Three years ago, I remember rushing into the office after another subway delay during my Monday morning commute. The corporate elevator doors open up and I squeeze in among the rest of the corporate workers trying to get into their desks and do their jobs.
My mind was groggy and I dreaded going into the office and getting work done. It normally takes me 2 hours to finally break out of weekend mode and start getting into working mode. This morning promised to be another difficult one.
As the elevator emptied in the lower floors, I stood next to a young lady with a bike helmet in her hand. I greeted her and asked, “I notice a bike helmet, do you bike to work?”
“Yep, I do. Been doing it for a few years now”, she said.
I followed up, “how far is your commute and where are you coming from?”
“Brooklyn, and it’s only 4 miles”, she said.
“But where do you park your bike? You don’t do it outside the building do you?”, I asked.
“Nope, if you are an employee, you can park your bike inside the building garage for free.”, She responded.
The elevator door opened and she got off waving good bye. I waved back and decided to look into commuting to/from work by bike.
I visited corporate security later that day and they gave me a tag for my bike and a sticker on my employee badge to get access to the building garage. Now all I needed was to find the best route from home to my job.
Google Maps does a good job of mapping out a bike-friendly route in New York City. They even prioritize bike infrastructure over traditional roads. I did my search and found the best route to commute to the office. I was excited to try it out for the first time.
The next day, I made my wish a reality and cycled to work for the first time. The commute was 8 miles (16 round trip) and for the most part a pretty safe route.
Fast forward 3 years and I am still commuting to work by bike.
Though I bike to work year long there are a few exceptions. I don’t bike on rainy, snowy or very cold days (under 32 degrees Fahrenheit).
So, why bike to work? There are so many reasons, but here are a few:
It’s healthy for you. I’m getting a morning and evening workout which is great and has changed my mood tremendously.
It’s fun. Riding a bike is just plain fun. It certainly beats standing in a crowded subway or bus.
It’s faster. Via public transportation, it takes me 75 minutes to get to work. Cycling gets me door to door in 45 minutes
It saves me money. I don’t have to spend money on subway fare.
It’s Greener: It’s no secret that we’re killing our planet. I just want to do my part to help in this area.
Sometimes there are moments that you experience that end up changing your life. This time, it was a brief conversation in an elevator with that cyclist.
I’m glad I ran into her. 3 years and 6,000 cycling miles later, I’m still reaping the benefits.