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I've never been able to stick to an "exercise program," (bleh) so changing my transportation mode from passive to active was perhaps the greatest stroke of genius I've ever had.1

For the last four and half years, my daily eight-mile bike commute to and from work has been what gets me off my ass--the only thing. I was a little worried that retirement, in removing my biggest transportation need, would find me slowly melding with my armchair, never to budge again.

Instead, I've discovered that I'm riding my bike more than ever.

First of all, I have time to bike to destinations that, when I was working full time, would have taken too long. I have time to figure out a safe route to a new place, to get a little lost2, to go in daylight, to choose my weather.

And second of all, I don't have to get everything done in one go on Sunday. I can make multiple trips, any day of the week. Whoops, forgot toilet paper? Four miles round trip to Fred Meyer. Return a book? Branch library across town. That fabric store that's out in the semi-urbs? Worth a shot.

Today I rode clear out past the ring of freeways to an acupuncture appointment that has always previously been a train trip. From there, since I was in the neighborhood, I stopped by my sister's--the one I don't see as much of because she lives "out there"--and pedaled home again in the gathering dark, for a 19-mile day.

View Bike to Lynne's in a larger map

1 Selling my car was an important part of everything. Side note: my driver's license has expired and I should probably do something about that. I could ride my bike to the DMV. :D

2 Sometime since I first starting biking, Google has added voice navigation to the bike layer of its maps, and it's awesome! Now I just need an app that has Paul Bettany's voice saying, "In six hundred feet, turn left onto the I-205 Bike Path. No, left, madam. The other left. That's it..."

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 17th, 2014 09:19 am (UTC)
Wow, that's an impressive ride! Because I found you after you'd started cycling to work I hadn't appreciated how many miles you were already doing. I'm impressed that you're not only keeping it up but improving on it. I'm sure that not owning a car is key - unless your willpower is much much better than mine.
Jan. 17th, 2014 09:38 pm (UTC)
Yup. There have been some nasty, rainy days when having a car would have been nice--especially on weekends or evenings when bus service is limited. I don't mind riding in the rain, but I've found, not surprisingly, that if I don't actually have to do it, I'll choose not to.

Of course, now, if it's nasty and rainy out, I generally don't have to leave the house at all, regardless of transport mode, if I don't want to.
Jan. 17th, 2014 10:48 am (UTC)
"Now I just need an app that has Paul Bettany's voice saying, "In six hundred feet, turn left onto the I-205 Bike Path. No, left, madam. The other left. That's it..."
Awesome, and rather fun! I took a taxi home from work the other day and was startled to hear a female voice telling the male driver "Take the next left. Yes, that's it!"
Jan. 17th, 2014 09:42 pm (UTC)
Really? Well, I'm not at all surprised that taxi drivers should use voice navigation. On the rare occasions when I use a taxi (in any city, but especially London OMG!), I'm deeply impressed by the apparent map the drivers have in their heads. But why not benefit, after all, from a technological boost?

For me, voice nav is a bit like, say, glasses or a hearing aid: a prosthetic device that lets me operate where before I was literally lost all the time.
Jan. 17th, 2014 01:40 pm (UTC)
You're inspiring! And... The other left. That's it. Hee!
Jan. 17th, 2014 09:45 pm (UTC)
To be fair, left and right are two of the four directions I'm actually pretty sure of (the other two being up and down), so voice nav is as perfect as it can be for me.

It's not 100% perfect yet, of course--even yesterday, it was ambiguous on a couple of turns/veers--but the addition of the bike layer is a fantastic improvement, one I've been waiting for for years. The last time I made a serious effort to use voice nav to get from a known Point A to a less-known Point B by bike, voice nav was still directing me onto the freeway.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )



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