So I am an executive... I wear the requisite banker clothes, I manage people, and I have commuted to work in LA from Long Beach on the Metro Blue Line for years. It has been, as they say, a slice of life and I love it. Given my recent daily grousing over the price of gas, fancying myself turning green, and above all longing for more exercise, I have decided to become a--here's a new word of the day-- "multimodal commuter." Perhaps recklessly since I have been more a runner in recent years than a cyclist, I have succumbed to the romantic notion of adding a bicycle leg to my daily commute. I will leave my car parked in the garage.
Not willing to be undone by the counter-intuitive challenges of "executive" bike commuting, earlier this week I sent an email to Andrea White-Kjoss, President and COO of Bikestation/Mobis Transportation Alternatives (the sponsor of this website).
"Dear Andrea, tomorrow is the first day of my new 5-mile Naples to Downtown Long Beach leg of my LA commute via the Ocean Bike Route to the Bikestation and Metro Blue Line. So exciting! I need your advice as a professional woman with respect to some feminine logistics. Authoritative sources say that you are the expert. Please call me..."
We chatted on our smart phones and exchanged emails. She referred me for everyday counsel to the online newsletter, Women's Cycling www.womenscycling.ca and her personal favorite Cycle Chic http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/ A bike commuter herself, Andrea and I dished about everything from helmet hair to the virtues of biking in skirts and stilettos (just kidding about the stilettos). I settled on cycle wear during my commute with a change into “executive” attire at the Bikestation and vice versa at the end of the day. Yesterday, I emailed to tell her about my first morning's commute.
"Hey Andrea. I made it! I am now on the Metro Blue Line on my way to work. It took 30 minutes from Naples to Bikestation. It was a lovely ride along the ocean--me and all the other bikers and runners. I feel pumped with endorphins and quite the athlete, ha-ha. Brent at Bikestation was kind enough to take the attached picture--clothes shook out nicely having been stuffed into my saddle bag. I brought a flat iron and touched up my hair, kinky from bike helmet and pony tale. I think this new life style just may work..."
Perhaps it's just the endorphins talking, but I loved my first day of bike commuting. Given the east-west orientation of the ocean bike path, the sun warmed my back in the morning and afternoon--no sun weathered face for this girl. With the wind gently blowing my helmet covered hair, the temperature in the 60s, and me comfortably in shorts riding my bike home, I gloried in the late afternoon sun at the end of a good day. To the chagrin of joggers, my ear pods and I sang “American Pie.” Life is good.
My fellow cycling enthusiasts, I will keep you posted as my adventure unfolds.