Thursday, June 09, 2011

It seems almost ridiculous how much I'm planning things out on my commute.

As I mentioned, I've been biking home from work for a while. It's about 3.3 miles, uphill or level the whole way, so it's decent exercise in a reasonable amount of time. And by the Bikeshare program, it's free, except for the annual membership fee. I started out with a simple route. It's not great - major streets all the way during rush hour, bike lanes only on the least helpful part of the route - but it's really simple, and I can see my apartment from just half a mile or so after the start, which might be a useful psychological boost and at the very least it's kinda fun.

But because of the problems with it, my girlfriend T. suggests another route. It's more convoluted, with at least three left turns instead of one. (This isn't just my first time commuting by bike, it's my first time biking in any place with a population over 6,000. I've read that when biking downtown, with some exceptions, bikers should act like a car, taking up a lane of traffic and stopping at lights, and changing lanes to turn left while in traffic is scary.) The road is rougher, not that that matters all that much. The second route is probably safer: it has bike lanes for the same lengths, roughly, but in patches where they're more needed on the second route, and it's mostly on a less busy street.

Finally, I went to Google Maps and added it up. There are 43 intersections with either stop lights or stop signs on my usual route, versus 38 on the alternate route. Right now I'm trying to figure out whether there's a significant difference in the number of stop lights versus stop signs, but either way I'm not sure which I'd prefer (stop lights take longer when I have to stop, but less time when I don't, but are probably safer, but...). I guess at this point I should just admit that the more convoluted route is better overall.

Also, my routine to prep for the bike ride and unpack after it seems so complicated it's comical. Change from black leather shoes to jogging shoes at my desk. Go down to building locker room. Empty pockets and take off building ID badge. Wristwatch and spare change go in backpack top pocket. Sunglasses case out of backpack top pocket. Change clothes. Work clothes go in backpack. Wallet, phone, metro card, keys sunglasses case into pockets of shorts. Building ID badge goes on shorts pocket. When I get on the shuttle bus, ID badge goes in backpack top pocket. When I get off the shuttle and head over to bike station, sunglasses come out of case and helmet comes out of backpack. After biking home, helmet goes in backpack, wristwatch goes from backpack to bedside table, wallet, keys and metro card go from pockets to bedside table, change goes from backpack top pocket to jar, phone goes from pocket to windowsill in office, sunglasses case goes from shorts pocket to backpack top pocket. Overall I'm glad to be biking home, but it's definitely made my daily routine more complicated.

Monday, June 06, 2011

I hadn't followed the Weiner story for several days after it started. I wish I'd stuck with not following it. I got a bit depressed as soon as I read on another blog simply that Weiner had a press conference and Breitbart was there; aren't these things supposed to be by invitation? It's depressing that people in general and Democrats in particular still treat him like a reporter and take his heavily doctored videos seriously. (I may be thinking of his employee James O'Keefe, but either way I think the point stands.) But apparently - this is secondhand, with no details or links available, but still - he might have been partially right about Weiner.