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Bike to work day is this Friday

Denmark, Copenhagen Bike Parking 6

Photo by Raastah from flickr

This Friday is Bike to Work Day, and I, feeling like the kind of person that only goes to church on Easter, will be getting on my bike for the first time this season and attempting a ride to work.

I live right in Providence, so attending the festivities should be no problem. In fact, I’m pretty sure Market Square is entirely downhill from my house. Breakfast at the event starts at 7am and goes until 10am. I plan on leaving the house early so that I can feel included in the fun, but still get in a solid day at the office. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get back to Market Square for the 3pm bike demonstrations, refreshments, and live music, not only because I’m out of shape, but again, that full day of work thing.

Speaking of work, I’m a little concerned about my bike ride to the office. For many, the bike trains will provide a safety-in-numbers ride to Providence, but getting myself to the office on Jefferson Blvd is a scary ride no matter how advanced a cyclist you are. I think I have two choices: a) suck it up, take as many side roads as possible, work my way down Elmwood to Post Rd clutching an air horn, or b) hang out at Market Square until around 7:30 8am when the #8 bus leaves Kennedy Plaza.

Option b seems like the easy way out. After all, using my bike for part of the commute is still within the mission of the day, right? My one lingering concern is the bike racks on the bus. First of all, I’m a little anxious about having never tried them. Fortunately, I found this website of the folks who make the racks for RIPTA, and it has a video on how to use them. Secondly, as far as I know, there’s only room for 2 bikes (and only one #8 bus to work), so being B2WD, I’m a little nervous about the possibility of 2 other people using the rack, especially since my coworker lives nearby, and I was thinking of asking him to join me.

So, if the rack is full or I miss the last bus, I’m back to plan A. It’s only about 10 miles, and for some of my friends who ride, this would be a ooh piece of candy cake. So far, the weather forecast is perfect (72 and sunny).

Does anyone have any suggestions for me? I’d love to hear from other folks who are biking to work, especially if anyone is thinking about trying it for the first time.

Update:

051509_07391.jpg

I biked from my house in Elmhurst to downcity in time to catch the Bike to Work Day festivities. I hung around long enough to enjoy a cup of coffee, listen to the mayor, and meet some of you fine cyclists. I think I’ve mapped out a good route to take to work thanks to your fine suggestions, but given my wussiness the weather today, I tried out one of RIPTAs bike racks.

The mayor gave a nice speech about how important transit and bicycle commuting is to our environment, our health, and our traffic. He suggested that we all consider taking at least one day a week to bike and/or use public transit and doing so would have fine results for all.

I, personally, really enjoyed this experience, and I look forward to using my bike more often to get to work. Catching the bus at KP would require very little change in my morning routine, and on finer days, I look forward to biking home along the Narragansett Parkway/Blvd along the bay.

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20 Responses to Bike to work day is this Friday

  1. Jef Nickerson May 12, 2009 at 3:28 pm #

    My suggestion:

    Tell your boss to move the office Downtown.

  2. Matthew Coolidge May 12, 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    Oh how I wish our office were downtown 🙁

  3. Bob Boland May 12, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    As a native born and raised, now living in Colorado, we have Bike-to-Work too (late June here). I have used the bike racks on the buses to the light rail (we have light rail…greater than Gem Ravioli…almost!)…anyway, if the rack is full you are allowed to take your bike on board, granted you have to stand in the back…you should see if RIPTA allows that. I have done the B2W here (19 miles one way), but it was threatening rain, so took the bike/bus/light rail home in the afternoon. Good luck with your adventure!

  4. Frymaster May 12, 2009 at 4:15 pm #

    Consider the Allens Ave/Narragansett Ave route south into Warwick. Getting onto Allens off Eddy St is easy now w/ two lanes going left at the light. It’s a dedicated bike lane all the way to the yacht club. I assiduously avoid Warwick, so from Pawtuxet Village, you’re on your own.

    http://www.bikemap.net is a great bike route mapping resource.

    I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be doing on Friday, but it’s a solid bet that riding my bike will be part of it. I’m considering leaving my house at 5:30 to get to Woonsocket at 6:30 to ride back to town for 7:30.

  5. Matthew Coolidge May 12, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    Thanks guys. Frymaster, you make a good point. Going via Pawtuxet would definitely be a safer and far more scenic route. I’ll check it out on my way home tonight.

  6. Brick May 12, 2009 at 4:45 pm #

    Matt, to avoid the nasty part of Rt. 1 as much as possible, I would do something like this:

    http://www.mapmyride.com/route/us/ri/warwick/723124216099174207

    It is a little longer but should keep you somewhat safe. Obviously the most direct route would be to take Broadway to Elmwood Ave. past the park to Post Rd. But I think the Providence portion of that is life-threatening idiocy from drivers. YMMV.

  7. Jef Nickerson May 12, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

    Looking at Brick’s map highlights an issue with Warwick’s proposed Metro Center (building up the area around the airport station). You can’t bike from the west side of Warwick to the east side. Route 95, Jefferson Blvd., and the train tracks are a barrier with precious few places to cross, especially few if one is on bike (I’m pretty sure it is illegal to bike on Route 37). Something Warwick needs to deal with in future plans for Metro Center.

  8. Jim May 13, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    I’m considering biking on Friday, though it is supposed to rain and I don’t have the bus option. I’d rather walk in the rain than bike (no fenders on my bike). I haven’t biked in the city and it does make me nervous, but if I just go to work, it shouldn’t be bad. That means I’d miss the fun downtown, but I’d have to get up extra early for that.

    Good luck biking to Warwick. It’s too bad Jefferson Blvd ends at 95 and doesn’t have a good connection to Providence.

  9. Jef Nickerson May 13, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    Why does Jefferson Blvd. just end like that? I mean, it just stops. It would impact the Pawtuxet River for sure if it connected to Pontiac Ave., but it is just so weird.

    What I was saying above about Metro Center being disconnected for cyclists… There should be at least a bikeway across the Pawtuxet leading to Jefferson (then bike lanes on Jefferson), so that people living in the Garden City area at least could if they wanted to, ride their bikes to future employment centers near the airport.

  10. Anj Shaw May 13, 2009 at 2:11 pm #

    Hi there,
    There will be a “bike train” coming in to the city from both sides of Warwick – one on the Eastern side and one utilizing the Cranston bike path. Check out the Bike Providence site for more information (click on the link below the map to make it larger – then you can see detailed departure times and routes.) http://www.bikeprovidence.org
    Anj

  11. Anj Shaw May 13, 2009 at 2:14 pm #

    Oh, also, the RIPTA racks are very easy and often when I go to take the 66 home, there are two bikes on the racks already. I often have to be patient on bike to work days… I have to see if there are other buses I can take (can I take the 14 and ride from Wickford? Can I take the 90A and ride from 117? Can I take the 90W and ride from exit 7?) and it has taught me flexibility as well. I say go for it – the more we use the rack and ride program, the more racks they will put on buses and maybe in future, racks that can accomodate more bikes. And the more we bike on the roads, the more incentive a town or city has to get green dollars by implementing projects like updated or new bike paths, bike-friendly communities, bike lanes, and passing bike-friendly laws. Go for it! See you Friday!

  12. Matthew Coolidge May 14, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    From the RIDOT blog:
    “Bicyclists from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will join other cycling enthusiasts and local and state leaders from the Providence area to celebrate National Bike to Work Day on Friday …
    RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis will lead “Team RIDOT” to the morning celebration and then on to RIDOT’s Providence headquarters to highlight the Department’s support for this annual event.”

    This can only be a good thing! I think having RIDOT folks experiencing the pavement from a cyclist’s perspective is key to having them understand the issues.

  13. Matthew Coolidge May 14, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    Jef, you’re absolutely right. There should be some sort of connection from the north end of Jefferson to Pontiac Ave.

    Also, Jefferson Blvd is FOUR LANES wide. There are sidewalks on either side, but they are narrow with utility poles in the middle and they aren’t all ramped at the curb cuts. Talk about pedestrian unfriendly!

    There are no crosswalks at the north end of the street, yet there are bus stops on both sides. This means, during the winter, my coworkers cross the 4 lanes of traffic around a blind corner in the dark to catch Bus #8.

    Jim, you also make a good point… I’m really hoping it doesn’t rain during the commute hours. I, too, am without fenders on my bike and 12 miles of road spray in the face and on the back will make for a crappy day.

    I think I’m shooting for plan B, biking to Kennedy plaza and hoping for an open rack. I brought in a change of clothes today to leave in the office, just in case.

  14. Jef Nickerson May 14, 2009 at 10:34 am #

    RIPTA will have a bus bike rack on display at Market Square tomorrow for anyone who has never used one and is wondering how.

  15. Matthew Coolidge May 15, 2009 at 9:54 am #

    It was fun meeting some of you! Mark, Matt, ‘Spec, and of course, Thom, it was great seeing you all!

    Check out my update to the post above:
    http://www.gcpvd.org/2009/05/12/bike-to-work-day-is-this-friday

  16. Frymaster May 15, 2009 at 10:14 am #

    Big ups to all the hardy souls who turned out for the AM events. And shame upon you lazy ones. Should be nicer in the afternoon.

    Hey, Matt, the good news about your commute is that you’re virtually guaranteed a tailwind (from the south) coming home every day. That picture of the bottom of Narragansett Blvd reminded me of the prevailing winds.

    Of course, whenever I’m there, I’m heading south into the teeth of it.

  17. Matthew Coolidge May 15, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    Hey Frymaster! How was your ride to work this morning?

  18. Matthew Coolidge May 15, 2009 at 10:43 am #

    Hey, that’s me on the far right talking to Frymaster!
    http://newsblog.projo.com/2009/05/the-rain-wont-s.html

  19. Frymaster May 18, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Well waddaya know? That is us chatting.

    While I still had energy (when I got to Woonsocket), I wrote about my ride on The Bucket Blog. But by the time I got back home, I needed a little nap. I guess I was around 40 miles for the day. I went down to an event at New Urban Arts, and rode home in the dark. That was cool because I got to check out some of the free safety gear they were giving away. There’s all sorts of LED-filled goodies that flash and glow and spin. I estimate about 50 total miles ridden between 6:30 am and 8:30 pm.

    So Matt, did you have a ferocious tail wind coming home? Or did you bus it?

  20. Matt January 2, 2011 at 12:05 am #

    I am heading out to Utah for the FrontRunner Century bicycle ride and I am looking to see if anyone has ever used Map My Ride for the FrontRunner Century Bicycle Ride. I have heard that people have used it for LOTOJA and for the Ulcer Ride as well as the Salt Lake City Century. If anyone has info for the FrontRunner Century they could give to me I would be happy. Check out the http://www.frontrunnercentury.com and please let me know.

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