Friday, February 2, 2007

Welcome Aboard

Thanks for visiting my bike commuting blog. There are other blogs and information sources out there that are great for general information, this is going to be much more about the Columbus, Ohio bike commuting experience and information.

A little background:

In November of 2006, I was given my current bicycle as a gift. I'd been talking about getting a bicycle for a while and commuting to work with it to avoid paying for gas, fouling up the environment even more, and getting some exercise; and my wife and parents surprised me with a Specialized Expedition Sport. It's a commuter bike, no question - very comfortable and sturdy but also very versatile.

I started commuting to work later that month, after I'd gotten a proper lock and such. Since then, my life has been an exploration of everything that makes a bicycle commute worthwhile and the things that can make it better and/or legal.

I feel very strongly about the benefits of cycling as a transportation tool. I am not a fitness cyclist, by any means - I have other ways to keep in shape besides my commute. I'm much more interested in commuting just for the benefits to the community and my own pocketbook.

My wife and I only own one car, which I obviously do not use. We save a lot of money this way, and if for some reason we need a second car for a while (example: one of us has to go out of town) then we rent one. With the money we save by owning one car, this is never a big deal, and we've rented enough cars that we are on a frequent-renters program that saves us money.

A little bit about Columbus and my current work commute:
  1. My commute is not all that long. Seriously. If you're familiar with Columbus, I live in Clintonville and I work on Ackerman Road, between Olentangy River Road and Kenny Road. It's 1.6 miles.

  2. Clintonville, if you're not familiar with it, is a very bike-friendly neighborhood in north-central Columbus. The populace tends to be pretty liberal, and we have two high quality bike shops within a mile of my home. We have great access to the Olentangy River Bike Trail in Columbus (which I used for my commute when my office was at a previous location).

  3. While Clintonville is bike-friendly, Columbus is definitely NOT. The population is pretty well-off, for the most part (if you live in Columbus or the surrounding area and are NOT well-off, I'm not trying to dismiss you. My point is that this is a pretty white-collar town). Most of them seem to live to show off their cars, and live for getting from point A to point B with no fuss. Parking and construction are regular points of contention for drivers in this city (and I will be commenting on this more as I go along as it tickles me to death that I'm not affected by these issues at all).

    Also, the city is suburb-intense. Urban planning in the city, while not as bad as zoneless cities like Houston, is pretty nonexistent. The building industry in town is pretty strong, lobby-wise, so trying to control sprawl is VERY tough.

  4. Columbus has a pretty varied climate: it averages from the low 90s in the heat of summer all the way into the low teens in winter. This makes for some interesting clothing issues for the commute.

  5. For situations where I'm using my bike to get around town, I'm also in good shape - we have a supermarket about five blocks away, ice cream shop even closer, the stadium for my favorite sports team is less than two miles away, and several parks within easy bike distance. Again, Clintonville is very bike-friendly.
So my commute is hardly a chore. But it's enough that I have gotten a lot of experience with handling a bike in traffic, on nasty streets, and I've experienced a lot of the issues that bike commuters have. I know there are people who have to go further than I do, and I welcome comments from anyone who'd like to discuss such topics (send me an email at jfellrath AT yahoo DOT com) or feel free to post comments here.

I'm still pretty new at this commuting thing, so in this blog, you'll discover things as I discover them. If I find a pair of wind pants that work great, I'll tell you about them. If I have a problem with chain maintenance, you're gonna hear about it - as well as how I fixed it. If some stupid Hummer almost blows me off the road because the driver was too busy chatting on his cell phone, you're going to see his license number here. That's the sort of blog this is going to be.

If you want to see posts I've made on my general blog about Bicycling, you can click here. So, welcome aboard, and I hope you enjoy your stay here.

2 comments:

  1. Great blog. I'm an OSU student and live on Neil, and I try to ride my average mountain bike as much as possible. Is the Olentangy trail you speak of the trail that's right by the stadium? I haven't lived on campus for long and haven't ridden the trails yet, although now that the weather is brightening I'm looking to do so.

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  2. Yes, that's the Olentangy Trail. I'm somewhat ashamed to say that I've only ever taken the trail from about Whetstone Park to Woody Hayes Drive, but then I'm a commuter and not a pleasure biker for the most part. One thing I plan to do down the road is to ride all the trails in town as they stand now and critique them. Please keep reading!

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