Public Transit Makes the Bike Heart Grow Fonder

I have not left my house since Monday due to a dreadful illness.  Today I’m venturing to the outside world again, but sadly not on my bicycle because 1) Chicago is a slushy, icy, snowy mess and 2) no energy.

Here’s a quick trip down recent-memory lane.  When I walked out my front door on Monday morning, the ground looked like this…

P1020843resized

And the streets looked like this…

P1020846resized

So I walked myself to the L train and got to work that way.

In Chicago, all neighborhoods have a direct public transit route to downtown.  While I prefer to ride my bike, taking the L train from my home to my office is quick and easy.  Unfortunately, the situation gets trickier when I want to go somewhere other than downtown.  At least one transfer is involved, which adds a lot of wasted time to the trip.  Times like those are when I really appreciate the freedom that my bike provides.

A perfect example is my Monday evening outing.  After work, I met up with my friends in the Logan Square neighborhood, which is a few miles west of my neighborhood.  This involved taking a bus and transferring to the L train – basically, a lot of standing around waiting in the cold, then gripping a pole while trying not to fall or touch any other passengers inappropriately.   No way would I want to do that every day as my regular commute.  I reeeeeeeally missed my bike.

But it was nice to get off my usual beaten path.  Here is Logan Square after sunset:

P1020849resized

P1020850resized

Here is my friend Ash, ridiculously awesome woman.  If you look closely, you’ll see her one-month-old daughter tucked warmly in a special “car seat” in the bakfiets.  Read how she rigged it up and how she biked with her baby eight miles roundtrip to our brunch on Sunday.  Meanwhile, I was on the bus.  I know.  Lame.

P1020856resized

And here is my friend Megan, also looking very winter cycle chic and being cooler than me with her bicycle.

P1020860resized

Back to the public transit story.

After saying goodnight to my friends, I planned to take two buses to get home, but when the CTA tracker informed me of a 25 minute wait for the first bus, I realized that traveling the few miles home would end up taking well over an hour.  I hailed a cab instead – definitely not a financially viable way to get around the city on a regular basis, but at least I was home in ten minutes.  Bonus, I got to sit uncomfortably while the cabbie talked to himself and yelled at other drivers during the whole ride.

But again I reeeeeeeeally missed my bike.

P1020859resized

So as you keep on keeping on, winter cycling friends, remember to thank your bicycle for being awesome.

Anyone else forced to take public transit and appreciating your bike even more as a result?

About these ads
Tagged , , , ,

17 thoughts on “Public Transit Makes the Bike Heart Grow Fonder

  1. dave bell says:

    i have lived your situation on a couple of occasions thinking the bus would be a good option and then quickly realizing that with wait time or transfers my trip is longer and less enjoyable than it would have been by bike. thanks for writing your blog!

  2. Camilla Kyndesen says:

    Absolutely! I don’t like biking when the roads are icy, so I often end up taking the bus in the winter. By now, I’m really looking forward to getting back on the bike – it goes *when* I want, *where* I want, and with *only* me and not half the city on it. I feel your pain :)

  3. […] During Winter Riding CTA Downtown is Easy But Cycling Better for Accessing Neighborhoods (LGRAB) […]

  4. Adam Herstein says:

    I biked in the mess last night. You didn’t miss anything; the roads were terrible and my chain popped off a mile from home because of all the gunk in my drivetrain. My gloves got soaked while putting the chain back on. At least I made it home only 10 minutes later than usual!

    Late Sunday night I was forced to take the ‘L’ to a bus, and when no buses came for 30 minutes and the tracker didn’t list any buses on the way, I had to take a cab. $10 for a three mile ride! Makes me wish I had my bike that night.

    • LGRAB says:

      Sounds like an eventful ride. Last night’s weather was awful.

      Waiting for a bus for a long time that never comes and then having to take a cab anyway is the worst. That’s happened to me a few times. I hate taking the bus.

    • LGRAB says:

      Sounds like an eventful ride. Last night’s weather was awful.

      Waiting for a bus for a long time that never comes and then having to take a cab anyway is the worst. That’s happened to me a few times. I hate taking the bus.

  5. Emm says:

    I did a few weeks ago, also due to being sick. I looked longingly out the window searching for my fellow riders. Oh the pangs.

  6. Jude says:

    Haha! Absolutely! Thankfully the snow here in London has gone now,
    otherwise I think I would’ve gone mad. There’s nothing like being forced
    onto public transport for a week to make me realise how much I need the
    space and thinking time of being on my bike.

  7. E A says:

    Glad to hear you made it out of the house today (on bike or not)! Honestly 0- the slush and frozen dampness out there isn’t worth the stress of biking. Get well is most important!

    TGIF!

  8. E A says:

    Glad to hear you made it out of the house today (on bike or not)! Honestly 0- the slush and frozen dampness out there isn’t worth the stress of biking. Get well is most important!

    TGIF!

  9. trailz says:

    Great pics.
    Where I live (Chicago boonies) there’s unfortunately, no convenient public trans to the Metra station — which I ride to daily (1.5 miles). The last few days, I’ve had to push my bike through the 7″ snow laying on the bike path for 3/4 of a mile, then ride on side streets when they’re available. Still, I wouldn’t trade this commute for a car ride ANYTIME! (this morning, someone kindly stopped and offered me a ride! I thanked her, declining, and kept pushing. Simply put, being the change I’d like to see.

  10. K2 says:

    I feel your pain. I have been sick for two weeks and even missed two days of work (first time in 15 years). No biking for me now that I feel better because a) no energy and b) 30 cms of snow on the ground in the GTA. On the plus side it is warming up today and the sun is out…beauty abounds. Can’t wait for a long walk by the lake. Hope to be back on the bike on Monday.

  11. Megan says:

    Being somewhere without my bike makes me feel stranded, which is why I rode that night instead of taking the 12 minute walk. I realized last night the I do sometimes wish for a fast L ride home late at night, it’s only during the winter. If I’m visiting any neighborhood that requires a connection on public transit I go to great lengths to bike instead—it’s just not worth the hassle. How I dream of a circle line on the L!

  12. I ride my bike /and/ take public transit regularly. Both have their place in a car-free life- including (OMFSM) transfers. Most transit around here (SoCal) will actually accommodate cyclists onboard. I hope that cyclists can stop talking about how awful and coercive and sucky public transit is, and can make common cause with transit riders (and those of us who are both!) to build a better city.

  13. mk says:

    i have been off my bike all week b/c i have been sick. while the bus can be slower, it is a great time to catch up on my reading. I finished two New Yorkers and a book last week – something I cannot do when biking full time. Focusing on the opportunities that public transportation (safe transport, reading time) and biking (exercise, fresh air) offer help me to enjoy both in lieu of a car.

    • Dottie says:

      I do love reading when I can, though! Sometimes I listen to audio books during my bike commute. :) Hope you’re feeling better now!

    • LGRAB says:

      I’m rarely able to read on public transit because I’m usually standing and/ or trying not to feel nauseated. The suburban commuter trains are another story, but I don’t go to the burbs much.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 57 other followers

%d bloggers like this: