Monday, June 16, 2008

Taking the "Dump The Pump" Challenge

So it's "Dump The Pump" week ... as we try to get folks to use alternative ways to getting around as a way to save gas .... I'm gonna give it my all this week .. beginning today with riding my bike to work.

The good news is that I survived and made it to my desk. And now, as I continue to suck down water and wipe my brow ... I'm realizing it was more work than I thought it would be. Not that the 4.5 mile trek is that long, but that there were more hills than I anticipated. And, like most novice bikers, I didn't have enough air in my tires among other mistakes I made on the morning trek.

Officially, the yellow shirt was for safety reasons so drivers could see me. Unofficially, I wanted to feel like Lance Armstrong. (I had videographer Carl Bachtel snap a quick photo at my desk this morning so no one would have to ask if I was wearing a helmet.)
As a typical man, I was also convinced I would break down on my ride, so I brought along a bunch of wrenches too .. but fortunately didn't have to use them. Still, it was extra weight I didn't need to haul around.
Another lesson I learned today was to bring a water bottle that squirts and not one that has a lid. Trying to take the lid off while moving didn't work too well and made me stop a few times before I went splat in front of some nice little old ladies who recognized me and said "Oh, hi Mark!"
Ugh. My favorite!
For what it's worth, I was pleasantly surprised by the nice view on the towpath piece that stretches from the Mustill Store up into downtown. Just before it turns on to Beech Street, you can see the buildings rise up out of the trail. Very pretty and inviting. It gave me a good reason to stop and snap a photo.
In a few weeks, I'll no longer have to turn on Beech Street and cut over to Howard Street .. because the new bridge will be complete across the Innerbelt which will allow me to go under Market Street and come in to downtown through Cascade.
OK .. quick rinse .. into my superman outfit ... and off to a news conference.
COMING TUESDAY: RIDING THE METRO BUS TO WORK (that's provided I bike home safely after my shift today.)


Ben said...

I get tired driving 4.5 miles!

Anonymous said...

Why not ride the Metro on Thursday when it's free???

I saw an advertisement in Mr. Thrifty today that all day Thursday is free.

More info at or 330-762-0341.

Mike Banks said...

Eric, I live 3 miles from work and started biking to and from work 3 years ago year-round.

A wise person once told me a long time ago, if you live within 5 miles there's no reason to drive.

People look at me and treat me like I'm crazy in the winter and the rain.. but I'm having fun the whole time.

I'm not sure what's more harrowing the streets leading into downtown Akron or the clogged Wadsworth arteries at rush-hour... either way keep your head up and ride defensively. I only wish I could have the towpath as part of my commute.

Eric Mansfield said...

Thanks Mike .. it really was a great experience .. and a learning one too ..

I'm gonna tune up my bike, lighten my load, and make sure biking to work stays on the agenda at least a few days each week ...

The towpath is great ... but the mega hill at each end of my trip is a real challenge ... but navigating the downtown traffic is no picnic either :)

stay in touch ... Eric