A Worthy Commute

10 Jan

According to Google Maps, biking from downtown Tempe to downtown Phoenix takes 51 minutes; a light rail commute takes 45 minutes. During freeway rush hour, a car commute is arguably the same amount of time.

Most days, I choose to ride the light rail in conjunction with my bike to save time, but, let’s be honest: that’s laziness. Lately, I noticed many bike commuters have the same mentality and are contributing to “rail congestion,” that is, taking double the space on the light rail by holding their bike. Just last week, I counted 7 bikes in one light rail car. It was time to move my commute to the streets. Investing an extra 6-10 minutes into my bike commute gains:

    • Cheaper ride (aka FREE)
    • Increased exercise
    • Amazing views

Sure enough, this route greets its riders with a cool breeze, amazing sunset, and a charming display of other residents enjoying the outdoors.

The path begins at Tempe Town Lake, on the northside of the Mill Avenue District  near Arizona State University. Riding through this area connects you to its history: Tempe Beach Park has actually existed since 1931. In 1999, after 10 years of proposals and construction, the lake was open to the public.

This large recreational haven offers a more gratifying commute experience over the nearby 202 freeway 5 o’clock gridlock.  In one moment, I was witness to a man fishing for rainbow trout (oddly enough in Tempe, they can), a group of eye candy sweating it out in a boot camp work out, cyclists AND roller bladers, two professional photoshoots, public art and an LED-lit pedestrian bridge. Connecting to the community by simply existing in that snapshot adds value to the day, unless of course you’d rather enjoy a scene of freeway asphalt and a sea of exhaust.

Best of all, the bike lane was wide open, unlike the contrast of congestion adjacent to the path.

What side of the fence are you on?

What is your commute like? Could you see yourself biking to work instead?

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