I spent the entire year of 2010 struggling to find a job after losing my job of 8 years due to the economic catastrophe of the last few years. I didn’t really mind it except that my resume was in solar energy, which is not a very Michigan industry. This made it that much harder for me to get an interview with a company that felt they could utilize my skills and that I would actually stick around when things got better economically.
As if the odds were not already stacked against me enough, I refused to apply to, or interview with, almost any job beyond the limits of what the mass transit system or my bike could handle. I wanted to reduce my carbon footprint, live healthier, and have less money being pissed away into a stupid car and related expenses. I already drive 300 miles across the state and back to see my kids every other weekend, I didn’t want to be even more indebted to the bastards in the oil industry than I already am.
When I moved to West Michigan in July 2007, I bought a brand new 2008 Gary Fisher Genesis Series Marlin to move me about town and keep a little fat off of my ass (i likes me some beers and all kinds of food!) Plus the diagnosis of asthma on top of my already heinous allergies (everything airborne!) meant that I needed a little extra effort to keep my lungs from being as crappy as they are. So now the incentive to really put some miles on the bike is even greater.
In January I finally started working. I landed a job near the airport, about 12 miles from my Heritage Hill apartment. The Rapid is half way to being a decent transit system, and thanks to the recent millage passing on May 3rd it is going to get better (thank you to all my fellow YES voters!). The fatal flaw in the Rapid (at least until the new funding kicks in?) is that it takes me TWO buses (#6 and #17) and nearly 90 minutes to get within walking distance of my job. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to drive it myself.
The solution I discovered was to stay in bed an hour longer, bike 3 blocks to get on the #6 at Lake and Fulton, and skip the transfer onto the #17 at Woodland Mall. I can bike the 3 miles down Beltline Dr to 44th Street & East Paris in 15 minutes instead of waiting 20 minutes for the #17 to arrive. This means that in the coldest weather I can stay in my warm bed an hour longer, and do something productive with the 20 minutes that I would normally spend freezing to death at the bus stop.
More sleep, less fossil fuel consumption, more exercise. Awesome!
Now that spring is finally here, I have started to make the transition to simply biking the whole trip at least a few times per week. I can do it in just over an hour, and will have to make it a goal to shave it down to less than 60 minutes.