Minor milestone!

I started commuting about 18 months ago from the suburbs to Boston. It’s about marathon distance roundtrip. When I started, it took me nearly an hour and a half (one way) door to door, and today I did it in 45 and a half minutes.

The best part was that my previous record was 52 minutes, so this cut off six and a half minutes from my previously fastest time!

What changed?

  • switched from an upright “comfort” bike (Giant Cypress) to a road bike (Specialized Roubaix)
  • lost 30#
  • optimized my route to shave off half a mile to a mile
  • clipless pedals
  • riding in work pants –> “real” biking clothes
  • riding off-peak to avoid traffic
  • got comfortable proceeding through intersections without cross traffic
  • of course, flexibility and strength increased

maybe there were other factors, too. anyway, if at first your commute seems to take too long, don’t panic! it’ll probably get shorter over time.

What’s cool is that if I can keep this up, then biking is actually faster than taking public transportation or driving in rush hour. In fact, driving off-peak is only a 15-minute savings and of course costs $10 in gasoline. Public transit involves

  1. Driving to the Route 128 commuter rail station (5m + 5m buffer so I don’t miss the train)
  2. Riding to South Station (20-30m)
  3. transferring to the Red line and riding to Kendall/MIT (15-30m)
  4. walking from the station to E62 (5m)

All told, it’s at least 50m and can take as long as 75.

So now biking is almost always the fastest way to get to work and definitely the cheapest! Can’t wait for my semester to end so I can ditch the T pass — I get nervous biking to work when I teach early in the morning.

My next milestone is to hit 5,000 miles since I started tracking last Memorial Day. As of today I have 870 miles left, which is challenging but not impossible. Once the semester is over I may take some time off to do a few centuries if necessary!

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