The Independence of Bicycling

Boy, was I happy to be riding my bike yesterday evening!  An extra-alarm fire at a furniture store adjacent to the L-tracks shut down the red, brown, and purple lines for several hours spanning the height of rush hour.  (No one was hurt in the fire.)  Mr. Dottie was on the brown line and had to walk the last two miles home, which is not so fun in near 90-degree heat, carrying a heavy work bag and wearing steel-toed boots. I, on the other hand, sailed along home with trusty Oma.

The scene biking past the L station was chaotic, with hundreds of people waiting for shuttle buses and car traffic jammed from road closures.  I may have gotten some envious looks from the poor commuters stuck on the side of the road.  Too bad Chicago’s planned bike share is not up and running yet – I bet lots of people would have tried it for the first time!

Bonus: enjoying the sight and smell of fresh flowers along my route.

While situations like this on public transportation are rare, I prefer to deal with them never.  The ordeal reminded me of the independence that the bicycle provides.  As long as I have my trusty bike and a slim stretch of road, I’m set.  (Just no thunderstorms, please!)

Good work, Oma!

  • http://twitter.com/squirrelgal Carolyn

    We have buses running regularly around town, but I prefer riding my bicycle on my time.  No late buses to worry about.. :)

    Did you hear about the problems with the Montreal Subway on one day recently?  Can’t remember if it was a threat to the Subway, or else.. but a lot of people used Bixi bike sharing that day because of the station closures/massive delays.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      I hadn’t heard about that, but that is not a surprise.  

  • http://letsgorideabike.com Trisha

    Your description of the scene at the El station reminds me of when we were in Montmartre and the Metro was shut down. That crowded bus…ah good times. We totally should have taken the Velib’. 

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Ah yes, I remember that ordeal well. And Greg almost did not get on the bus or something? Ha! We discovered Velib way too late on that trip. :)

      • http://letsgorideabike.com Trisha

        Yes, he wasn’t as pushy as we were. :)

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Ah yes, I remember that ordeal well. And Greg almost did not get on the bus or something? Ha! We discovered Velib way too late on that trip. :)

  • cycler

    Yes, when there’s a closure on the Red line, I feel really smug as I bike past all the people waiting for a shuttle bus or vying for a cab.  When they get bike share in Cambridge/ Somerville, it’s going to a huge hit on those days.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      Smug is a good word for it.  I am so GD smug, I can’t help it.  :)

    • http://myaudienceisowls.blogspot.com/ Dottie

      Smug is a good word for it.  I am so GD smug, I can’t help it.  :)

  • cycler

    Oh, and super cute dress!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      Thanks!  I have to be obnoxious and let you know that I got it at the thrift store for $6 – silk Banana Republic.  :)

  • http://www.anniebikes.blogspot.com anniebikes

    Ah, more affirmation for bike commuting.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      Affirmation #547.  :)

    • http://myaudienceisowls.blogspot.com/ Dottie

      Affirmation #547.  :)

  • http://yaybeth.blogspot.com/ Beth

    The first day in ages I didn’t bike to work, and the nightmare commute happens. I stared enviously and longingly at every bicycle that went by! (I blogged about how much better the bike is, too. Hard not to after a day like that.)

    Even this morning, on an old borrowed Schwinn that doesn’t fit me and goes soooo slow, it was a million times better than any train/bus/car commute I’ve ever had.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      Sorry to hear you got caught up in that.  Of course, it would happen the one day you don’t ride your bike.

  • Kara Hallstrom

    Hopefully seeing you pedal past inspired at least one of the commuting crowd.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      That would be nice!

  • http://chrissyridesabike.tumblr.com/ Chrissy

    This is how I feel whenever I bicycle past people who are waiting for the bus, as their eyes follow me and my bike as we roll down the road. Vegas has very little in terms of public transportation- busses only, and they only really travel north/south and east/west. It’s so inconvenient. I’m glad my bicycle provides such an awesome alternative than this crappy bus system!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      Right.  I’m lucky that Chicago’s transit system is so good, but most big cities (other than DC, NYC, SF, CHI) are left with crappy public transportation every day, not just when there’s a catastrophe.  

  • http://chrissydoesstuff.tumblr.com/ Chrissy

    This is how I feel whenever I bicycle past people who are waiting for the bus, as their eyes follow me and my bike as we roll down the road. Vegas has very little in terms of public transportation- busses only, and they only really travel north/south and east/west. It’s so inconvenient. I’m glad my bicycle provides such an awesome alternative than this crappy bus system!

    • http://myaudienceisowls.blogspot.com/ Dottie

      Right.  I’m lucky that Chicago’s transit system is so good, but most big cities (other than DC, NYC, SF, CHI) are left with crappy public transportation every day, not just when there’s a catastrophe.  

  • Lafs4

    All major cities should have something like the Bixi bike share we have in Toronto and Montreal…it makes perfect sense.  Hope Chi town gets on board.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      I agree!  Seems like it’s heading that way.

  • Lafs4

    All major cities should have something like the Bixi bike share we have in Toronto and Montreal…it makes perfect sense.  Hope Chi town gets on board.

  • Inspiredcyclist

    Pedaling your way to work continues to be a win/win activity!  

  • Steelschwinnster

    Were you going nah, nah, nah all the way home?! should have been. Here in the northwest, the Oregonian tells us it has been the wettest spring for many years, with, yes thurder and lightning. I love the smell of rain just before it starts and all of nature is still…in wait

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Only in my head. :)

  • http://twitter.com/bikelaneliving Bike Lane Living

    In traffic-heavy areas, biking can be quicker. If commuters lived in the city, I bet they’d find it’s just easier to bike than to drive.

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  • DENNIS.HINDMAN

    To bad you couldn’t have swung by and given Mr. Dottie a ride home on your bike. That would probably have brought smiles to peoples faces and it would really be going Dutch.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Yeah, I need to practice carrying passengers on my rack. :)