My daily commute is about as uncomplicated as it could be. Turn right, turn right, get on the freeway, take the first exit, turn left, turn right, and park across the street from my building. It takes me about 20 minutes door-to-door, every day, and costs $2.50 in bridge toll and $5 in parking.
The trip home is also pretty simple: turn right, turn right, turn left, turn right, get on the freeway, stay on the 80, take the first exit, turn right, turn left, get home.
Cost per day: $7.50
Time spent: 40 minutes
Why is this so easy? Because I have a motorcycle.
I don’t have to worry about traffic, thank god, there’s always parking available, and the time it takes for me to get from point A to point B depends only on my own driving.
Of course, it’s a motorcycle. There’s a significant amount of risk inherent in this mode of transportation. I seem to have gotten 99% of my near misses out of the way early on, but there’s still naturally quite a bit of danger in riding exposed at ~60MPH. I do what I can to mitigate this by not riding when it’s wet outside and by obeying all the relevant laws and guidelines*, but you can’t deny that it’s unsafe.
*My commute is fast and reliable because I lane split: I use the space in between traffic lanes. There are no official laws about lane splitting, but California is one of the few that doesn’t explicitly outlaw it. That makes it technically legal which means there are also no laws about how to do it safely. However, the CHP briefly tried to release some guidelines last summer: never lane split over 50 MPH, and never go more than 15 MPH faster than surrounding traffic. I abide by both of these.
I take that risk for myself because my other commuting option sucks a lot.
After about three months, I’m told, my internal organs will begin shifting around. More importantly, the organ in which my baby is developing pops out of its safe space nestled in between my bones and becomes suspended largely by a simple ligament – like a giant rubber band. The risk to Sprog grows exponentially once this happens. A fall now would likely suck a lot, but there’s a lot of padding and protection at all angles. A fall then could seriously injure me and Sprog because everything’s a lot more exposed and free floating.
The risk is then no longer just about me. It’s no longer just about my comfort and convenience. Step 1 in changing everything about my life to suit this little parasite!
I don’t know what I’m going to do about my bike yet. I need to decide by July. There are three very big complications:
- the Blue Book value is less than my remaining loan amount
- I don’t have a dedicated parking space to store it
- I have no one who can move it for me if it needs to be moved
So, uh… good luck to me on that one.
In the mean time, I’ll start gearing up for the awful version of my commute.
To work: Go stand outside and wait for casual carpool. Random stranger will pick me and one to two other people up, and drive us to the first exit in SF. Costs $1 but has wildly variable travel times, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on how long it takes to get a car and how bad traffic is.
From work: Take BART. Take shuttle from BART to home. Costs $3.65 but takes 30 minutes plus the variable wait for the shuttle which is usually 10-20 minutes by itself.
Cost per day: $4.65
Time spent: 1-1.5+ hours