4 Years of Bike Commuting

April 2012 will mark the 4th year I have been commuting to work.  Here are just a few facts about by bike riding.

~ 8000 Miles

  • 6331 Miles on my Road Bike
  • 1518 Miles on my Cyclocross Bike
  • ???? Miles using CaBi (Capital Bikeshare)

1 Crash

Well, I would not really call it a crash.  I was side swiped by a car changing lanes from a stopped position.  Being observant of your surroundings at making sure you have an escape route along with learning basic avoidance maneuvers can really help keep you safe.

2 Falls

One was because I decided to drive over a bridge joint in a parallel direction, and the other was because of black ice.  The first could have been avoided, but the second, was totally unforeseen and unavoidable.

363 Days a Year

That is an estimate, but I ride my bike practically every day to work and to the National Zoo on Saturday and Air and Space Museum on Sunday.  The only days I don’t ride my bike are when it is either raining very hard when I head out in the morning, or if it is very cold with a chance of freezing rain.

Fun Rides

While my main use of a bike have been transportation, I have had a chance to go on some fun / fundraising rides recently.

  • 2011 Air Force Classic Crystal Ride ~63 Miles
  • 2012 WABA VASA Ride ~69 Miles

I am looking at doing the Air Force Classic again this year and have been anticipating open registration for months.  While I don’t plan to travel for a Gran Fondo, I am hoping the one that was scheduled for DC in 2011, will actually happen in 2012.  I would like to get out in the scenic countryside and enjoy the ride as opposed to staring at a cue sheet dodging cars which tends to happen on rides based in the DC Metro Area like the VASA Ride.  The Air Force Classic was on a closed course, but was an 8 lap route which became a little mundane.

Bike Education

Since Dec 2010, I have been teaching adults and children how to ride bikes safely in conjunction with WABA and Georgetown University as a hobby.  I need to thank the cranky residents of Georgetown for routing the GU Dupont Circle shuttle buses off local streets onto major roads.  The extra time it took to get to work sparked my switch to the bike for commuting and I have never gone back 🙂

Another Chapter Comes to a Close

Cost Plus World Market (10/2007 – 3/2011)

Last night was the last night at World Market.  Having fallen in love with the low prices and unique items, I applied for a part time seasonal position 3 years ago and have been working there until last night.  Ultimately I needed more time to enjoy life and with Uncle Sam taking so much in taxes over the past 3 years, it was time.

I still love the store and will be in to shop 🙂

When you work in Retail…

When you work in the retail market, you earn a respect for what goes on and tend to sympathize with the current working folk of a similar function.

Wegmans Sub Shop

For example, having worked in a Wegmans Sub Shop part time when living in Rochester NY I realize how annoying cell phones can be and rude customers are and try to not be that way myself.  I do admit when a customer was on their phone, I skipped them and asked the following person in line if I could help them since a hand signal with a number only seems to work in Asian restaurants 🙂

Shampoo Factory

The Shampoo Factory was a full time job between semesters during college and gave me a new appreciation for those bottled products and you recognize all of those funny alignment marks for labels.  I sat for days monitoring sealing of various salon tubed products and testing bottle cap tension,which by the way should be automated and not done by anyone for that is surely going to give you carpal tunnel!

While it was relatively mindless, just what I needed after 2 semesters at college, I would think if I were to do it on a regular basis I would probably become a zombie.  Not that I think anyone is really cut out for this kind of work, but we do what we need to in order to get the bills paid and this job probably just barely serves that purpose for the full time staff there.

Waiting Tables

Granted it was a restaurant I was co-owner of, but nonetheless, when I go out to eat now and if the restaurant is busy, I don’t get frustrated if service is slow and I always pile up my dishes with food scraps on the top plate for the wait staff 🙂

Funny how I was introverted and still am to a degree, but when waiting tables, you do need to provide great customer service if you want to get a tip and I really did open up during this chapter of my life.

World Market

I have learned that some customers always are out to get a good deal and will in some cases “break” an item in order to get a discount.  I recall one time when a customer showed me what seemed to be a problem with glue on a wreath.  She said, they are all like that and wanted a discount.  After we talked a bit more, it turned out that she had pulled off the supposedly loose flowers!  She was like, “I can glue them when I am home.”  I was thinking to myself, well, if you had not pulled them off in the first place…..  Anyway, I did not give her a discount and proceeded to fix them with our own hot glue gun.

There are others that walk around the clearance section each time they are in, or offer to “buy it all” at a discount.  Another funny time was when a customer came back to the wine dept and asked me for the bottle with the most savings and I showed them a $50 bottle which happened to be $13 off 🙂  That is what they asked for, but certainly they were looking for the Rene Barbier which normally $4.99 is often on sale for $3.99, but only a savings of a $1.  Perhaps she should have asked for the largest savings percentage 🙂

There are so many stories to tell and not enough time in a day to tell them, but you get the idea…customers can really be a pain in the neck after that experience, I will do my best to not be in a bad mood, get impatient with long lines, or harassing management to give me a better deal.  🙂  I cannot promise however that I will not trample you when the store opens and holiday clearance goes on sale 90% off!

1200 miles and counting

Since April I have put 1200 miles on my bike commuting to GU, World Market, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and the Smithsonian National Zoo.  

Hoping to go on a fun ride one of these days, but I am still waiting for my Stimulus Payment from the IRS…  Actually, I am still waiting, but no, that is not going to pay all my bills and my necessity for 2 jobs will probably continue until we move to a more reasonably priced apartment.  The place we live now, Jefferson at Thomas Circle costs $1805 for a junior one bedroom with no view or balcony.  While being a very nice building, the rent seems to be high for an area where cars get broken into daily.  We had our car broken into three times.

I am faculty….here me roar!

If you don’t know, I work at Georgetown University. Students began returning to campus on August 22 and things started to get busy again.  In fact, this is the busiest time of the year as far as computer and network issues.  So you get the idea that it was a little stressful.

 Since we were busy, I opened up the office to assist those waiting.  In walks a faculty member looking to borrow software. Behind him were 2 or 3 other people looking for assistance.  To prevent data loss, the files we use are stored on a server and I was in the processes of logging into the computer and accessing the necessary files.  Needless to day I needed to enter a password and user name 3 times to get to this point.  So in the time waiting, being the multi-tasker I am, once I knew what the faculty member wanted, I assisted those behind him.  He got very upset and said….can you help me!  I mentioned that I was helping him and was being efficient by assisting others.  

Throws down the faculty card…..well tried.

At this point I am a bit frustrated and he says…..”I am faculty!”  Hmm..okay, perhaps a problem with me, but I don’t see a reason to treat people differently because of their affiliation with the University.  Frankly, while I do believe that faculty help to build leaders of tomorrow, if it were not for the students, there would be no faculty!  Those thoughts were to myself of course…..He then proceeds to hold up his proof of faculty status….his, you guessed it, American Express card!  Hmm..which department does he work for?  remind me not to take classes from him.  Perhaps I would have a book from a totally different major on my book list!  I mentioned to him that it was an American Express card and he quicky reached into his pocket and pulled out his GU card with “Faculty” on it…tossing it on the desk in front of me.   

Faculty more important than the Students that pay the bills?

Needless to say, at 10:15 in the morning….it was not a very good start.