Last week Payette participated in the MassCommute Bike Challenge and May 10-18 I rode my bike every day to celebrate the 20th annual challenge. I commuted between Providence and Boston (one-way) for each workday and toured joy rides around Rhode Island with friends throughout the both weekends. Throughout the week, my extra-curricular activities consisted of fixing, cleaning and tuning up bikes including a classic tandem frame that occasionally trolls the streets of Providence. (Yes, we get lots of looks when we ride it, especially when using it alone … I hope to bring it to bring it to work one day so that we can go on lunch rides.)
I wanted to help MassCommute’s eco-cause, but also push Team Payette into the competitive circuit of firms participating in the Bike Challenge. On a personal level, I wanted to push myself beyond the physical limits graduate school had constrained me to! It was an opportunity to continue my never ending pursuit of fitness and a chance to show to my primary care physician that I can lose not only 10 pounds, but 20!
Every other day, my ride started at the crack of dawn when my cat, not alarm clock, wakes me. I roll out of bed, slip into my bib-shorts and jersey, and then load up all my pockets with essentials for my trip: Cliff bar, wallet, extra tubes, pump, park tool, plus my iPhone to give me directions (and provide 90’s jams to motivate me). By 5:30AM I was ready to leave. Each day I would quietly and SLOWLY sneak out the house so as not to disturb my 5 housemates’ sleep. Once outside the easy part begins, just a 50 mile bike commute from Providence to Boston. Each ride I traveled a different route using smaller and lesser used roads making sure to pass by the towns of Attleboro, Mansfield, Sharon, Canton, Milton and Dorchester to keep me on track.
On a good day the ride takes about 2.5 hours, but on a bad (rainy) day it takes almost 4. The trip is not as grueling as it sounds, especially if you keep hydrating and eating. It is also motivating to pass and glide through the morning traffic! Out of the commuting days, the Friday ride home proved to be one of my most challenging moments on a bicycle yet: Riding in complete darkness and getting caught in a heavy rain. I made it to my home at 10:30, after 3.5 hours.
In the end, I biked a total of 387.5 miles, burned approximately 20,000 kcals (and consumed double the amount), and climbed 16,000 vertical feet. But, most importantly, Team Payette was able to rank in the top 20 of all participating firms! So congrats to all and thanks for participating! I have decided to continue the bike commute at least once/twice a week. I hope some of you do, too!