I read somewhere, Albert Einstein got an idea for his theory of relativity while riding his bicycle. I don't know if it's true, but it does make a good story.
I like using my bike instead of car or bus for local journeys close to home. The fresh air and exercise relaxes and makes me feel good.It was a small step for me to rent a bike locker at King George station, so I could ride between home and skytrain on my daily commute. The bike is secure during the day and I never have a problem parking!
It would be nice to use the bike exclusively and cut out transit altogether, but living in Surrey and working on the west side of Vancouver (and not being an athlete of any kind) I figured this was not feasible. When Bike to Work Week came along I signed up anyway, for a bit of fun and to see how far the bike could take me. In an uncharacteristic stroke of brilliance, I attended the one-day Commuter Skills course run by VACC. The course changed my life. I am a well-seasoned car driver and having cycled daily for some years already, thought I knew all there was to know about road safety. The course challenged my presumptions and brought me to a new level of understanding. I was hooked. I still could not see myself riding all the way, but would try taking the bike on the train and experience riding to work in "the big city" at least once.
BTWW was an adventure and an education. I got up super-early, because bikes are not allowed on the train in the direction of the rush between 7-9am or 4-6pm. If you can't leave work in time to be at your destination by 4pm you effectively earn a 2-hour penalty, or risk the wrath of the skytrain commuting public. Taking a bike on the train puts you in uncomfortable situations sometimes. On a good day, I see these as opportunities for growth! I learned to occupy the smallest possible footprint on the train. By week's end I decided the bike on the skytrain is not a viable option for this commuter. Not until Translink get serious about physical accommodation for bikes and remove the punitive time restrictions. But I had a better idea! What if I buy a second bike and leave it somewhere in Vancouver? Maybe I could rent a locker at a station in reasonable cycling distance of work. Most Millenium Line stations and six of the Expo Line stations have bike lockers. Main Street is closest to my place of work. There are not many lockers there yet, but one was available for me to rent. I became a "two bike commuter”! Life has changed, a lot. It takes a little planning and ingenuity to keep two bikes on the road. But I have been rewarded with a new sense of freedom. No more scurrying from the train to join a soggy line-up at the bus stop. No more earnestly watching the "Sorry Bus Full" signs go by. No limit on exactly what time I step on or off the train and no hassles. Cycling has opened up Vancouver to me. It is a very satisfying way to explore the city. I feel rejuvenated and my commute time is a few minutes LESS than it was before Bike to Work Week came along.
Thanks Albert, for the inspiration!