Plz allow me to braindump about bikes!
I love the idea of biking. Bikes are attractive (especially uprights!), eco-friendly, faster and more convenient than walking, and just feel friendlier than any kind of motorized transport. As we are a one-car household and I take that car to work, I sometimes feel like D and the wiggler are trapped in the house during the day. My commute is about four miles, which seems like a great length for a bike commute; I could also bike to the grocery store, the library, and points north that are not accessible by foot; when the wiggler goes to school, I imagine biking the less than a mile with him.
I am not a very good bike rider. I have a beautiful bike that I enjoy riding, an Electra Townie. At least, I think I enjoy riding it. I haven’t ridden much for years. Two years ago I had it tuned up and started to practice riding, but ran into the obstacle of HILLS. I obtained some advice from the MMM forums and came to the conclusion that my gorgeous, heavy three-speed bike is not suitable for my neighborhood, at least until I am a stronger rider and can use muscle to get up those hills (and freak out less going down). I became discouraged, and also pregnant, so I haven’t ridden since then.
An ebike sounds like an amazing solution. The assist would get me over the hills and allow me to practice riding, so I could get stronger and eventually ride my Townie, at least to the library if not to work. Also, part of my commute involves heavy car traffic and no shoulders, let alone bike lanes, so I think I’d feel a lot safer with the speed capabilities of an ebike. (I drive the same route I would bike, so I’m very familiar with it. And no, there isn’t a more bike-friendly option, since the problem areas are the ones close to my work and the other roads close to work aren’t any better. There are actually signs along the route indicating that it’s the bike alternative to the highway. I’ve also seen people biking it before; once I passed a guy on a bike, was passed by him at a light, passed him again on a long hilly road, and was passed by him again after I’d parked in front of my house.)
The big problem: Parking. As far as I can tell, there’s nowhere to lock up a bike around here. There are parking garages, and we got an email recently about designated motorcycle parking, but I have never seen a bike in this parking lot. I fear that if I locked a bike to a bench or something, the property management company would get mad at me. Also, I would be very nervous about just locking an ebike to something. I got briefly excited about the idea of getting a folding bike and stashing it in my cubicle, but then I realized that any ebike is going to have some kind of connectivity (Bluetooth, USB, wi-fi, etc.), which is not allowed in my building. I keep thinking about asking Facilities about bike parking–I’ve even drafted an email to them, using the upcoming Bike to Work day as an excuse, but I got anxious about sending it. Maybe because I am not going to be ready to bike to work next Friday regardless of parking.