Commuting: Proof of Concept

It’s more than a concept at this point – I’ve done it, and with great success. I’m not just talking about a quick hop to Worcester, either. I was all over the place yesterday.

I pondered whether to use the bike for meeting my boss for a first meeting with a potential client. But I knew I could stash my gear in the copious amount of cargo space when I got there and still look all stylin’ and profilin’ when I walked inside, so I did. The meeting went well, and no issues with my professional appearance.

We went our separate ways back to the office, which was perhaps a little silly since only half an hour later I was back on the bike, backtracking past home and heading to a client in Andover for the afternoon. That was a quick superslab run up 290 and 495, since I was on the clock, and with no traffic it was easy.

I finished there at 4:30, and, now that I was off the clock, I decided that going home by way of Route 40 to Groton was completely reasonable. (It’s totally out of the way, but a fun road.) Cutting through the center of Lowell was much easier than expected, and far easier than sitting in traffic on 495. I picked up 40 in Westford and enjoyed the twisties until I got stuck behind a cop doing precisely the limit, all the way to the town line. Oh well – better to have him in front of me than behind me with the blues on.

The GPS planned a route I didn’t recognize to get me home on back roads from Groton, so I ignored it and took the way I knew down 111. This was a mistake, as traffic in Ayer is much worse than I remember, and it took literally 15 minutes to make a single left turn in the center of town. The GPS was right, and unlike my iPhone apps it doesn’t even have traffic data.

But once through that, it was an easy ride down through Harvard and Bolton to home, except for crossing the rock solid line of traffic on 117. I think I managed to keep the front wheel on the ground as I punched it across the intersection – barely.

So it wasn’t an epic adventure like some of my other rides. The 495 belt isn’t the most fun area to ride at rush hour due to traffic. But I got to RIDE. It was my only opportunity to get that much riding in this week, and with a full weekend and a hurricane on the way I won’t get that chance again for a little while. I got more than twice as good gas mileage as my car. Best of all, my mental health was much better than usual. Little things that would normally irritate me just rolled off my back. I already knew that a ride home from or after work helped me relax, but a ride or two DURING work was even better. Paid, no less!

And since I managed to stash all my gear on the bike during the meeting, that means I can do it for my trips to Boston. It’s already dark when my train gets back to Littleton, which means its getting a bit cold for me to ride there regularly, but I’ll be keeping that option in mind for next year. There are lots of nice back roads from there to home I can enjoy after work. Now if only the parking fee was lower for a motorcycle than a car…

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