Blog Archive

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mission: Bike Everyday

Before Cassie moved, I was able to park the van at her house during the day and then bike to school.  This was tremendously helpful when Eddie was too small/young to travel in the bike trailer--he started attending her daycare at about 4.5 months.  Of course, once he was 10 months old and I began biking around town with him in the trailer, I still often drove to her house because it was less physical effort for me.  

In January 2010 I began biking to her house at least 2 days/week, as long as it wasn't raining.  I knew I needed the exercise and shouldn't be wasting all that gas.  After all, it was only a 1.75 mile ride.  It did go up and over the freeway on the overpass so it wasn't the easiest of rides, especially while towing a trailer.  

Cassie's daycare moved to downtown in early September 2011.  This new location is great because it's just steps off campus...but there's also no parking for parents.  There's 1-hour street parking (usually) for pick-ups/drop-offs but you certainly can't park there all day, unless you live there and have a permit.  So this no-free-parking was incentive for me to commit to biking everyday.  This new ride is flat, but it is 2.33 miles each direction.  So every day I get in about 5 miles of towing the bike trailer and all our stuff.  It's a pretty good workout, enough that I can definitely see that my legs are much more toned than before (and there's noticeably less cellulite dimples...woooooooo!).

Today marks the last day of finals for the 2011-2012 school year.  And I'm proud to report that we biked every single day (M-Th), with the following exceptions:
  • Each quarter I drove him to/from daycare once because I was sick and didn't want to bike (and I went back home to bed)
  • We took the bus 5 times fall quarter and 3 times winter quarter due to rain
  • Winter quarter we drove once because it was a half day and we departed town for Gualala immediately
This totals 554 miles biked this year.  That's a savings of $130 in gas alone.  Whoa. (554 miles at 17 MPG at $4/gallon)
Dave and Eddie are together on Fridays and I biked most of those days, too, just not with Eddie.  Since February they've been going to toddler gymnastics class on Friday mornings and I occasionally hitch a ride with them (the city gym is a block from campus).  I am hopeful that Dave will start riding Eddie to gymnastics in the bike trailer, too.  

Our ride takes us over the train tracks and if we're lucky (i.e., running late
either direction) then we often get stopped by a crossing train.  Obviously Eddie
LOVES it when this happens.  (Note: this picture was taken super close to the
train because it was behind the Davis Food Co-Op, not at a crossing.  We'd
stopped to get some groceries on the way home that evening.) 
Every morning I have to make sure that I pack a snack for the bike ride home.  Eddie's not a happy biker unless he can munch on something on the way.  Usually it is fruit or a baked good that I don't have to refrigerate during the day. He's lucky when I forget to pack something because then I give him half of whatever baked good treat I buy myself in the afternoon at the Coffee House! (Yes, I buy myself a drip coffee and a cookie/muffin/quick bread most afternoons. I could save money by not doing it, but I enjoy it a lot and it is really the only "me" thing I do all day.)
Sometimes he even wants a snack on the way to daycare--no matter
that we eat breakfast right before we leave AND he arrives just in
time for "breakfast" at daycare--on this particular day he wanted a carrot
"like the bunnies eat" (with the greens still attached) from the
driveway garden. Easy!
It also helps to have activities/toys/books in the trailer to keep him busy.
He was thrilled when I got him a Handy Dandy Notebook from the dollar
bin at Target, just like Steve has in Blue's Clues.  I'd be thrilled
if he'd stop drawing on the trailer seats....
I bought this trailer used on Craigslist and it sure is showing signs of use.
The red nylon strapping that holds the seat back up and makes up the
safety straps is falling apart (not the stitching but the actual strapping).
I contacted the company about getting a replacement seat with straps and
they said a) they don't have replacements and b) it is only covered for a
year under warranty.  Given that the weight limit is 100 pounds, I argued that a
person should reasonably be expected to be able to use it until their single kid
weighs 100 pounds ( 8 years?) or maybe until your kid is 50 pounds (since
you can carry two in the trailer--so like 4-5 years?).  The company still said no.
I think that's lame.  
I'm debating getting another used trailer (newer) but since we'll only be living in
Davis for another year at the most, it doesn't seem worth it.  Hopefully I can go to
the fabric store this weekend to get some replacement nylon strapping and sew it on.
Of course, driving 20 miles round trip to even just see if Joanne's sells the right
strapping and buying might cost about what a new used trailer would.
At this point two of the shoulder straps have torn off.  Eddie dislikes
the waist strap and can unbuckle it that won't work.
Of course we'll continue to bike every day.  There's no way I am going to pay $7/day for a parking permit on campus.  I did join the GoClub on campus: it gives you a free parking permit for every month of the academic year if you commit to a predominantly non-driving commute.  I haven't used even half of my permits yet. This year the unused ones can be submitted back to the parking department and you'll be entered into a $50 Davis Dollars gift card for every unused permit.  Not a bad deal!

Once we move to Gualala, I'm concerned I won't get nearly as much exercise.  Walking to work will take 5 minutes, at most. And I will have to drive Eddie 20 minutes to preschool (each way!!!!) each day.  Sigh...I think I'll have to resort to getting a gym membership and working out  there every day.  Phooey.  I seriously dislike the idea of using electricity to get my exercise.  I really wish I loved running, because that's money/electricity free.  Not that there's anywhere to run in downtown Gualala (there's a trail that is only like 0.3 miles long). Anyway, I'm glad to live in a place that allows for bike commuting.  I'll take advantage while I can!


Leah Roy said...

That's so cool, Julie! You're such a Davis resident, and and a a darn good one. I rode my bike to and from campus/swim practice when I finally moved off campus my 3rd year in school. We also had a really great bus system that I used, although I'm pretty sure all college campuses do. Anyway, I miss riding my bike. Our town now is pretty hilly and not very conducive to biking although Kyle has a great bike and has been known to ride it all the way to base and back (on the days he is actually in San Diego). Its a good trek, but he considers it a workout as well. Good for you!

Would you ever think about doing home video workouts when you move? Yoga and/or something more cardiovascular and fast paced? There's tons to choose from. Just a thought.

Leah Roy said...

Love the carrot eating Eddie too! And that you get coffee and a treat everyday for yourself, I would do the same!

Kaitlin said...

That sounds like torture to me! Good for you!!!

steph.kelley said...

Coffe + treat is 100% deserved. :) That is one indulgence that I allow myself too, usually during office hours –- it's really nice to treat oneself like that. :) Your kiddo eating a whole carrot cracks me UP — what a riot. And wow, life will be different in Gualala. I too hate running; for me, gym classes I love are the only way to get me to exercise. Right now it's step classes, a totally 40-plus age group target but actually super fun (and full of students, which helps my esteem of it and myself). But you could get a lot of reading or podcast/audiobook listening done on a gym machine....that's a big plus! (And when are you moving? I ferget.) Hugs! xoxo

steph.kelley said...

PS: CONGRATS on your biking! That is impressive of you, and economical, and healthy, and industrious, and all good things. :)