Biking by the seat of my pants: My first commute

When it comes to trying new things, I like to jump in. I don’t like reading manuals, and I don’t like looking things up. Occasionally, I do research as I go along in my process and run into questions. But I absolutely hate spending time reading a manual if I don’t have to. I just want to figure things out on my own!

When I started using a bike for my daily commute, I took a similar approach. I just jumped in and tried it. I let my senses and experience guide me.  For example, I knew I wanted to start slow. It took my body sometime to get used to walking long distances with bussing. I knew it would take some time for my body to adjust to biking as well.

My method was to start slow using a combination of biking and bussing. Sometimes I bussed to work and biked home. Sometimes I bussed halfway and biked the rest of the commute. Every Kansas City metro bus has a front loading rack for two bikes. Just be sure to fold the rack into place when finished, or the bus driver might holler.  Yep, another thing I learned through experience.

My First Bike Commute: From Martini Corner to Waldo

My first bike commute provided me with a lot of opportunity to learn. I took the Troost Max from 31st to 75th street and biked the rest of the way into work. After my shift was over, I walked outside to find a sky of doom. There was a blanket of dark grey clouds drooping from the sky, and I hoped I could beat them by biking to my next destination rather quickly. Oh, it was optimistic think I could bike to my friends house before the clouds starting showering upon me. I was about halfway there when Niagara Falls opened up. I had no choices but to wait it out underneath a small tree for shelter. When the rain let up slightly, I biked the rest of the way to my friend’s house. Soaking wet, I made it just in time for dinner. I was just glad it didn’t hail.

A photo I took while sheltered under a tree.

A photo I took while sheltered under a tree.

The next step was making it home from Brookside to the Martini Corner area where I live. I had dry garments thanks to the help of my friend. I faced a decision.  To bike? To Bus? Both? I hopped on my bike and started riding around, not quite knowing the best route and heading in the general direction of home.

After a few turns here and there, I spotted a sign!!!!

bikeRoute

A Bike Route Sign

Feeling relieved, I used these Bike Route signs to guide me on a safe passage home.

The weather was cool and bathed my skin in a way that allowed me to enjoy a refreshing, invigorating ride.

When I got home, you can be certain I told my roommate all about my ride!

“You biked all the way from brookside, eh. That’s far!”

“I know, and it wasn’t that bad at all”

After my first round trip commute, I learned:

  • Starting slow is good, but taking risks can result in significant rewards. I didn’t think I had it in me to go all the way from Brookside to Martini Corner, but I did and it was worth it!
  • I learned the importance of checking the weather. I still don’t quite know the tricks of commuting in heavy rain. Wear a rain jacket? Take the bus?
  • The Bike Route signs are a great tool to navigate the city without a bike map. Just follow the signs!
  • Best to have a change of clothes on hand! I can’t imagine what I’d do if I arrived to work and the only clothes I had were soaking wet.

And here my friends, is a photo of me during the rainfall on my first bike commute.

after_rain

Me after the rain! Soaking wet!

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