17 November 2012

Why I'm not commuting

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Today was cool, but great for a two-layer ride. And this was my first ride in a couple weeks, during a long fallow period of riding because of classes taken at Wright State. And for other reasons.

What's been keeping me from commuting
It has been 9 months since I commuted to work regularly by bike. My last work commute was a day before Eastman Kodak "offered" me "early retirement." On the same day they served lay-off notices to the first 30% wave of their employees. Over that period, I've been rethinking what it must mean now to use my bicycle in a meaningful way that relates to commuting by bike, now that my workplace is my home.

I've been busy in the past 9 months, busier even than when I was a direct employee. The time saw a change in mindset from job hunting to building a viable business. Eastman Kodak provided 8 weeks of coaching for the job hunt, hosted by Judith Schimpf, a sensitive facilitator at Lee Hecht Harrison. I ended the sessions early to start taking Summer classes in marketing at Wright State. I started with the basic Introduction to Marketing, taught by Dr. Wakiuru Wamwara-Mbugua, whose pre-professorial experience included several demographic and interest group studies. Then I completed the Summer with Entrepreneurial Small Business, taught by Dr. Kendall Goodrich. His background includes management positions in large companies' marketing departments, and his advice superbly guided the building of a Business Plan for what was to become my company. And now I'm studying College Algebra, a pre-requisite for taking Managerial Finance.

At least since the Entrepreneurship class, my business Documentorium has been gestating. I've become more receptive to contracts instead of a direct position (though Chuck is much less comfortable with the idea than I). I've designed a simple business card and brochure, with stationery to match. I've gone to two trade shows now, and  I have planned and started an approach to contacting target clients. I've been practicing my Elevator Pitch in phone calls and meetings. It's getting honed and focused as I use it. Best news: I've been active with a couple contracted jobs, though I'm not working full-time yet in a writing capacity. So where I have available time, I spend it in administrative and sales activities.

What's been my biking activity—and hope
In this time of transition, I've biked to the local post office when I had books to deliver after they sold from our Amazon storefront, Words and Beyond. I biked also a few times to the Second Street Market. But for the most part, my bike leaned on the wall while I drove to classes at Wright State University and to errands.

I know that the direct route to Wright State is not one I want to use for biking. Way back in 1980, I had taken the route along Colonel Glenn Highway and Airway. Even then the traffic was extraordinarily heavy, and it's worse—much worse—now. There is good news, though; construction is underway on a dedicated route that can end at the university. Perhaps as soon as late Spring 2013, Five Rivers MetroParks will complete a connector between Eastwood Park and Huffman Dam. Then the route will be indirect, but safe—a ride of 12 miles that should be easily done in 50 minutes.

Reconsidering the bike commute
So working from home means rethinking what a commute is. One alternative: take a morning ride to prepare for work at home or a late afternoon ride to mark the end of the workday at home. Another alternative: use more errands as opportunities for bike commuting. Another alternative: rethink my comfort level, so I can dress in casual business instead of cycling lycra and arrive at a destination without needing a shower.

Today's ride conditions
I started out around 3 p.m., took the bikeways to the gym that was known as Cardinal Fitness (now it's Every Body Fitness), and turned around for the return trip. I checked my time about a mile after the turnaround: 4:19. Then after coming up from the bikeway and riding the neighborhood streets back home, I saw Marty Moseman and talked with her for a bit before I got home at 5:10.

Temperature: 53 to 59°F at 16:45
Precipitation: none
Winds: 5 to 15 mph from the south and east
Clothing: Skinsuit, longsleeve undershirt, ankle socks, light tights, open-finger gloves
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed 48x16
Time: about 2:00:00 for about 26 miles
Heart rate: no data
Bikeway users: no data

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