How should I get to work on Bike to Work Day

Most of you know I live 32 miles from the office. I ride a commuter bus 25 miles to downtown San Jose, and then bike the remaining seven miles to the office.

Bike to Work Day is traditionally “Bike the Entire 32 Miles Day” for me, because the bike racks on the bus frequently fill up on bike week. With gasoline at more than $4/gallon, the bus has been full anyway, with plenty of people motivated to bring their bikes along. It’s already become challenging to find bike space for me this week on my usual bus.


Bikes on bus bike rack

My problem for Bike to Work Day 2014: I plan to join the 7 AM VTA ride, and then I’ll volunteer beginning at 8 AM at the Energizer Station located at my office — the Santa Clara Oracle Campus located on Agnew Drive across from Rivermark, if you’d like to drop by and say hello and pick up some free schwag.

I absolutely need to depend on 7 AM arrival in San Jose, which means I must catch the 6:15 bus. What if all of the bus bike racks are occupied before I catch my bus?

My options:

  • Aim for that 6:15 AM bus, bring my bike and hope for the best. This is kind of my usual routine, albeit somewhat earlier than usual. The risk is that all bike spaces will be taken and I’ll be late.
  • Bike the entire distance. For 7 AM arrival in downtown San Jose, this means a 4:45 AM departure from my home. The distance and elevation gain isn’t unusual for me, and I have the lights for the mountain roads I’ll ride. Early morning might kill the deal, plus I have to be somewhat presentable on arrival without a shower or clothing change. I’ll think about it.
  • Stash my bike downtown Wednesday evening. There’s no need to bring a bike on the bus Thursday morning if my bike is stored overnight in downtown. Unfortunately, the risk of theft is too great, even for uglified bikes with multiple U-locks. There’s no way I’ll leave a bike locked overnight in downtown San Jose.
  • Stash my bike in a BikeLink locker Wednesday evening. This option is almost reasonable. I have a BikeLink electronic locker card, and it looks like they have a public locker on Hedding Street in front of the Santa Clara County Buildings. I stash my bike there Wednesday night and take light rail downtown to catch the bus home. On Thursday morning, I catch my bus to San Jose sans bike, join the VTA ride using a Bay Area Bike Share bike, ride to Hedding Street where I return the Bike Share Bike, walk two blocks to the BikeLink locker, retrieve my bike, then continue to the office. I might do this just for the crazy multimodalism of it, since it involves bike + light rail + foot + bus + walking home + walking to the bus stop + bus + walk to bike share + bike share + walk to locker + (finally) my bike.

If you absolutely positively have to be there at 7 AM on Thursday, which option would you take?

10 Comments

  • Zeaphod Beeblebrox
    May 6, 2014 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    - Get/rent a folder and take it onto the bus with you.
    – Crash on at a friend’s in SJ or nearby berg
    – Join the folks camping out under the bridges along the Guadalupe Trail

  • murphstahoe
    May 6, 2014 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    get a car, hippie

  • May 6, 2014 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    I still say go with (5) Ask the folks at the VTA office downtown if you can leave your bike overnight inside their building. You helped them out in conceiving this whole Bike Train thing. I bet they can find a closet or corner for your bike.

    Or find a folding bike stat.

  • May 6, 2014 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    The problem with the bikeshare option is that you’ll miss the end of the ride, unless you think you can sprint to catch up.

  • Cain
    May 6, 2014 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    You’re always welcome to either a) crash at my place on 2nd and Reed or b) store your bike safely in my house. For b), you could also ride Bike Share to my place(there’s a station down the street where I could drop off your Bike Share bike off). I’m usually up right around 7am.

  • May 6, 2014 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    you don’t have the strida anymore? folding bikes are allowed inside the bus :)

  • B
    May 6, 2014 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    None of the above.

    Take an earlier bus and grab a coffee/breakfast downtown before the 7 am ride.

  • May 6, 2014 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

    “If you absolutely positively have to be there at 7 AM on Thursday, which option would you take?” Find a new job. I’m not a morning person, and I’m rarely functional before 9a.m. I tend to work into the evenings and on weekends instead.

  • May 6, 2014 - 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Stay true to the nature of it. Just bike the 32 miles.

    When coworkers see it, the people who don’t commute by bike might be inspired to try it out.

    I mean, if you rode 32 miles to work, it really must not be too hard to do, right?

  • Anonymous
    May 7, 2014 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

    The option that involves the most bicycle- #2.

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