Five or so years ago my wife said “We should move to Bainbridge Island.” I responded “there’s no way in hell I’m commuting by boat”. Well, times change and a ferry ride is now part of my daily commute to work and back.
It’s only been a short while but I love riding to and fro and enjoy my quiet time on the boat. The first couple of weeks my wife drove and picked me up, then I rode to the ferry and locked my bike up on the island side. Now I’m a full-fledged, Ortlieb toting cycling commuter and I’m enjoying every minute of it, rain and all.
I used to ride to the Metra station in Chicago and bought a 2006 Bianchi San Jose single-speed for the commute. It was perfect for Chicago and turns out to be pretty ideal for Bainbridge and Seattle too. Here’s the bike setup for commuting:
I carry a laptop, portable hard drive, iPhone, clothes and assorted other sundries back and forth. The bike’s made of steel so it’s not light and when you factor my weight in I’m really fighting gravity up the hills.
Fortunately, the thrill of cycling (even though it’s only 3-ish miles each way) and views from the boat make the experience enjoyable so far.
I’ve noticed a big difference between riding in Chicago and Seattle. In Chicago, anything goes, ride where you ride and look out for yourself. In Seattle, it’s more orderly and there appears to be rules about which I’m still not entirely clear. The other big difference is the hills. I gain more elevation from garage to road than I could in an entire 9 mile commute in Chicago. I’ve climbed Alpe d’Huez – some of the steep, albeit short, hills here hurt too.