The Human Powered Season Week 1:

A poor, but serviceable bike rack at the local grocery.

A poor, but serviceable bike rack at the local grocery.

Remember the formula from school? Distance equals rate times time. So if a bicycle leaving Chicago travels at … Wait. Don’t go. Just kidding. No word problems, just some observations from week one of this experiment.

Why it should work: I’m working mostly at home, freelance. So I really don’t need to go that far, right? Sure, we live out in Kuna, Idaho far from the bustle (and bike friendly trails, sidewalks, and streets) of Boise. Most of the time, I don’t need to go there, right? I may want to, but those things can wait.

For some reason, not this week. When I am determined to drive less and bike more, urgent errands come to the fore that are time sensitive. No, I can’t bike 30 miles in an hour, then bike back, pick up my wife, etc. The Durango I want to park carried my bike farther than I rode it this week.

Disclaimer: I am more of a conservationist than an environmentalist. But less driving means less emissions, even if just locally. It also means less money on gas, and better health for the person doing the riding. I’m not going to go deep into the issues here, another blog on that later, but suffice it to say this is a personal goal and decision. I’m not trying to save the planet here. That seems too noble, and too hard.

Issues so Far:

Security: Bikes are worth money, and they are relatively easy to steal. You can’t roll up the windows and set the alarm. Some businesses (there will be ratings provided later) don’t even have bike racks, let alone modern and security conscious ones. The bike rack is often out of the way, not even visible from the main door. We want to give the thieves some privacy to do their work, I suppose. Even the best locks can be defeated. One immediate decision: when riding, I’ll only frequent businesses who are actively bike friendly. More on this later as well.

Weather: I’m not a fair weather cyclist. I have cycled in all kinds of weather, both on motorized and pedal bikes. However, the week I begin this experiment starts a heat wave in the west. The 12 mile ride doable at 5 a.m. becomes quickly untenable at 3 in the afternoon in 100+ temperatures. Especially for an Idaho boy more used to winter and the cold.

Services: Public transport? There are no routes out here (yet). Some stores are just not within reasonable riding distance when you are trying to catch up on freelance work after a month of intense full-time day job stuff. I’d pay twice as much for office supplies if I could find them anywhere close. The distance is doable, but not in the time frame I have.

Change needed: Clearly there are changes I will have to make in my lifestyle to make this work. I never expected it to be easy, but I’ve got some good ideas. I’ll report back on those next week, and let you know how it is going, but for now I need to ride downtown and get some things for a BBQ tonight.

Backpack, lock, and water bottles ready. Independence from the car on independence day? Priceless! Happy Fourth!