Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Five Mile Challenge

Jon and I are on a quest for simplicity. We've been on this particular mission quite a while, and I have to admit that living in the country has simplified a few things in my life - I don't have the rush of things to do, decisions to make, and life certainly does go slower (though the weeks fly by still!). Our food is more and more local since things grow, well, right down the block. We "commune with nature" a whole lot more, since we live right in the middle of it, too!

However, we drive more. One thing about michigan is that it is just so darn car friendly and just so darn bike unfriendly - at least outside of the People's Republic of Ann Arbor. I have, even a year later, still not adjusted to the fact that what was 25 or 35 in Wisconsin is 45 (and since everyone goes ten over, it's more like 55!)

I had pretty much given up on bike commuting. Until, that is, Jon pointed out that we drive so much and everything is pretty much close by! *According to the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey, 25 percent of all trips are made within a mile of the home, 40 percent of all trips are within two miles of the home, and 50 percent of the working population commutes five miles or less to work. Yet more than 82 percent of trips five miles or less are made by personal motor vehicle. Oops...and I call myself a cyclist!

Jon and I have decided that all trips five miles or less are going to, from here on out, be done via human power! He has also promised me he's going to finish the grocery getter bike tomorrow before work so I can effectively do this. In milwaukee, I NEVER had to think or deliberate about whether or not I'd hop on my bike to go somewhere - I would just do it...I have lost that moving out in the country.

I'm not sure what killed the commuting spark, perhaps the asshole michigan drivers, the really high speed limits, or facing commuting death on a daily basis? Or, maybe it was the one time I commuted the 55 miles home from work on our first 97 degree day, which included a two mile stretch down woodward...but, I'm ready to give it a try on a smaller scale, with the five mile challenge, and get back to my commuter roots.

Photo Credit: Amsterdamize
*Source: League of American Bicyclists

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