10.12.2015

It's a Wild Ride

It's 4:49 a.m. My alarm goes off and I hop off of the couch, where I have been sitting and reading. I wash my breakfast dishes, grab my lunch and use the bathroom one last time and then I put on my helmet and grab my bike and my backpack and walk out the door.

It's about 2 miles from my house to the train station. Luckily, in the morning, it's mostly downhill. I put on my bike light, hike up one leg of my pants and start pedaling. You never know what you are going to see on the streets of Oakland at 5 a.m. There are not too many cars, which is good because that means I can buzz through most of the intersections without slowing down too much. There are sometimes people, but they are mostly like me, heading to work in the dark of the night.

Except for one corner which is near the train station. This corner is a bit different that the others. Women hang around in short skirts; men in trucks slow to a crawl as they pass. It's usually pretty quiet though; I pedal through with no problems.

I reach the train station in about 7 minutes. I constantly try to break the 7 minute time and have only done it once. It all depends on how I hit the traffic lights and how many cars there are that I have to avoid. I get there around 5:07, lock up my bike and hop on the train to work.

In the afternoon, the same journey takes about 12 minutes. From the station, I have to ride uphill and generally its around 4 or 5 pm. I have to stop at every intersection, sometimes for 2 or 3 minutes. There are cars to avoid, as well as people, broken glass, a lone shoe and a condom. It's hot and the traffic is busy and I swerve around old ladies and kids on skateboards. It's a whole different world. I can see everything.

I get home, hop off my bike and push it into my living room, where it lives. I do everything in reverse: walk in the door, backpack off, helmet off, put my lunch in the sink and use the bathroom one more time.

Note: I have been commuting by bike to the train station for a few months now and am really loving the view I am getting of the world this way. Plus a little extra exercise using different muscles never hurts!

How do you get to work? Do you ever walk or ride a bike? What interesting things have you seen while cycling? 

11 comments:

  1. Dang your day starts so early! I don't know how you do it! I suppose you just get used to it after awhile but I feel like I would need to be in bed SO EARLY!

    Right now, I bike to work as our bike share program is still out. It's about a mile ride and the streets are pretty quiet when I ride to work. It takes me about 7-10 minutes depending on how many lights I hit. I don't see much that is worth noting, though! When the bikes get put away in early November, I will walk to work which will take 15-20 minutes. I'll try to walk outside as many days as I can but will duck into the skyway when it's -20 or colder!!!

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  2. Like Lisa, I too am amazed at how early your day starts. I love the description of your journey. It does sound fun and that little bit of biking in the morning probably helps wake you up a bit.

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  3. On our bike date, I'm not sure we saw anything too crazy, but it did facilitate some good people watching. But biking in general I feel gives me a completely different view on things.

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  4. My husband rides his bike to work during the summer (Ohio has WINTER!!!). We live about a mile from where he works. We're very rural though. He only has to go through two stop signs. :)

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  5. I have an electric bike to solve the problems of distance, hills and being generally less fit than ideal. Once I'm out of my suburb, most of the journey is on bike paths and dedicated bike lanes. Its usually quieter in the morning with a few other cyclists, runners and dog walkers but the return journey is a little more lively and I like the smells of the flowers and people cooking dinner!

    I feel a lot more connected to the world when I cycle, much more than driving and surprisingly more than walking. I'm a fair weather cyclist, but I'd like to do it all year round.

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  6. Great that you can do part of your commute by bike!

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  7. I drive 60 miles to work. In the morning, it usually takes about 75 minutes and in the evenings it takes anywhere from 90 to 120+. I hate it every single day and am completely stuck.

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  8. Oh man, what time do you start work? Are there a lot of bad areas in Oakland? I can only imagine what you've seen!

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  9. I have a 5 mile (35 minute) bike to work at 6:45am-7:20am thru Brooklyn. I bike along the outer edge of Williamsburgh with a view of Manhattan and for the first 2 weeks I would look up in awe of the view of skyscrapers ...including the Empire State building....in the different pinks and yellows of sunrise and be stunned. Now I don't even look up. It's all the same! Crazy right? I'm more concerned with not hitting pedestrians - Hasidic Jewish men walking to the river ferries without looking both ways before crossing the street or getting hit by construction worker cement trucks heading to one of the 300 new buildings being built.

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  10. I am also in awe of your early mornings. That sounds so crazy to me! I drive to work, whomp whomp haha. When we were a one-car family I would sometimes bike to work or take the bus and Eric took the bus to university for four years but in our city it just makes more sense for us to drive plus I use my car for work a lot. My commute is super short though. Less than 10 minutes to work in the morning and about 20 minutes coming home. For some reason the way home is always backed up with traffic!

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  11. I love that you can ride to the train station! But I agree with the early morning comments... so impressive. I've become more of a morning person since having kids but not that early!

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Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!