Those readers that remember my old cycling blog know I wrote mostly about my bicycle commuting lifestyle. They may also note there has been none of the usual bicycle commuting photos or stories. The reason for this is partly due to the timing of starting this new blog. At the same time I have also been going through a job change. I left a job I had held for nearly 14 years. Time for a change. I started a new position last week, it’s part-time for now.
During the 14 years of employment at the previous place I had developed a routine for my daily commutes. I had also grown from a 2 or 3 season fair weather commuter to a car-free ride every day no matter what mother nature had in store for me kind of commuter.
I had a secure place to lock my bike outside at work. I had a spacious low traffic restroom to change clothes in and clean up. I even had a place to hang my cycling clothes to dry while I worked. I had talked the maintenance guy into putting up four coat hooks on a wall at the end of a lightly used dead end hallway. It had excellent air circulation.
I had what I described as one of the most scenic commutes in the Upper Midwest.
The commute was 7 miles long. I started each day with a 1.5 mile climb up to Skyline Parkway. Then the next 4.5 miles was low traffic and incredibly scenic. I watched sunrises, the seasons change, wild life (deer, foxes, porcupines, skunks, squirrels, and even 2 black bears over the years), ships come and go from the Port of Duluth, the St Louis River (the worlds largest fresh water estuary), and of course views of Lake Superior. I marveled at how Lake Superior never looked the same. It has many moods and endless shades of colors.
My commute was always the best part of my day. I’m going to miss that commute.
My new job is in the cluster of buildings below in the above picture. It is only a three mile flat commute with the exception of a two block long hill leaving and arriving at my home address. After having the same routine for so many years, I’m finding it difficult to re-imagine my commute routine. I’m having a hard time finding a secure place to lock my bike. A bike I payed a lot of money for because I had a secure place to lock it up at the old place.
After experimenting for a few winters with finding clothes I could both ride and work in, I discovered it didn’t work for me. I’m a heavy sweater in any temperature. A full wardrobe change was the best solution for staying warm while on the bike. At the old place I had a place to change and a place to keep my clothes during the day. My new job has no convenient place to change or keep personal items. I come in, punch a clock, pick up a “key” for a company vehicle and head out into the field.
For the first week I’ve been utilizing mass transit, our city buses, to get me to and from work. This is an OK solution until I figure a new routine for commuting in the cold. With the help of another employee I did find a satisfactory place to lock up my bike. In fact, two places. The first is in the maintenance shop. Although the maintenance guy comes in very early and sometimes leaves earlier than I do. The shop is only unlocked while he’s there. Option two is a covered loading dock platform with a sturdy steel rail fence I could lock to. It’s also the “smoking area” for some employees. I think it’s the best option.
A plan is slowly coming together. Eventually I hope to be bicycle commuting to and from work once again.