Tuesday, May 6, 2014


It's been nearly a year since I started commuting by bus and bike. Time to reflect a bit, maybe?

In a general sense, the experience has been nothing but good. I really can't imagine driving this commute every day. Even carpooling seems a bit beyond my comprehension, even though I have a number of folks with whom I could share rides. No, for my personality and lifestyle desires, the combo of bus and bike works well.

I have learned some lessons over the past year, though. First is that just because you are first in line at the stop does not mean you are first in line. There is a small contingent who consistently jump queue. And there are those who actively encourage it. This seems a symptom of the feeling of ownership over the bus, as if it were a personal vehicle, of which I've written before.

Secondly, in winter, when it is 20 below the ride on the bus is going to be a cold one, colder than the bike ride it often seems. An extra jacket or a blanket is a good piece of kit to bring along. Strangely, though, standing at the bus stop after a good ride doesn't start to get cold until a half hour or so has passed and the body's furnace starts to cool back off. That is probably the hardest part of the multimodal commute - first you get warm and then you cool off and, if you were sweaty, its hard to get warm again.

Third, getting ill in the middle of the day is a pain. The bus runs until 9 in the morning and then not again until 2 in the afternoon. So there is a big stretch where, no matter what, I'm stuck here.

Fourth, it might actually be harder on bike components to take the bus. At least in winter. The cycle of freeze and thaw seems to cause more grit to accumulate and more rust.

Fifth, if it is wet out and you are wet, people tend to not sit next to you.

Six, people are creatures of habit. They always try to sit in the same places day after day. That's part of the reason I like to take different busses, just to mess with the seating arrangement.

Finally I've learned that while there are challenges to riding the bus, it is quite doable and even enjoyable. Heck, I've read more novels this past year than I have since grad school and that alone is worth the price of admission for me.

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