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Posted on Wed, May 4, 2011 : 12:24 p.m.

Non-cyclist attempts first bike commute after committing to Ann Arbor's Commuter Challenge

By Juliana Keeping

I am not a sanctimonious hipster on a single speed.

I won’t one-up your story about geothermal heating system with a tale about my teensy weensy carbon footprint. Because I don’t know what my carbon footprint is. And no one I hang out with can afford geothermal. So I wouldn’t be at that party anyway.

Here’s something else I’m not, I found out this morning, the hard way: in shape.


Juliana Keeping, reporter at, after her first bicycle commute to work in downtown Ann Arbor.

Angela Cesere |

I commuted to work for the first time, ever, on a bike.

I pondered bike commuting for the first time last fall - taking a green bike out of my parents’ garage and into a bike shop for a tune up. I borrowed panniers from my brother-in-law and got a helmet and lock. I vowed to Mark, my skeptical husband, my scheme: to start biking to work. To save gas! To shed those last few clingy baby pounds! And then I kept driving.

Then Nancy Shore, from the City of Ann Arbor, paid a visit to the first floor of at 301 E. Liberty St. She sat at a table covered with pamphlets and Kashi bars and refrigerator magnet clippie things.

Baited, I inquired as to what she was doing there.

Ann Arbor’s getDowntown program promotes sustainable transportation. Its annual Commuter Challenge is set for the month of May. Last year, 1,800 people logged at least one commute during the challenge. And all I needed to do to participate was sign up, then bike, bus, walk or carpool instead of drive once during the month, log in online and note my progress. For prizes!

Oooh. Prizes. My green bike. Baby weight. Gas money. Proving husband wrong.

“Yeah sounds good, sign me up,” I said, swiping a magnet.

On Monday, I did not bike to work. I got a reminder e-mail from the Commuter Challenge, which I ignored. On Tuesday, we talked about the program at the office. Who would write about it and how?

I blurted out my intention to participate.

Sounds good, my editor said. Can you turn it into a column?

Internal expletive

I had no excuses left.

This morning, I stuffed my laptop into a pannier.

I made a point to kiss my husband and baby goodbye. Because I wasn’t actually sure I’d get to work alive.

I hopped on the green bike in southeast Ann Arbor and started the commute to downtown. I crossed Washtenaw Avenue it like an obedient schoolgirl. Looking both ways. Walking my bike.

Because Washtenaw Avenue frightens me, Shore had suggested Huron Parkway to Geddes, and then through the University of Michigan campus or by the U-M Health System, as a route.

Huron went smoothly, except for the parts where the fresh air seared my heaving lungs. And the parts where I thought the uneven weight of one pannier would send me tumbling off the steep drop to my right and into the Huron River watershed, never to be heard from again. Or when my thighs were close to spontaneous combustion.

Huron did feature a nice sidewalk, and a nice bike path. Geddes, thin and winding, was another story. A bumpy bike path abruptly ended. A sign indicated myself and the cars should “share the road.”


Nothing scares me more than a car when I’m on a bike. But I forged ahead.

Periodically, a path on Geddes I had never noticed before did help my commute. The garbage cans in the middle of that path did not. Those picturesque, glacial hills became drudgery. At one point, an elementary-aged blond girl with braids and a purple backpack was walking faster than me on my bike.

I got off to walk my bike up the hill. For the fifth time. The girl flashed me a big smile. I smiled back. And I hopped back on the bike.

The rest of the ride to work got better after that. I passed the entrance to the Nichols Arboretum, rode across the U-M Diag and, finally, to work.

My patchwork bike-walk commute had taken me more than 40 minutes.

Normally, I walk in sloshing coffee, bleary-eyed and yawning. This morning, I felt a little more alive than normal. A little sore, and a little tired, but better, in a way. Maybe it was the smile from the girl on Geddes, or all the little things I saw from my bike that I wouldn’t have noticed from a car. I don’t know.

But I think I’ll do it again.

Shore says 1,350 participants and 160 organizations have signed up so for the Commuter Challenge. Are you trying out a sustainable commute? What has the experience been like? Leave us a comment below.

Juliana Keeping covers general assignment and health and the environment for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter



Fri, May 6, 2011 : 11:56 p.m.

Have you taken your cyclist training yet? You are not allowed to operate a bicycle on Ann Arbor streets (oh, all right, you are but you shouldn't be) until you can answer the following questions correctly: - True or false: any reasonably flat surface is fair game: sidewalks, streets, bike paths, driveways, parking lots, lawns -- anywhere I feel like riding is OK - True or false: I am entitled to shift between any of the above mentioned routes at will, without signaling - True or false: I don't have to stop for stop signs or observe traffic lights - True or false: I can perch my child on a seat mounted far above the bike's center of gravity without being concerned about his or her safety or the effect on the handling of the bike - True or false: bicycle helmets perform a safety function in addition to simply making me look like a Star Wars extra - True or false: in fact, any safety gear short of motorcycle leathers and a full-face, DOT-certified helmet will do more than just impress the emergency room staff with my level of disposable income in the event of an accident - True or false: a white line painted two feet from the edge of a major street and labeled "bike path" will render me invincible If you answered "True" to one or more questions, you should strongly consider using your car or staying home.

Jennifer Zimmer

Fri, May 6, 2011 : 1:17 p.m.

Congratulations Juliana on your maiden voyage! I always feel great after arriving at work when I ride my bike. I am looking at your route and am thinking two things, one there are a lot of hills, and two it's kind of out of your way if you are coming from the Washtenaw/Huron Pkwy area. My goal when riding around town is to avoid hills, I really don't like them, and keep the route as short as possible. I think some others have mentioned this, but if you can put up with the sidewalk/bike path on the south side of Washtenaw, take it through past Trader Joe's where it turns into Stadium, and then you have 2 options, you can cut through the Burns Park neighborhood and come up through the UM Campus, or continue on Stadium to the lovely bike lanes on Packard. This will take you right into town. The only dicey part is at Packard and State, but the bike lane is clearly marked up to the intersection, so you have a space saved for you on the road. You might also want to check out Map My Ride <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. This will let you build different routes, check mileage and elevation and give you some options for getting around. Keep up the biking. You may find you fall in love with it and start looking for winter gear!

Monica Milla

Fri, May 6, 2011 : 3:10 a.m.

The beauty about biking is, you don't HAVE to be in great shape. I bike year-round and I'm middle-aged and fat. Holla!

Dog Guy

Fri, May 6, 2011 : 3:03 a.m.

I am gratified by the poll results: at this time 34% of Ann Arbor bikes to work. We certainly need two-lane bike paths on both sides of all roads.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

Good job on motivating yourself Juliana. The hardest part is just getting it together to get out their the first few times. Something you and many of your readers may also be interested in knowing about is the Urban Cycling Skills Clinic on Saturday, May 21st from 9:30-noon, meeting outside the Y. More details at <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> on our calendar and under the recent post re: Curb Your Car Month. Sponsored by the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition, the clinic is designed for riders just like yourself. Excited about biking, but maybe not so excited about learning how to safely co-exist. One of the reasons you and other riders feel so uncomfortable venturing out on your bike in traffic, is because you received no training. It's a shame, because this does occur in countries like Germany, where riding a bike is seen as a mainstream transportation choice. We can't promise comprehensive training in 2 1/2 hours, but it should give you a solid foundation to build upon and great people to reach out to with questions. Hope to see you there! We will also be posting information shortly on our website about Cycling Skills Classes for Middle Schooler that we are offering through Ann Arbor Rec and Ed this summer. We think it's important to give kids the skills to bike safely to school/around town. There's nothing better when you're a kid than having freedom to bike to your friend's house. And, as a parent, it's great to feel confident they'll arrive in one piece.

Joel Batterman

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

Congrats, Juliana! Rather than heading all the way down Huron Parkway, you might also consider crossing to the north side of Washtenaw at the Huron Parkway intersection, making the first right past Arby's/Whole Foods and following parallel streets through Arbor Hills to Hill Street or thereabouts.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

Congratulations on trying a non-motorized travel option! Another great way to get more comfortable with riding is to ride with others, who can offer valuable tips based on experience, along with general camaraderie. Fortunately, May is also Curb Your Car Month, and the CYCM calendar is full of opportunities to ride with others, from rides in Ypsi to rides along Huron River Drive to rides in downtown Ann Arbor. Check out <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

Thats what I'm talking about! Love to hear you had a (reasonably) good experience. At least enough to want to do it again. I ride every day I can and since I have a folding bike I can keep in my trunk for those days I just feel like getting out to ride. I recently picked up one of these Montague Bikes. Best investment I've made in a while. You should check them out: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Eva Johnson

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 1:58 p.m.

I work from home, but I am also very nervous about training for a triathalon because of the biking part of it. I am worried about my safety sharing the road! You have perfectly captured my terror in an amusing way. Thanks for motivating me to try it out!

John Whittier-Ferguson

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 12:15 p.m.

Thanks for the introductory piece on bike commuting. I think it's great to encourage biking around AA (I'm a lifelong bike commuter / cyclist), but I also think you might make it even more clear that riding in a town this size and with the complexity of pedestrian / vehicle patterns actually requires more than just a bike, some panniers, and a willingness to climb a hill or two. I don't want to scare anyone away from getting into bike commuting, but biking in a town is quite challenging. It may take a little more energy to ride to Dexter or Chelsea, but it's a lot easier to cruise down Huron River Drive than to ride across town safely. May I recommend an excellent book (no relation to the author, no conflict of interest here, I promise!) that will help new riders figure out how to work with traffic of all sorts, how to think about equipment choice, how to negotiate roads, traffic laws, etc. etc. etc. It's by Robert Hurst, and it's called The Art of Cycling; there's an earlier edition called The Art of Urban Cycling, which is equally good. Here's a link: <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;s=books&amp;qid=1304596499&amp;sr=1-2</a> again, thanks for your piece on getting around this wonderful town by bike!

Juliana Keeping

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 1:22 p.m.

Thanks. I indeed have a lot to learn about the bike commute. Tried it again today on Packard. With a back pack instead of one pannier. Still hard, but I didn't have to stop, at least! Maybe at the end of the month I'll have more to say...!

Adam Betz

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 10:42 a.m.

Great article Juliana! I think this will inspire me to ride my bike to Corner Brewery this evening to get some beers!


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 1:26 a.m.

I would not recommend Washtenaw. Packard is very direct and safe. Gallup Park, while not as direct, is even safer and obviously prettier. Keep in mind that, on average, the health benefits of biking outweigh the risks inherent. In other words, the average cyclist will live a little longer than the average motorist, all else being equal.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 4:44 p.m.

Packard is a good way to get downtown from SE Ann Arbor, especially once you get past the minefield at the Packard/Eisenhower junction. You can get around that by going through the neighborhoods north of Packard. Canterbury is a good way to move west from Packard... it's a little twisty and turny, but a fairly pleasant ride. Dedicated bike lanes start from Jewett and Packard all the way downtown, and Division is actually a fairly comfortable roadway to share with motorized traffic, since the lanes are pretty wide.

Ricki Lee

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

Keep at it. It gets easier day after day. I've already lost 25 lbs in last 6 weeks.

Juliana Keeping

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 12:14 a.m.

Oh wow. That's stunning! Maybe I will keep riding this heavy old thing...!

Ruth Kraut

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 10:17 p.m.

Juliana--If you take Huron Parkway, when you get to Geddes you could go through Gallup Park to the hospital. Less hilly and very pretty. Good luck!

John B.

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 10:03 p.m.

Juliana: Great job! I think you will find that the riding gets easier fairly quickly once you do it consistently, and the health benefits are significant. I notice that your bike looks like what what we call a &quot;bike-boom-era&quot; one (circa 1973-1975), and appears to have steel cranks and steel (chrome-plated) rims. Those steel rims tend to have longer stopping distances (especially when wet), so be aware of that possible issue. Also, I'm guessing that the bike weighs close to thirty pounds as currently equipped, so it will really get you into shape by riding it! If you decide this is &quot;the thing for you&quot; then you may want to consider getting a more purpose-built (and possibly much lighter weight) commuter or 'hybrid' or 'city' bike at some point. I agree with other commenters that you may want to consider some good fenders soon as well, unless you for sure won't be riding (at least inbound) in the rain. Good luck, and be careful at all times. Expect motorists and pedestrians to do the unexpected!

John B.

Fri, May 6, 2011 : 12:48 a.m.

I'm not sure where to recommend looking for a good used bike around A2. Two-Wheel Tango is a great local shop, in my opinion, if you go the new bike route. The annual AA/Saline Bike Swap (which just occurred this past weekend at the fairgrounds on AA-Saline Road) might be one place to look, but now it will be another 51 weeks until the next one! Does anyone else have a suggestion for shopping for a good used commuter bike...? P.S. A women-specific saddle might help a bit (on the current bike)?

Juliana Keeping

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 12:13 a.m.

You are right on. That thing is a relic. And it is really heavy. And the stopping distance is a bit alarming. Where it came from is actually a mystery. It was just kind of always in the garage...It would be nice to get a new used bike at some point. Any suggestions as to where I should look?


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:21 p.m.

I only have one light on my helmet, the other two are on my bike.. I don't think my original post made that clear.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

I don't know if anyone suggested it or not, but try Packard. Use the sidewalk till you get to the old Kroger then hit the street. I am not a fan of sidewalks as it is hard for people backing out of driveways and approaching from a side street to see you. More chance of being seen in the street. I have biked daily for about 20 years and only take the bus when the streets haven't been cleared of snow. I would but a blinker light on the front of your helmet. You can turn your head so traffic coming from the right and left can see the light. I use a blinker on the back, a yellow one on the front, then one on my helmet. Once you get used to riding, when you miss a day, you will really miss it. Another thing, put fenders on your bike. It keeps the wheel spray at bay on those (at least this year) rainy AA mornings.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 7:49 p.m.

I am also a bike commuter - began after kids left home. However, not everyone will feel comfortable riding a bike at 50+ if they haven't been riding much for 20 to 30 years. My commute is short - 2 miles each direction within the city. I ride the bus/walk in the winter months. I also run errands on my bike over the weekend, but use a car for big, bulky items. But, it is amazing how much you can do with a bike and pannier bags. I fill up with gas &lt; 1 month.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

Juliana, Congrats on your commute, hope you make it a habit. Here are a few tips from a commuter who has a couple massive climbs into work (I now live in California). 1. Keep an extra pair of shoes at work (as well as extra clothes) cutting down on weight during your ride makes a huge difference. Extra clothes are nice in case you forget part of your outfit, socks tend to be a repeat item that I forget. 2. Have a stick of deodorant at your desk (that's obvious.) 3. Keep baby wipes at your desk also, in the michigan humidity, these will help freshen you up once you arrive. 4. I really prefer messenger bags, the panniers throw off my balance which I don't like, and occasionally if you want to stop off somewhere, you might forget your computer in the pannier and if someone decides to &quot;borrow&quot; your bike, game over. Keeping on your back is the best way to go. 5. Get a blinky for the back and front of your bike, reflectors are nice, blinkies are better and safer. Make sure you get an obnoxiously bright one. 6. ALWAYS wear a helmet. Good luck! Hope you continue riding to work!

Juliana Keeping

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 12:15 a.m.

Thanks. I will keep these in mind. I have dropped non-subtle hints that a new messenger bag and some lights should be my Mother's Day present...


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

&quot;Because Washtenaw Avenue frightens me, Shore had suggested Huron Parkway to Geddes, and then through the University of Michigan campus or by the U-M Health System, as a route.&quot; If you're already going up Huron Pkwy to Geddes, you might consider dropping down from Geddes into Gallup Park, then hooking onto the B2B Trail (left at before the wooden Gallup bridge just below where you leave Geddes--look for the green sign). Follow the bike path west along the river, then up along the east side of Mitchell Field, where it runs along Fuller past the UM Hospital. Follow Fuller/Glen Ave. up to Huron, duck over to E. Washington by the Power Center, and it's only a couple more blocks to work. Most of that route is a very pretty bike path, well-maintained, not crowded at all on work days, and completely automobile-free. It strays a little north of your current route, but I think you'd find it a more comfortable, safe and scenic ride and you probably wouldn't have to walk any hills.

Angela Smith

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 6:46 p.m.

This, I think, is the most motivational thing I have read about wanting to bike. I am not bike savvy either, and your worries are my worries. Thanks for making it seem doable -- and fun -- oh look the sun is out, I am feeling a little inspired.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

Regarding the route chosen by the article author, while pretty, Geddes along that stretch is a terrible road for the novice bike commuter due to the hills and lack of a shoulder or bike lane and the condition of the asphalt. I'd almost rather take the lane on Washtenaw. I would suggest a 2-stage strategy, assuming you are starting at Huron and Washtenaw and going to State and North University. 1) For now: Cut through the neighborhoods north of Washtenaw: <a href=",-83.71587+to:Huron+and+Washtenaw&hl=en&geocode=Fb8ehQIdgzcC-ym5N6-YQK48iDHI_9HVfEgFtg%3BFcT6hAId4pgC-yl3ifG3-a48iDG_tZaR5_etlg%3BFWrJhAIdb-cC-yl_LNwLIa88iDEtSG_uZMOmQA&mra=dpe&mrsp=1&sz=14&via=1&dirflg=b&sll=42.271911,-83.716593&sspn=0.043505,0.111494&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=14&lci=bike" rel='nofollow'>;source=s_d&amp;saddr=State+and+North+University&amp;daddr=42.26938,-83.71587+to:Huron+and+Washtenaw&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=Fb8ehQIdgzcC-ym5N6-YQK48iDHI_9HVfEgFtg%3BFcT6hAId4pgC-yl3ifG3-a48iDG_tZaR5_etlg%3BFWrJhAIdb-cC-yl_LNwLIa88iDEtSG_uZMOmQA&amp;mra=dpe&amp;mrsp=1&amp;sz=14&amp;via=1&amp;dirflg=b&amp;sll=42.271911,-83.716593&amp;sspn=0.043505,0.111494&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;t=h&amp;z=14&amp;lci=bike</a> 2) July, 2011 and onwards There will be a shared-use path along the north side of Washtenaw from Glenwood to Tuomy. This could replace the bulk of the &quot;cutting through the neighborhoods route&quot;.

Juliana Keeping

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 8:12 p.m.

Hi thanks for your thoughts. I won't be taking Geddes again soon. I like the idea of neighborhood cut-throughs, though.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 6:21 p.m.

@Terri: Logistics with children are a challenge, but it can be done. You do need to make time in your schedule for it and give up a bit of the unplanned &quot;mad dash&quot;. The logistics also change significantly depending on the age of your children. For me, the &quot;stages&quot; include: Ages 0-4: Kids usually stay at one place all day. Take them to daycare in a trailer they &quot;sit in&quot;. Leave it locked-up at the daycare. Continue on to work. After work, pick up kids and trailer and go home. Ages 5-6: Kids usually have a mid-day transition or two, presumably handled by someone else. Their size and skill is more suited for a &quot;half-bike&quot;. Bring the half-bike to work with you. Then bring it with you to wherever you pick them up. Ages: 7+: Kids usually ride their own bike. Ride with them to school and lock their bike there. If you pick them up from school, the bike is ready. If you don't pick them up from school and they didn't bring the bike with them to after-care, then you have to walk them and your bike back to the school to pick up their bikes before heading home. This gets more complicated if you have multiple kids in different age ranges, but it does work just fine. After a couple of days, it becomes &quot;habit&quot; and doesn't need as much thought. I have found you will need two sizeable panniers to help ferry all their stuff. My kids love it. They grumble when they don't get to take their bikes.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

Very cool! That stretch on Geddes is awful, the road is a mess and the hills are something. Wonder if taking Washtenaw all the way wouldn't be better. That stretch has a bike path (near Platt) and then sidewalks as you move closer to Hill (at the Stadium/Washtenaw split).


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 5:13 p.m.

Riding on the sidewalk is actually a violation of Ann Arbor city code and Michigan state law. Joe Bauer has the right idea... plot your route through adjoining residential neighborhoods if you're not comfortable riding on main thoroughfares. Most of us learned to ride bikes as kids, but bicycle commuting takes a little more commitment than simply replicating your commute in a motorized vehicle. There are some great resources for safe riding at We can share the road, we should share the road with the stinkpots... we just have to be more alert and smarter than those who are piloting motorized vehicles.

Joe Bauer

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

@ loves_fall I bike 8 miles each way to work. It took about a month or so before I felt really comfortable with it. I'd recommend trying to take as many residential roads as possible and to avoid main streets whenever you can. Plotting a good cycling commute route is different form a walking or driving commute path. Riding on a sidewalk is pretty miserable (bumpy, lots of obstacles, unpredictable pedestrians, cars can't see you/don't expect rapidly moving things in that part of an intersection, and so on). If you're interested, I elaborate on this in my getDowntown post: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 6:09 p.m.

@Barb: Stadium has excellent bike lanes west of Pioneer. If you are trying to get to Dexter from AA, that probably means either Dexter-Ann Arbor or Huron River Drive. Dexter-Ann Arbor is better than you might think as it's straight and has very wide shoulders. That said, the cars do move along it. Huron-River Drive is one of the best bike roads in the county. It's gorgeous, but windy, with lots of hills and narrow shoulders. That said, most drivers are aware that there are lots of bikes on it. In a few years, the Border-to-Border Trail should provide off-road non-motorized path along the river from Delhi Metropark all the way to Dexter, but that's not there yet. I would suggest driving out to Dexter on one road and back on the other. Go slow and pay attention to where you would ride and see which feels more comfortable. I find I look at roads very differently if I drive along them thinking &quot;would I bike this&quot;.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:25 p.m.

Its about 4 miles shorter going to Dexter via Ann Arbor Dexter Rd rather that Huron River Drive , but pretty heavy fast moving traffic. Huron River drive is a great ride.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 6:03 p.m.

@loves_fall: I started two years ago regularly commuting to work by bike and really made it my routine starting last summer. My commute is 3 miles each way and includes some hills. When I started, I wasn't in great shape and my bike was old and heavy. It took about a month to get to the point where the ride felt &quot;comfortable&quot; physically. It also took about a month for me to figure out what logistics worked best for me. We don't have showers at work, so my goal is to ride to work slowly enough that I don't work up a sweat and can do it in work clothes. Riding home, I have no problem going faster and working up a sweat. For me, for example, I found that I really don't like a backpack, as it makes my back sweat. Panniers were the way to go for my laptop. I also decided that I preferred lights and a lightweight, reflective jacket for gloomy days. Once I settled in though, it was very easy to maintain my commute through November. I usually fall out of the habit after Thanksgiving and then slowly get back in the routine in March. (And March usually takes a couple of weeks for me to get back in shape.) Last fall I finally treated myself to a new bike designed for commuting (I strongly recommend the GIANT Escape City bike, as it includes lots of accessories for commuters at a price point that's comparable to equivalent bikes without the accessories) and that certainly eased the physical burden. May is a fantastic month to start, as it's still cool (which helps while you get in shape) and not too hot or cold, but there's plenty of light and the roads are clear of debris.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:39 p.m.

I really am motivated to try this - I just need to feel safe on the way to Dexter from South West A2. Gonna scope out routes tonite.

Mike Grant

Tue, May 24, 2011 : 4:16 p.m.

I would suggest talking or emailing DeWight at Wheels In Motion. He's the owner but he also does a similar commute.

Jessica Webster

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:39 p.m.

@Terri - I ride bikes to school with my son, then head in to work. We do the same, in reverse, on the way home. It works great for us, but we're lucky enough to live within easy biking distance of both work and school.

Jessica Webster

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:34 p.m.

Yay! Congratulations, Julianna!! Have you mapped out how many miles you rode? I used to bike to work 8 miles each way back when I worked at Schoolkids' Records in the early 90s. I will always remember that the first mile was the hardest, probably because that voice in the back of my head was always saying: &quot;You could just turn around, grab your car, and get to work without exerting yourself, you know!&quot; But once I had that under my belt, it was actually pretty enjoyable. I now have just a 2 mile commute to work, and other than that 2 1/2 months of nasty slush and ice we just endured, I've been pretty good about riding to work nearly every day. @loves_fall - Like I said, my commute is pretty short, so for me it only took about a week before I felt like biking in to work wasn't much of an effort.

Juliana Keeping

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 8:11 p.m.

Thanks! I need to measure my miles and enter the commute online. I hope to make it a habit...and that the hills will get easier.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:33 p.m.

I don't understand how people with children make this work. Before kids, I bussed both ways, but daycare and after-care hours have made commuting via anything but a car impossible--well, I can't find a solution, anyway.

Joe Hood

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 3:40 a.m.

Burley. That's the bicycle trailer with the kid in it. When my wife and I had our first son, I'd drop him and the trailer off and my wife would pick both up on her way back from work.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 1:20 a.m.

I have a similar problem. My wife and I biked everywhere until we had a kid. We sometimes ride the bus, but the car has become the default. Why don't you take the kids on the bus?


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:05 p.m.

I noticed there wasn't a poll option for, &quot;I think about it, but my commute is 6 miles, uphill, and I am not in very good shape.&quot; I guess maybe that falls under &quot;There's no way that could work for me&quot;.... haha. What's the farthest people bike for work, and how long did it take to get in shape?


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 3:36 p.m.

I rode 15 miles 2-3 times per week for two seasons (May - Sept). I am horribly out of shape, and although it got easier I don't think I ever was in shape by the end. It was still very enjoyable. My tips - find a route without steep hills, get a really comfy seat, and whatever you do don't stop until the ride is done. Once you step off the bike your legs are useless. Look here for Ann Arbor area path options <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:43 p.m.

Now that you've confessed your doomed to continue.....;)

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

Not sure what part of &quot;SE&quot; Ann arbor your at, but from my part near Packard and Platt I take Packard in if I'm in a hurry. Its a &quot;flatter&quot; ride, not as many hills to conquer.