Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Would you ever bike to work?

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Greg Peck
Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I have a neighbor who often bicycles to work before dawn. He has flashing lights on his bike and gets geared up for his job with a local manufacturer. I donít know how far his commute is, but I know itís farther than my one-mile trip to The Gazetteís downtown offices.

I have biked to work from time to time during recent summers. I hope to do it more often this year. In fact, I rode twice last week, and I did so Monday morning, too.

Iíll set a personal goal of riding to work and home at least 50 times this year. Because I usually come home for lunch, that means I could pick off two such round trips in a full workday.

If I do so 50 times, I save 100 starts and stops with the car. Big deal, you might say. If you pedaled back and forth twice a day, you could ride almost 50 times in a month.

Itís not that simple. First, I have four weeks off during this bicycle season. Iím not going to ride when rain is possibleólike today. I gambled Monday morning and was home for lunch when it started raining. I pack an umbrella in my backpack when I bike, so I could always walk home for lunch in the rain if need be. Iím also not going to bicycle when itís so hot Iíll work up a sweat by the time I arrive at work. Thatís not cool, pardon the pun.

I canít bicycle to work if I might need to take a work-related trip with the car or head somewhere right after work, and Iím also not going to bicycle during the height of allergy season. Iím guessing the spring pollen season is about to burst forth.

In recent years, I wouldnít bother wrestling the bike down from the rack if I couldnít use it going back and forth to work both times during a given day. This year, however, I will make the commitment to do so to pile up more ridesóperhaps biking to work and home during just the morning or the afternoon if the need for the car or weather precludes bicycling for both halves of my workday.

My bicycling trips to work didnít get off to a great start. The first time I rode, last Thursday, the breeze was so stiff and cool in the morning that I wondered why I decided to pedal. On my trip home, one gear shifter wasnít working, and that made riding up Courthouse Hill problematic. I got that fixed this weekend. On Monday, I was about four blocks from home when I realized I didnít have my security pass for the office and had to turn around.

Last week, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation was promoting a ďBike BuddiesĒ program in conjunction with Earth Week, April 21-27. Riders could register online and indicate match preferences to find someone to ride with. Anyone doing so would receive a free reflective bike band to be worn on the arm or leg.

ďRiding to work with a companion can be an enjoyable way to get exercise, save on gas and emissions, and to help the environment,Ē The DOT said.

I donít think this program got much publicity.

Commuting with a buddy, with my short distance to work and varying ride times, wouldnít work for me. How about you?

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

Last updated: 9:19 am Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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