May 18, 2012 National Bike to Work Day

I ride my bike to work once or twice per week when the weather is nice.  I love the 20-40 mile ride and I usually plan it so that I drive into work one day with my bike and with clothes for the next day, I ride home that afternoon and then back in the following morning.  In the morning it wakes me up, and I feel alert, productive, and calm throughout my work day.  In the afternoons, I often take a longer loop and enjoy the back roads of Ellington on my way home to Bolton.  Often I am in a rush in the mornings (who isn’t?) but if I set my clothes out in advance and leave a change of clothes at work the day before, I can pedal into the University of Hartford in about an hour and 10 or 15 minutes.  During rush hour, it takes me 45 minutes to drive in.  So, now for a “time cost” of 30 minutes, I have actually gotten an hour and 15 minutes of awesome exercise.  I’m rarely in a rush on the way home, so this is the time when I can enjoy some quieter back roads and have even stopped at road side vegetable stands to fill my backpack with organic treats for dinner.

Image

(this is not my commute, unfortunately!  Commuting keeps me in shape to take great vacations though!)

SO, when a meeting was announced at the University to join a group for National Bike to Work Day, I decided to attend.  Seven of us planned out our routes, and decided to meet at the State House in downtown Hartford for the featured breakfast and celebration.  Hopefully over 100 cyclists descending on the city will help to create awareness of bicycle commuters.  ImageAccording to the League of American Bicyclists who sponsor the event, people ride to work for many reasons:  save money or time, get fit and healthy, reduce their impact on the environment.  I would add FUN and feeling good to that list, and I would encourage more people to join us next year. 

I was the only one of our group from the University that was riding from the East.  At 6:35am, I joined up with 2 friends who live in Bolton.  We rode to a designated meeting point in Manchester where we were joined by a group from the Willimantic/Mansfield/Andover area.  These folks had ridden up on the Hop River Rail Trail.  We now rode the paved and VERY curvy bike path through Manchester, past Manchester Community College, and to Forbes Street in East Hartford.  I don’t remember all the turns, but we ultimately pedaled from the end of the bike path to The Founders Bridge in Hartford, picking up more commuters the entire way.  Once in Hartford, I met “my group” from the University and we rode back to the sports center where we were able to shower and get ready for our work day.  Image

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