Yesterday was Bike To Work Day in San Diego. I find it amusing that the lit-up signs on the freeway have been advertising this for the past week or so. My guess is that, most likely, the peeps taking the freeway to work, are doing so because it is not feasible to travel any other way! I don’t even think bikes are allowed on the freeway, though the thought of seeing that is pretty amusing.
I guess this is an okay idea in theory. Be healthy, be environmentally sound, blah blah. But honestly, the whole Bike To Work Thing is only do-able in certain circumstances. Otherwise, there’s a whole bunch of hurdles.
Distance. My commute, one way, is over 12 miles. That’s a straight shot on the freeway. If I found some back-roads method, it’d probably be a hell of a lot longer. That being said, I know people who travel a lot more than my measily 12 miles. I know people who commute from the southern tip of the county, to the northern tip. I know people who commute up to Orange County! Only a handful of my friends actually commute a distance short enough that they would not be completely wrecked, exhausted, dead or otherwise useless by the time they got there.
Time. Some days, my commute takes 20 minutes. Other days, it takes close to an hour. It depends on the traffic. But I tell you this – if I was to bike that shit, it’d take me half the day! And I already have trouble sleeping as it is, and I wake up too early. I don’t need to be waking up any earlier, then wear myself out even more by biking, and then have to work for 8 hours, thank you very much.
Hygene. OK, I don’t know about you, but just the mere mention of physical activity makes me start sweating bullets. I certainly don’t think that my coworkers and the temps that I meet with want to be subjected to greasy, sweaty MeredithElaine.
Apparenly there are supposed pit stops along the various bike-able routes, so you can grab a cup of water and a snack. Gee, thanks for the orange. After all that exertion, I don’t want a fucking orange! I want 400 pounds of carbs. Regardless, a snack and a cup of Aquafina is not going to get you clean. And not all offices in San Diego have some sort of shower facility on-site. I doubt that most offices anywhere have showers. Does yours? Mine doesn’t. I think that only one of my previous jobs did – and it was a large building with multiple companies. And you had to sign up for a special keycard and pass to use it (there was a lame-ass excuse for a gym as well).
So, no thanks, I really don’t want nasty, funky co-workers in my midst. It’s bad enough that a few of my coworkers picked up a Total Gym off of craigslist and decided to install it in the office, along with a few other pieces of fitness equipment. They start working out sporadically thoughout the day. It will never stop being amusing to me. I can hear them doing lat pulls or whatever the fuck you do on the medieval torture device looking thing.
Luckily, I have not yet needed to put Glade Plug-Ins strategically through the office. It is probably just a matter of time, though.
Cash. Yeah, yeah, lame excuse, but in this day and age, do many of us have the expendable cash to get a decent bike (sadly, a Big Wheel doesn’t count) and all the accessories (helmet, etc.) necessary? Eh, most of us need groceries. Or Coors Light. Or money to tip the Karaoke Host.
Safety and My Tendency to Freak Out. The final, and probably biggest reason I am kind of ehhhh, not so much about the whole bike to work thing, is this: Earlier this year, my boyfriend was hit by a car while, you guessed it, riding his bike to work.
My boyfriend works 2 jobs, both within reasonable biking commuting distance. When his piece of crap 1988 Honda was towed, he said, “You know, it is not worth keeping.” So he paid $200 or so for the tow yard to take the car off his hands, permanently. I can’t tell you how much was wrong with this car. But to keep it and then fix it, so that is was, um, able to remain on the roads legally, would have cost more than for him to just say buh-bye to the damn thing.
So he goes to Target, gets some funky red mountain bike thing. And a helmet. Because, you know, safety first and all that. Well, early one morning, he was riding down the hill, and a car passed him, then made a right turn at the intersection – right where the boyfriend was. Smack. I get a call from his coworker (and our former housemate), saying that they had just got a call that he wasn’t coming in to work because he was hit by a car. It was 7:30AM, I had just gotten to work, and I freaked out. I called the nearest hospital, confirmed he was there and then drove like a madwoman back down the freeway to see him. It’s kind of miraculous that he only had some scrapes, road rash and minor injuries. But still – they kept him in the hospital for 36 hours, and he was out of work for a week. And I was given the scare of my life. All because some asshole had difficulty “sharing the road.”
I also had a humiliating incident falling off of my bike when I was 12. In front of the gas station where all the cool older kids hung out. That could be another another reason why it is highly unlikely that I will get on a bike – to “Bike To Work” or any other reason.
I’m curious if any of my local readers (I think I may have one or two) participated in Bike To Work Day? Or know anyone who did? Or if there are similar events in other cities that people have participated in?