- 10 miles isn't enough distance to justify the time cost of donning ATGATT
- A 10 miles commute that has 14 stop lights is painful
- 10 miles that generally take 35 minutes to traverse meant too much clutch action sitting at said lights through multiple cycles.
Recently my commute doubled in length. And you might think my
Maybe. But doubling those miles also doubled the stoplights and quadrupled the traffic that I encounter. The new area is more business oriented and daily becomes mecca for a large portion of the North Georgia business people.
I held out hope that I would eventually be able to ride to work. I spend my first week scouting out every conceivable route between home and work. Things were not looking good as my 18.1-19.5 mile commute lasted anywhere between 60 - 85 minutes. I spoke with a few other people that lived near where I did and they confirmed their commutes were also in that range. I spoke with a couple of riders and they also confirmed the diagnosis. The only cure was changing arrival/departure time.
I realize I constantly remind you of my Atlanta location. But it really is relevant. There isn't one street that is straight for a distance longer than 300 years. To state another way, city streets are not laid out in a grid pattern. It is not reasonable to expect to be traveling in the same direction if you turn right at the next street, then turn left at the following. I does not happen here. Here, two roads can run parallel, then cross each other a mile down the way.
What does this mean in a commute? It means that if traffic is heavy on the street that I am currently on, I can't just turn at the next one and expect that I will be able to regain my heading at the next street. That first street I turned on could actually spin around and weave itself to travel in a direction exactly opposite the direction I was initially heading.
Than you have to add the river. The river that bisects from the Northeast to the Southwest and has all of its meanderings. Not many streets cross that river. So you are bound to certain paths in long lines with everyone else.
I have been informed, and confirmed, that traffic patterns are fairly reasonable if I planned on arriving at 7:00 AM. Yeehaw. At that time I could leave home about 6:20 and have a "decent" commute. To boot, traffic isn't too bad in the afternoon with a 4 PM departure. Some intersections can get sticky, sometimes, on some days. I haven't discovered any patterns.
Conversely, I could leave my house after 9 AM and generally make good time. However, I haven't discovered when evening rush hour ends yet. At any time between 4:30 and 7:00 I'm still seeing bad backups. And I really don't like working late. I am a morning work type person.
All that being said I have commuted on the bike frequently so far.
And I can say that I FINALLY understand why people enjoy it!! My current route has quite a few miles with few lights. And some sections actually go against traffic flow a ways. When I get a few opportunities to get up to speed and can get the wind to blow the cobwebs away I am all smiles.
But what I really enjoy is the necessity to stop thinking about work. Riding requires so much concentration and focus you can't be thinking about work too. So coming in in the morning I am not thinking about what I have to do that day. And leaving for home means I stop thinking about anything that happened during the day. What a win! My mind is clear to start the day and focus on upcoming challenges. And it is clear when I get home, allowing me to focus on family and relaxing. Wow.
Trite but the saying is true: you never see a motorcycle outside a psychiatrists office.
Not everything has worked itself out yet, though. I have a distinct aversion to wearing "proper" clothing. In many other activities you dress to how warm you will get. Not necessarily to the current temps. I know this isn't applicable to motorbike commuting since I am not performing anything physical to warm my internal temps. So I find that I way underdress for morning temps of 44F (7C) when I know the afternoon temps will reach 80+F (27C). I don't want to layer or get the heated gear out knowing that I won't need it in the afternoon. So a couple mornings I have really frozen. :) My palms are warm against the heated grips but my thighs have stuck to the gas tank like a wet tongue to a metal flagpole in the frozen school yard.
Another issue that I am still trying to work through is just the expectations of being a girl in a business environment. How do you dress nicely and manage long hair AND ride a motorcycle??? I don't agree with wearing one set of clothes on the motorbike and changing into a different set in the office. That may be the ultimate solution...but I don't like it. My current solution is to wear jeans to the office. I'm not supposed to, but nothing has been said yet. As for the top, I will either wear what I want under my armored jacket or wear an undershirt and shrug the nicer top over that when I arrive.
Unfortunately I still have a problem with my hair. I have long, curly, dry, unmanageable hair. I would cut if off, but would look even worse in short hair than I currently do. I can't wash my hair in the evening because it takes forever to dry. Which is also why I can't wash it in the morning if I plan to ride. My wet hair would freeze or completely saturate the padding of my helmet and jacket. And I would still freeze.
So what do I do with my hair? I normally wash, or get it wet, and let it air dry to maintain the natural curls. If I attempt to brush it after it has dried it separates every single strand and frizzes out. My hair is so thick that when this happens I look like the combed out pompoms of a show poodle.
I haven't solved this issue yet, but it will probably mean obtaining hair brushes and spray bottles that stay at work. A blow dryer might be pushing it since the bathrooms are utilitarian, without much space.
Thank goodness I don't wear makeup! I couldn't even imagine the havoc caused by sweating in my helmet as I get ready to depart, followed by freezing temps that chill the beads of sweat into place.