Friday, March 27, 2009

The one-way bike commute

I've discovered a new way to spice up the daily trip downtown--the one-way bike commute! I'd heard of the OWBC before but only in the context of crazy long-distance cyclo-commuters. They might ride in, say 20-30 miles then get a ride or transit home. The bike stays at the office until they feel up to riding it home again.

Since my commute is only 5 to 6 miles each way, I'm pretty much always up to the return trip, and there is no faster way home for me. Also, I remember hearing from one seasoned OWBCer that things can get a little complicated. He once ended up with both bikes and his car at the office and had to bum a ride one evening to retrieve his gear. I sort of tricked myself into it, though.

I was loaning out a bike to a PSU exchange student, and I needed to get it downtown to make the handoff. I could have pulled it on the trailer or done some epic ghost riding, but I was lazy and just rode in on the loaner bike. I think I had a vague plan to ride the bus home--vague enough that I didn't bring a bus ticket or any cash along. Or my wallet, actually. Hmmm. One of those weird carfree moments of Zen.

The weather was nice enough, and nothing was pressing, so I decided to walk the five miles home. It turned out to be a pleasant way to spend an hour and a half of my evening. The next morning I was really ready to get back on my bike, too. Hmmm.

I sort of shelved the thought through the worst of winter, since I'd much rather be on a bike than on foot in cold and rain. This spring, I've been experimenting more with the OWBC, though, and I'm really enjoying it. Walking home's fun because I can take weird "urban explorer" type paths that would be a pain or impossible on the bike. I've made all sorts of fun right-of-way discoveries in the southwest hills. I've also run home twice. The distance is a little out of my comfortable running range, but it's still fun as an occasional challenge. My usual OWBC plan of attack is to ride in, walk or run home, and then bus in the next day. It really makes me appreciate the bike trip in, too, since I know I'm going to have two trips off the bike.

I'd love to add some new commute modes to the mix. I may try kicking in on Rachel's little scooter some day. I wish I knew how to skateboard--those longboards look like a relaxing way to get around. Or kayak. I'm lucky I can leave the bike in my office, since a sketchy lockup spot would kill the OWBC. If you can make one work, though, I highly recommend it!



Anonymous Andrew said...

I like to keep a stash of bus tickets in my saddle bag for these kinds of occasions.

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Joe! Well, I managed to lose your email address, but maybe you'll check your comments section. Anyway, Amanda and I are moving to Olympia in July. Email me, and I'll give you the details. Maybe we can catch up over some fishing. -Shaun

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you thought about cart wheels on the way home? Now that would make an interesting mix. Might also consider kite boarding on gusty days

11:58 AM  
Blogger TheGuth said...

Borrowed this idea from a friend, but decided I really like it: Some predawn mornings I just don't feel like getting on my bike to make my hilly 12mile commute (not complaining, just sayin) so I'll drive in but bring my bike with me. I'll ride my bike home that afternoon. Then, heh, I'm forced to ride my bike in the next morning. My car is still at work and no handy bus routes. I'm committed!

10:31 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Thanks so much for writing such an interesting blog. I just recently came across "Cycler's Life", and I'm really enjoying it. I added your blog to my own blog's side-bar favorites and wrote about it in my June 16 post...

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Did you already have a look at the blog of the World Carfree Network ( It is a new space to share information and discuss issues relevant to eliminating car dependency, exploring alternatives and to celebrate carfree living. We hope to provide a rich and diverse content and that you will enjoy following it.

Would you like to consider a link exchange between your blog and our to facilitate the exchange of information and the navigation of people supporting the carfree movement from one blog to another. (We may have already add your link)

We also invite you to blog with us if you are interested - please send your letters, articles, news, pictures and videos to

Greetings from Prague! All the best,


7:01 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I was looking for your email address online and found your blog. Cool! Here's a link to a tandem xtracycle--if you dream it it is possible! Nice chatting with you yesterday. I'll look you up when I start working on that grant for the bike comfort station...

10:38 AM  
Blogger Mozez said...

Excellent blog, my dad loves cycling :-)

Please exchange links with me and I will feature your blog..It deserves to be seen! :-)

email me on



7:51 PM  
Blogger James praker said...

i like this post i was thinking of creating a web site based on the bike racing and now your post is helpful for me in Web Designingprocess on the biking website!
so thnx for this!

1:31 AM  
Anonymous Web Solutions said...


Great knowledge and thinking about Web Solutions and there are many web master can get knowledge.

11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

酒店打工 酒店兼職
台北酒店 打工兼差 酒店工作
酒店經紀 禮服店
酒店兼差 酒店上班 酒店PT 酒店酒店喝酒 酒店消費 喝花酒 粉味

1:06 PM  
Blogger stan said...

Hey Joe! Nice pictures on your site. Especially the snowy ones. We don't ever get snow in Cape Town and I've never actually ridden in snow - must be strange. Anyway, wanted to introduce you to a project I'm working on about South African cycling culture. I think you might like it...


7:33 AM  
Blogger tjan said...

Some time back I learned the art of riding my bike while pushing/pulling another alongside. This comes in very useful when my kids leave one of their bikes at school and for picking up and dropping off bikes that are in loan, in for repairs, etc. A skill worth mastering!

1:59 PM  
Blogger 許瑋菁 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Sara said...

Nice! Have a pleasant holiday shopping season.

4:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

which is your best way to commute? I can bet it's by bicycle!

2:29 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home