Monday, February 5, 2007

Don't Bike To Work...

...when it's -3° F out.

Today was the first time in about three months that I haven't biked to work, and the reason was the cold. Last week, when it was in the 20s, it was freaky cold on my face even with my balaclava on. So I didn't feel like risking frostbite, and I took the bus. Plus, this kind of cold weather can be killer on your bike. Metal has stress points and they get worse in the extreme cold and heat. You'd hate to snap off your derailleur when a COTA ride costs a buck-fitty.

And that's sort of my point for today. When the weather outside is frightful, COTA is so delightful. All bikers should know how to use COTA, especially since they have the bike racks on them now for cyclists. It's really easy to do if you're not familiar with public transportation (like I wasn't when I moved to town) and letting someone do the driving for you, while not nearly as relaxing and energizing as a nice bike ride, is much better than throwing yourself into the throes of traffic woe.

Here's their new riders' guide. A one-way trip is $1.50, and transfers are free (just be sure to tell the driver you want one before you pay for your trip). A day-pass is $3.50 (if you're doing more than just going to and from work). A monthly pass is $45.00 for the local routes. There are also express routes that make fewer stops and get you to places like downtown quickly, but are a bit more expensive.

And if anyone has questions and wants non-COTA personnel answers, I'm happy to help as much as I can - I took the bus for a couple years since moving to the Clintonville and sporadically before that, so I have some good experience in it. One hint I'll give right away - try to use quarters to pay as much as possible. Not all the bill-readers on the buses work all that great and it's annoying when you're trying to get on the bus and pay, have a whole bunch of people behind you waiting to get on (particularly when it's raining or freezing like today), so just being able to drop a few quarters into the box and be on your way.

4 comments:

  1. Yes indeed; knowing how to use public transportation is good, especially on days when the weather or circumstances are less than ideal.

    -3° is cold, and I've broken plastic pieces on my bike at that temp and colder. I fixed up a fixed gear a few years ago to minimize the hassle of extreme cold weather bike commuting.

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  2. And that was sort of my point. Some people are going to insist that they need to bike no matter what, but if they harm themselves or their bike, what has it really gotten them?

    It's better to have a back up plan, and what better way than a way that avoids adding another car to traffic!

    The fixed-gear bike is a good idea too... less parts to break and I'd imagine it's much easier on the maintenance.

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  3. These days I use public transportation every day -- my commute is 40 miles over a mountain range, and the train is very fast.

    But today, somebody stepped in front of a train and died. Trains were delayed an hour and half. Good thing I have my bike with me as my backup plan :-)

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  4. And there's another reason to ride your bike... avoiding the awful inconvenience of bypassing crime scenes.

    A MORBID reason, but a reason nonetheless.

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