Introducing Bill McNeal, the bike commuter
0 comment Wednesday, June 18, 2014 |
So you may see this curious name on my posts. It's an homage to Bill Hartman's character on the television show Newsradio, and something I started using years ago when I was working at a newspaper and blogging on the side. I had to write with a pseudonym, since my "out there" name couldn't be reappearing on things critical of city officials, etc.
Thus Bill McNeal was born. My real name is Steve Davis, and I work with Will at Transportation For America, and might be stopping by to write from time to time about my own experiences commuting to work by bike.
Oh look, I'll start now.
I shrug off the term "bike commuter."
When I worked as a journalist in my previous career, or had any number of jobs growing up in Atlanta, I never thought of myself a "car commuter." I drove, yes, but the title wasn't something I thought about.
To be fair, each morning I am a commuter. And each morning I generally tend to ride my bike. If that makes me a "bike commuter," so be it. But I just think of myself as someone who happens to ride a bike each day to work. I do it for a number of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with being a "bike advocate."
I describe myself as an A to B cyclist. I bike to get places. I bike to get things. Like groceries, greeting cards, or other goodies. And I generally choose to bike � to work at least � because it is hands down the fastest and cheapest way to get to work. Bus is at best 20-25 minutes if I catch the 43 express from Mt. Pleasant. And $1.25 each way. Walking is about 40, but free. Driving, even if I did still own my truck, would be at least 20 minutes, with the hassle and expense of parking on the other end.
I'm also a notoriously late riser, squeezing every last possible moment of sleep out of the night before reluctantly getting out of bed. And even on days when I've been planning on bussing (like these days with a hurt wrist), I end up biking because time gets away and I know I can walk in the door of my office 12 minutes after walking out my front door.
But you better believe that I enjoy all the tangential benefits of biking. I love the exercise each day that I get without thinking about it. I love cruising through stopped traffic most of the way there. I like starting out my day with fresh air while seeing my neighborhood and city from a speed and vantage point that lets me take it all in. I like being slightly out of the mainstream. At the end of the day, sometimes a really fast, hard ride up the hill to get home is exactly what I need.
So a bike commuter? I'll reluctantly accept the title on a technicality. But I really should be called a selfish commuter. Because even though biking means I have no car taking up space on my street each day, it uses next to zero energy, emits no carbon, burns calories, and means more space in the street for drivers and buses, it's really just about me � getting where I need to go as fast as possible.
Nice to be here. Thanks for the invite, Will.
Oh and everyone be careful not to get electrocuted by a goose while biking home (and for you DC folks, the WashCycle should really be a daily read for you.)

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