Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Bike To Work Day

Today is the day when the percentage of bike commuters increases from .00987% to almost .00999%  Yes, sound the alarms and put away the gas cans - it's once again time for the annual Bike to Work Day.  Newspaper articles and TV news spots, non-riding co-workers asking about it, bikes everywhere.  Tomorrow - poof - all back to normal.  Was it a dream?  Some sort of hoax?  No - we'll all do it again next year....

Okay, enough sarcasm from me, fairly consistent bike commuter and all around wise-ass.  I actually dig today and love seeing the extra people riding - it's all great.  Here in the bike loopy Seattle area, 20,000+ people rode to work and you could see the increase.  The mega-huge (10,000+ members) Cascade bike club and other sponsors set up over 40 stations for people to stop by and pick up freebies - donuts, water bottles, Clif Bars, maps and other goodies. 

I stopped at one booth on the Burke-Gilman Trail and grabbed a water bottle and few Clif Bars, then talked with some folks.  Very cool to see all types of riders pulling up on everything from beater bikes to carbon wonder steeds - with various riding gear to match.  Everyone in a good mood and smiling away.  The weather even cooperated with no rain and sunny skies.  Yup, why can't every commute be like this?  Feed stations along the route giving away food and some laughs.

At the freebie feel good station, ran into my fellow "Ibis Guy" - Mark. On occasional mornings our commutes match and we've chatted a few times over the years, while cruising to work on the BG trail.  We both commute on older Ibis Hakkalugi 'cross bikes - not many of those around - so always cool to have two of 'em out at the same time.

Today Mark had the whole family out heading to work and school - fun stuff to see.  Mark is one of a few people I only know from commuting on the BG.  If I saw him in normal clothes on the street - probably wouldn't even recognize him!  I'm sure he'd say the same thing.  Part of the fun of bike commuting is the chance to actually chat with people while riding.  Try that in your car.

Mark's Hakkalugi pulling trailer duty.  His model is slightly newer then mine.  I have the green '97 issue - plus my '07 Silk Carbon for non-fender days, like today.  New and old, Ibis makes some cool stuff.  I'm a fan of a few bike companies and Ibis is on the list for sure.

Keep 'em rolling in.  Some stations on Seattle streets get quite a crowd mingling around.

Besides the morning stations set up around Seattle, there was a bike related party in Ballard for the afternoon ride home.  I elected to skip that and shared a ride home with Phil - a fellow co-worker and ex road racer.  A quick cruise home and some good conversation as well.  Add in 60 degree temps, sun and views of Lake Washington.  What a living hell to deal with - how do I stand it?

Oh yeah - we're also in the middle of Bike to Work Month and the related Group Health Commute Challenge.  My corporate team - Team Jerkcx - is killing it this year.  At the moment, we're in 11 place overall for mileage out of 1200+ teams.  Three team members, me included, are in the top 100 mileage wise - out of 10,000 riders.  Not bad at all, eh?

One guy on the team, Sam, has been rocking 60 mile commutes. That's Loony Tunes impressive.  Reynold, another team member, has not a missed a day yet with his 38 mile commute. Others fall somewhere in-between to keep the numbers adding up.  It's all good and all fun.

Bike commuting rocks.  If you ride and don't commute - what's stopping you?  Do it.

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