Okay, okay. Perhaps you’ve seen the #GoGREATER bus ads scooting around town. Maybe you’ve received the emails in your inbox. You know it would be smart. But— you can’t quite make the change. Driving alone to work just seems easier. You don’t have to wait for a carpool partner to exit their house or sit at the bus stop. You’re not all sweaty from riding your bike. Whatever your excuse, we hear you.
We get it. But, what if you were to try just once? Currently, King County Metro is running the Just One Trip promo. Commit and you can get set up with an ORCA card worth $25- or, $25 to gear up at REI.
On behalf of GRTMA and Go Redmond, we promote all alternative modes. These modes include transit, bike, walk, carpool, and vanpool. For our staff, that also includes telework and condensed work week. GRTMA runs the annual Tour de Redmond Bicycle Commute Challenge as a way to show people how easy it is to get out of traffic and onto the trail.
Part of running the Tour de Redmond means one thing for our office— everyone has to ride at least once. You can’t host a challenge and not participate. We’ve been stating for the entire challenge that participants don’t necessarily need to ride the whole way. Let’s face it, the topography of the region can be daunting and commuting into Redmond requires many to cross very large hills and bodies of water. So, I decided to take our own medicine and try a partial bike commute.
For context, I live in Seattle on the west side of Greenlake. Unfortunately, there is no direct bus route from an easy walking distance to my house. To offset the stress of commuting I have been working extra long workdays in a compressed work week and taking advantage of telecommuting at least once a week. Despite trying to beat/miss the rush hour traffic I was often finding myself sitting in traffic at times for more than an hour and 15 minutes each way, every time I drove.
Also, every time I cross the 520 bridge I can hear my money dissipate like an old-school cash register machine. Between tolls and gas, my commute costs around $10 every time I drive to work.
Imagine my surprise when I completed my required ride for Tour de Redmond. Turns out, it’s way easier than I thought it could be!
Let’s be real. There is no way I am going to ride from Greenlake to Redmond. I could, but that is unrealistic for a girl from the Midwest who is still riding a fixed-gear bicycle. So, I did what I’ve been telling people to do— I rode my bike two miles to the Greenlake Park and Ride, and hopped on the 542 bus. And you know what? All in all it only took about an hour to get to work. And I saved money. And it made going out in Seattle easier that night because I didn’t have to worry about my car.
Also, Not only did I do it last week, I did it again today. And I plan to do it tomorrow.
For someone who likes to be financially savvy and fit, I’ve just saved over $20 on commuting! And exercised! And not had to wait in the deadlock that was last Thursday’s rush-hour traffic. Winning.
I created the #GoGREATER campaign to bridge the efforts of GRTMA and Go Redmond. Did you know GoRedmond makes it easier than ever to find incentives and earn rewards for not driving alone? For the campaign I simply wanted to ask people, “Want to find a commute that makes you happy?” I know for me, sitting in traffic, alone does not make me happy. And, at the end of the day my drive-alone commute is costing way more money than I wanted to spend.
The beauty of #GoGREATER, is that you can find the commute that works for you. You don’t have to ride your bike every day. The bus might not work for you on others. But, having all these great options allows you to customize your commute each day. I still love the flexibility of working long shifts and telecommuting but am excited to sit back and enjoy the ride once in awhile. So, while it’s nice outside I’ve pledged to myself to ride my bike to the park and ride. My car is in the driveway if I need it, but for now I’m excited to save money, sneak in a little exercise and actually #GoGREATER.