Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bike To Work Day-- An Ultracommuting Ultrarunner's Brief, Ironic Experience

Despite living almost six years in the Bay Area at my current job, not once have I been able to participate in National Bike to Work Day. Either I'm not working, or I have a shift less conducive to riding my bike. The hours for the free handouts at the BART stations are skewed towards commuters with 9 to 5 jobs. Pooh.

So this year, I was going to ignore it again, planning instead to do my 3-5 hour run through the southern East Bay hills for my 4 pm to 2 am shift in Fremont. But then another doctor needed noon to 3 pm coverage for a call center shift (phone advice to nurses giving advice to patients), which I did from home, doing some of it while spinning on my new bike trainer. I was still planning on running 30 minutes to the BART station, but then found out they were actually giving out the goodie bags at the Fremont BART station (where I get off) starting at 4 pm. So I thought, what the heck, let's finally see what swag I've been missing.

Since my own commuter bike needed a new tube, I pumped up the flat tires on my wife's bike, donned by helmet and backpack, and rode 20 minutes to Hayward BART. I used to do this often, but more than a year ago I started running only; the bike with headlamps, flats, BART platforms, and no safe place to lock it at work, seemed too much a hassle.

A few minutes after leaving the Fremont station, some volunteers arrived with boxes. I helped them unload their truck, then took my free cloth tote bag (a "musette bag" is what they called it) filled with a Scharffenberger chocolate, a mini Cliff Bar, a coupon for free food at Chipotle, and some other coupons and brochures, before the short bike to my hospital.

OK, that was fun enough.

Ironically, an ultrarunner who bikes to work on Bike to Work Day ends up feeling like a REAL SLACKER. Will have to make up for this next week.....


Baldwyn said...

Bike to Work day seems to fall on Open House day at Kayley's school (hey! When and where I saw you last year!) so not so conducive to a bike in bike out metric century work day, expecting to be at the classroom by 7pm. (Last year, I did the ride the day after) Of course, as you know, I did the run home from Fremont the night before so I could participate somewhat without subjecting my slacker self to a 33 mile-non-hilly run (but instead 26 miles with hills), followed by a 33 mile bike ride.

Anyways, Chipotle is one of my favourite things in this world. In fact, it's usually what we get for my birthday dinner (although my wife is starting to suspect it's also because I'm cheap). So I was extremely disappointed to pull up to the Castro Valley BART station at 8:48 with no "energizer station" in sight. I don't know if I wasn't looking carefully enough, or what.

That coupon had to be used by May 15th or something right? I'm suspecting you probably didn't even use it, which feels both tragic and comic, like a weekend of Shakespeare.

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Must have something to do with our being unincorporated (no swag or free food in CV's BART).

I wouldn't've been able to use it even if i'd noticed the time limit on the coupon. At least I got the premium chocolate.