Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bicycle Commuting



I am not doing to well at my attempt at bicycle commuting. For the most part my only conservation is that I am not using the car as much as I used to. The 2 - 5 hours of cycling a day helps but I still use the car for short errands.


From a distance standpoint there is no reason that I why I cannot run to A&P, Barnes & Noble, Target, Best Buy and Pet Smart on my bike. From a safety stand point there is a lot of reasons. I would have to ride Laurel Avenue which is the main road connecting the Parkway with Rt 35. The shoulders are narrow but the biggest problem is that the road goes from 4 lanes down to 2 lanes underneath the NJ Transit bridge. Folks driving cars have been kill here.


While Holmdel - Middletown are not exactly bike friendly due to the terrain. There are couple of other towns in the area that I probably would never have to take my car except during bad weather.



Fairhaven is my favorite (the picture above is my Langster in front of Bike Haven Bike Shop). It is a borough located on the Navesink River between Red Bank and Rumson. Fairhaven is not hip like Red Bank and not uber weathly like Rumson. In the summer it Fairhaven has a real American Small Town vibe going on. From a biking stand point is has all kinds from the local folks riding on there beach cruisers to the hard core roadies meeting in the parking lot of Acme. Since Fairhaven has a vibrant main street (Actually called Fairhaven Rumson Road) most errands can be accomplished with a short bike ride. Anything that is not found in Fairhaven can be found in Red Bank or Little Silver.


Little Silver is another of the boroughs that I feel is very bike friendly. In fact most of my bike rides end up going through Little Silver at some point. I have even had to take shelter under the overhang of Walgreen's. Little Silver shares a border with Red Bank, Fairhaven and Rumson. It also has a NJ Transit station in the middle of town which makes it very commuter friendly (take one of the morning express trains and you can be in Midtown NY in little over an hour and the locals will take about 90 minutes). Little Silver has a main street that has everything you would need. For hard core shopping The Grove in Shrewsbury is a easy ride.


As the price of gasoline increases I am sure we here in the US will start to get more and more bike commute friendly areas. I have heard Matt Murray of WHTG's G-Rock Morning Show talk about starting a Bike Brigade. He even suggested that a bike lane be created on the Garden State Parkway.


I am not sure that a bike lane on the Parkway is practical since it was really laid out for cars going between North Jersey and the Jersey Shore. Bike commuting only works for distances of under 10 miles. However, there are some things that could be done to help. Here are a couple.



  1. New Jersey Transit should have a bike car on its lines like CalTrains does in California. Now that NJT has double decked cars it should be possible.

  2. Places to leave your bike while you are shopping.

  3. If the higher cost of fuel drives does drive down the number of cars on the road maybe it will be possible to carve out more space for the bike commuters. Less potholes and road grim.

Of course nothing will be done until the demand is proven. The oil bubble will burst eventually but in the mean time it might be interesting to take the opportunity to explore alternative methods of transportation. It actually might be fun.


Bike Habitat in NYC has some ideas about bike commuting.

2 comments:

Jeff Stevenson said...

Hi. Please join the Bicycle to Work! LinkedIn networking group. Members pledge that they will try to ride their bicycle to work or on an errand at least once a week. Although the benefits should be obvious, let me outline them here.

Right now people in the industrialized world are facing two very grave problems: obesity and a growing scarcity of oil. Compounding this problem is the new food shortage brought about, in part, by the conversion of food cropland to bio-fuel crop production. Most people feel powerless to help, but there is one thing that we can do. Ride our bicycles to work.

If everyone would agree to ride their bikes to work one day per week we could cut oil consumption by as much as 10-15%. No one would argue that riding a bike burns more calories than driving the car. Although popular politically right now, most bio-fuels consume more energy than they produce. We would be much better to eat those bio-crops then use our own energy to transport us around.

So spread the word. Make it a movement! Bicycle to work one day a week and do your part to cut back obesity and the overuse of oil and precious cropland.

Just go to my profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreylstevenson and you can click on the group to be included. While you are there, don't forget to ask to link to my network of more than 9,000,000 like-minded professionals. I accept all invitations and look forward to meeting you.

Jeff

Anonymous said...

good idea