Earth Month: Ride a Bike


…or at least consider alternate transportation. While public transit can be great (and here in Chicago there are buses and trains galore, and population density is high enough that my grocery store is less than 3 blocks–totally walkable) , its not always an option.

I carpool to work almost every day (with my other half–MC. Two Mary’s both with C last names). It’s awesome. We’ve been carpooling over a year and it’s routine now. I’m not sure what I would do if I had to drive alone with any kind of regularity.

Here’s how we work it:

  • We’re flexible. Roughly speaking, we switch off weeks, but today should have been my day and she wanted to drive (street cleaning)
  • We always check in the night before. We had to kick someone out of carpool for one too many last-second “hey are you driving”, as well as some other issues.
  • Stick to a schedule. We leave at 6:30. Neither of us is ever more than 5 min late and we are basically always on time. We text when we get in the car to pick up the other one, and each know when to head outside. If one of us wants to get to school even earlier, we work that out the night before.
  • We like driving together more than almost anything else (I’m writing this still at work at 6:30 because MC coaches), but drive alone sometimes if you need to. Don’t be resentful because you keep having to stay 3 hours late because of the other person.
  • This one’s optional but…come up with carpool insides jokes and dance moves. Oh, and if you’re stuck in the car for two hours driving home in a snowstorm, its a great idea to call your boss on the bluetooth so you can sing to her voicemail. We think.

Our commute is 14 city miles, which means with literally no traffic (leaving for work at 5:30 am), the best case is a little over 25 minutes. Heading home on a Friday? Over an hour. Which leads to my favorite option…

Ride a bike.

Healthy, scenic, green….and totally fun.

I’m crazy. We should probably start there. I don’t like gyms. I can’t handle the waste of time I feel like working out is. But I’ll walk anywhere. 4 miles? No biggie. Crazier still? I bike to work. For you locals, I live about a mile from Wrigley Field and work about a mile from Midway Airport. The same 14 miles mentioned above.

It’s not close. My old commute was a very doable 3 miles, until I moved and it became four. But when I started this new job, I was sure I couldn’t ride. Too far. And I was heartbroken. Until I realized the only thing stopping me was…me. I started out small, biking one way and getting a ride the other but now I just ride both ways, and I love it. I have a checklist to make sure I don’t forget anything (although I still screw up, most recently leaving my house keys at work on Friday).

Do you ride a bike? Walk? Carpool?


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