morning during YOUR commute?
Car Person: well, umm…I…I listen to the radio.

Jack: that’s…well…very stimulating.

Car Person: What do you do when it rains?
Jack: I bike year round, except when there is snow on the ground. Believe it or not, it’s actually more pleasant to bike during the winter; you generate a lot of body heat when you ride so there is more of an equilibrium when it’s a little chilly.
Car Person: No, seriously, what do you do when its pouring out?
Jack: What part of "I bike to work year round, except when there is snow on the ground," did you not understand?

Car Person: But you must need a car to get around?
Jack: No, not really. My grocery store is about 10 blocks away and I can get there and do most of my shopping with one, maybe two trips on my bike (I have 3 panniers that attach to the bike). When I need to get somewhere where a car is really needed I just rent a Zipcar by the hour.

By this point, Jack likes to ask the more pertinent question:
Jack: Well, how much did you spend on your car last year on (i) maintenance; (ii) gas; (iii) insurance; and (iv) repairs?
Car Person: Well, I don’t know…I’ve never done the math.
Jack: I spent exactly $235.79 cents commuting to work on my bike last year. That’s how much Citybikes charged me for annual maintenance on my bike. I probably spent another $75 using the Metro when there was snow or ice on the ground.
Car Person: Oh…that’s...very cheap…[silence…]
Jack: Yeah, I know.

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