I've been posting to the Commuting forum for a while now, but I've never really had a proper commute (to a job). At university I rode to and from school, but the hours were irregular and always short -- my rides never registered as a real "commute" in my head.
Anyway, I have a new job of sorts, and a real commute -- leaving in the morning and returning in the evening. I tried it for the first time today, and it was FANTASTIC. I've recently moved houses, and as a result of browsing this forum too much, I purposely picked a place that would place me about 30 minutes' ride from my potential place of work. I looked at closer places, but that would mean a shorter ride
I have completely lucked out. My ride in the morning (about takes me through old alleys along the imperial lakes (Houhai/Shichahai), around the back of the Forbidden City, and finally towards the central business district where I work. I cannot conceive of a better commute in this city, and it makes my old ride to school (along the side of an expressway) seem particularly grim in comparison.
The ride back was even more wonderful. I took a detour and rode the last half through alleyways I had never seen before. It's a very relaxed way to ride, since minimal lighting and playing kids force you to go slowly. I was in no hurry, so this just added to the charm of my ride. I then got back along the bar- and restaurant-lined lakes, and up the final alley to my house.
I'll get around to posting pictures for sure, but I am just so thrilled with the ride that I wanted to write this for the time being. I don't think I'm even jealous of crtreedude anymore
As wonderful as it was, a few things I need to work on:
- A clothes-changing/washing up procedure upon arriving at the office. I wore a dress shirt today, and while it wasn't compeletly soaked by the time I got to work, it wasn't exactly dry either.
- Related to that, I'm going to start thinking seriously about a way to transport my stuff other than in my messenger bag. Panniers would have made me feel more comfortable on the ride in this morning.
- The biggest problem is the locking situation at my building. I was prevented by security from locking up to a signpost outside, and directed into an underground bike parking lot. There is a nice old lady who attends to the bikes, but absolutely nothing to lock the bikes up to. As I've got a folder, I'm going to investigate whether I'm permitted to take it into the office. Unfortunately, it's a fairly posh office, and I'm just an intern, so I'm not sure how well that's going to work.
Anyway, sorry for the length, but I'm really very excited about this. Here's a picture of my commute from Google Earth:
Looking forward to tomorrow already!