The birth of an active transportation commuter

IMG_2009by Kathy Brown

I have always considered myself active. I enjoyed biking or rollerblading after work, talking a walk with friends, sailing etc.

One thing I never considered, though, was a non-motorized “carless” commute to work. Why would I? I have always lived too far away – period. Until I met my husband who asked the question, How far away is too far? 20 miles, 30 miles? Well of course, that’s too far. What about 10 miles or 5 miles or 2 miles? Hmmm, now he got me thinking….

So, in April 2014, after a week of planning, I decided to bike to work. My commute one way was 5.33 miles. Long enough that I had to pack a spare outfit. Long enough that it took my fingers forever to lock up my bike, unstrap my saddle bag, unbuckle my helmet, fumble with my badge and finally walk into the building and punch in. I felt fantastic, though, alive and awake. I DID IT! Then around 3:00 p.m., the thought occurred to me…I have to ride home.

I bike commuted to work 12 times that year and then 2 more times in the spring of 2015. Then we moved up north where my bike commute was only 2 miles one way. 2 MILES downhill TO work! Now I had no excuses… Then it rained one morning. Hmmm, What’s a little rain? So, I found a yellow rain suit that I had just unpacked and I was surprised just how fun it was to ride in the rain! Then the snow hit, and I was done.

Eventually, the nice weather returned and got my bike out again. I started riding every day to work, one day led to the next and the next until I rode 117 consecutive days to work, 151 total bike-commutes in 2016. Then the snow hit, and I was done…or was I?

How far away is too far to walk in the snow? 2 miles? Yes. 1.5 miles via the backyards? That might work…

December 12th was my second walk-commute to work through the snow and the wind and the ice and cold. I felt fantastic, alive and awake. I DID IT! Until the 3:00 p.m. thought returns…I have to walk home…almost all uphill.

Ask yourself the question – how far is too far?



This entry was posted in Active transportation, Advocacy, Bicycle Commuting, Bicycling, Bike Commuting, Biking, Commuting, fitness, fun, health, recreation, walking, Women and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The birth of an active transportation commuter

  1. lauraotwell says:

    You go! What an inspiration, thanks for getting us all think.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Potter says:

    Bravo Kathy! You’re hooked! How about XC skiing to work? You guys are blessed with some of the best snow up there and you might just have a trail option nearby. Those fat-tire bikes are kinda intriguing too for snow riding, but there’s a limit to how much snow they’ll go thru w/out becoming harder than walking. Looking forward to your next installment in this series 😉


  3. George Raimer says:

    I know the feeling well. I too got hooked on commuting. In 2009 after a full hip replacement I started commuting by bike 24 miles each way 2 to 3 days per week on a mountain bike adding up the miles to 2400, dropping 50 pounds and changing my cholesterol numbers from bad to good. The following year I bought a cyclo-cross bike, put on road tires and commuted even more totaling up 3500 miles, and then a couple of 5000 mile years.
    This year the company I’ve worked at for 36 years moved so it is now 36 to 42 miles away depending on my route so I drive to a town 27 miles from home, pick up a rail trail and bike to work 7 miles each way on paved trails and then drive back home. Part of the winter commute is plowed and 2 miles on a section that is open to snowmobiles so I get to ride my fat bike on a groomed trail.
    Lots more fun than sitting in a car and I get a nice 30 to 40 minute workout to and from work.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jon Spangler says:

    The “gateway drug”–a two-mile summer bike commute…. 😉


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