Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bike to Work Week: Julie Wong

My Communications Director, Julie Wong, rode her bike to City Hall today in support of Bike to Work Week. She agreed to talk about the experience.

How many miles (round trip) is your ride to work?
It's about 12 miles round trip.

How long does it take you to drive?
20-25 minutes depending on what time I leave.

How long does it take you to ride your bike?
It took me about 30 minutes to get to the office, but it will take me about 10 minutes longer to get home because it's mostly uphill. I'm trying not to think about it right now.

In what ways did you have to change your morning routine in order to ride your bike to work?
Last night, I checked my tire pressure. I had to bring a change of clothes and carry a backpack instead of my usual bag. I brought extra food for lunch yesterday so that I wouldn't have to worry about packing one today. I usually get up early to run, swim, or bike, but I'm counting my commute as my exercise today, so I actually gained time on my morning routine!

How did it go?
It's been a while since I last rode my bike to work and I had forgotten how easy it is to get to the office because it's mostly downhill. It was perfect weather - not too hot. I get nervous about riding with a lot of traffic, particularly when I'm riding through Chinatown where the streets are narrow and there are a lot of buses. Drivers aren't really looking for bikes and I make it a point to make sure they notice that I'm in their vicinity. Today wasn't so bad, though... just one annoying pick-up truck driver that kept honking at the guy in front of him and a reporter who called me while I was on a road with no good place to pull over. He said it was urgent, but I'm still not convinced it was worth risking an accident. Next time, I'm just going to let it go to voicemail.
Any tips for those contemplating riding a bike to work for the first time?
Just commit to trying it once. That's how I got started and realized that it was actually easier to do than I would have thought.

Also, be safe - don't give drivers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to your safety.