What We Learned During Bike To Work Month at Blink

Today is National Bike to Work Day 2014 and here at Blink UX, several of us have made a dedicated effort to explore alternative transportation options all month long. Biking into work, of course, is a favorite. Some of us ride every day, some of us are brand new to the effort, but all of us have experienced the benefits and changes in perspective that bike commuting can bring.

How did you feel biking instead of driving or taking a bus?

“I felt awesome about biking into work and back. It actually took the same amount of time as if I were driving my car. Weird!” – Brigitt

“Biking gives me the sense of freedom I get from driving (I’m not tied to a bus schedule) with the cost-savings and environmental benefits you get from taking the bus. On top of that I get in some exercise and my commute is faster than either driving or taking the bus. Beyond those physical benefits I find there are emotional benefits as well. I am happier when I’m on my bike. I often find myself smiling (and even singing) while I’m riding. I also feel a sense of camaraderie with my fellow riders as if we are part of an elite club.” – Tim

Did you see anything new? A new way of looking at your city? A new route?

“I was really surprised at how many other riders there were on the road. You felt like you belonged! I rode in with two co-workers (one an experienced bike commuter), and he took us on a few amazing bike paths throughout the city with gorgeous, sweeping views of both the Puget Sound and Lake Washington’s Ship Canal. It just so happened that it was 80 degrees that day too, so it was a fantastic way to experience the nice weather and our city in a new way. It doesn’t hurt that it’s healthy to boot.” – Sarah

Sarah near Green Lake

What did you learn?

“To be a more patient driver. To be more aware of my surroundings, the best thing I learned was to appreciate my city. There are so many bike lanes, I never had a bad experience with a car, the city itself is so beautiful to bike through. The perspective is so different from a bike. Everything is open for you to take in!” – Kristina

“I was surprised to learn how aggressive and daring bicyclists are. For example, nobody is going to yield for you as you merge onto a busy bike path – you have to just go for it and hope for the best. There’s a whole lot of strategy and planning that goes into bike commuting: outfit planning, packing a light lunch, finishing work at the office so you don’t need to bring your laptop home, route based on traffic, etc.” – Claire

“With all the positive change I’ve seen in Seattle over the past 20 years in accommodating bicycles on the roads, we still have a long way to go to make it safe for people of all ages. Bike lanes put you in the ‘door zone’ of parked cars, and numerous ‘missing links’ throughout the city put you in precarious situations in areas where there aren’t clear facilities or directions for bicyclists to follow.” – Layne

“I learned a new bike route (never biked from West Seattle before). It was super easy peasey and fun. I’m going to ride my bike more. Biking is fun and a great way to get your exercise in on your commute.” – Brigitt

Kristina Survives!

What would you do differently?

“I would take a quick class on road rules for bikes. I got a crash course from the regular Blinker bikers, but I think I would feel more comfortable knowing all the Seattle rules and regulations along with some of the not so known rules/guidelines for city biking!” – Kristina

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found it increasingly important to carry as little weight as possible on my back. The best thing to do would be to ditch the backpack altogether for some panniers/saddlebags. But, in lieu of that:

  • Keep shoes, toiletries, and a second bike lock at work;
  • Leave your computer at work and use your home computer if you still have work to do.” – Layne
Two Bikes

How has this experience changed your perspective?

“I was surprised by just how many people commute by bicycle each day. The trails were completely packed and it felt a bit like a ‘we’re all in it together’ sort of thing.” – Claire

“Riding with Layne and Tim and talking about it with our other Blinkers gave me a sense of camaraderie.” – Brigitt

“I am not an experienced bike commuter. In fact, I have never done it before at all, but I decided to give it a try because I’m always looking to try new things. I rode just under 20 miles round-trip on my first attempt. I was exhausted after that first ride and very aware of how not in bike shape I was. That said, it was a really great experience and I was so proud of myself when it was done.” – Sarah

“It’s great to be with a company that’s so encouraging of us trying something different. I had a rocky first bike to work today. But Tim helped guide me and he was Tim: patient / chill and understanding. And then everyone was high-fiving when I got in, and Sarah had some yummy breakfast options available. It just felt good. So I just wanted to thank everyone for the support. Blink is a great place to work.” – Jonathan

Lastly, we’d like to leave you with a few Six-Word Stories, written by Blinker Jake, about biking around Seattle.

On single speed, passing kitted roadie.
Brother’s got a flat; need help?
Cars at rainy standstill, not me.
Saved eight bucks on bus fare.
Doored on Dexter, bike lanes suck.
Rats at Myrtle Edwards; quite impressive.
No room on bike rack; cool.
Rear fender installation; dry bottom finally.
A nice ride; cheaper than therapy.
Slogging up Pine, victory at 14th.

– Blinker Biker Jake

See you out there!

Tim on his way

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