Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Taking the bus

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

I’ve discovered that I really, really dislike bike commuting in the rain, especially when it comes to school. When I was working full-time, I still didn’t like it, but it was more manageable to bring a change of clothes with me, and let my wet clothes dry throughout the day. Now that I’m moving around campus all day, that’s not a viable option. Sarah and I share one car, and our schedules are different enough that it would be difficult to make that work. Plus, parking is a nightmare on campus, unless you’re willing to pay for a parking garage.

On Monday, it was just pouring all day. I opted to take the Bloomington Transit bus to campus. It was the first time I’ve ridden a bus in a long time. I thought that the bus route/schedule wasn’t going to work for me, but Sarah pointed out that I was misreading the bus schedule. (Note to Bloomington Transit folks: if a GIS student can’t read your bus schedules, maybe you’re doing something wrong.)

I have to say, riding the bus worked quite well. As a student, I get to ride the bus for free. And it’s a lot more ┬átolerable — even enjoyable, I found — walking in the rain, versus riding. And I still got some exercise in the form of 2.5 miles of walking throughout the day. Another bonus: listening to music and reading a book on the bus.

The buses here do have bike racks on the front, so if I can figure out how they work, I could try a multi-mode commute.

Today I went by the forecast and rode the bus again, given that we had a 70% chance of rain. It didn’t start raining until 5:30 pm, a while after my last class. Oh well.

I don’t intend to take the bus often, but it’s good to have alternatives.

8 Responses to “Taking the bus”

  1. the flat tire Says:

    Ah the bus!
    Affectionately known around these parts as the Mayor’s limo.
    Someone else driving me around, what’s not to like?

  2. adventure! Says:

    Out of curiosity, what kind of rain gear did you use for rain riding? After living in Portland for 10 years, I can tell you what you wear can make a big difference!

  3. Steve A Says:

    I think a big part of it is not having to transfer from one bus to another.

  4. Tim S Says:

    I had a job a good while back where the bus picked me up 100yds from the apartment and dropped me off a block from work. It was great. I read and listened to tunes and relaxed.

    I’ve done the bus just two times from the house-to-work here and at a minimum it takes me 1 hour+, mostly because of either a transfer or a transfer and long walk. I can make it in 30min easy on a bike, so why would I ride the bus for an hour?

    Carrying tennis gear and teenagers presents other variables…

  5. Apertome Says:

    adventure! – More gear wouldn’t really help, since I have no good way of carrying it around with me, or letting it dry. In my experience, riding in the rain means getting wet, no matter what you do.

  6. Asher Says:

    I generally ride the bus part of the way to school, and I enjoy it. It gives me time to relax and do some reading for fun, or to do a little writing or composing on my computer, or run through a quick review if I’ve got an exam pending.

    I’m not sure what the bus racks on Bloomington’s buses look like, but I’m guessing they’re probably similar to ours. In that vein, you might want to check out Transit Authority of River City’s instructional ‘Bike Rack Rap’ video:

    http://www.ridetarc.org/rider-information/bikes-on-board.asp

    Actually, it’s worth checking out regardless. TARC’s employees made a bunch of these videos, and they really did an awesome job. The one thing you can’t see in this one is this: to lower the rack, you have to grab a squeeze bar in the middle. It’s marked on ours, though, so if you have the same racks (which are pretty much the standard city bus bike racks), I’m guessing yours will be marked, too.

  7. adventure! Says:

    Apertome–So when it rained, did you ride without any rain gear?

  8. Rob Says:

    I hate riding in the rain too, but only for one (silly) reason. I hate having to bring a drippy bike back into the apartment (we can’t leave them outside safely).
    I, too, have been curious about using our bus racks as an easy “way out” (though, if it’s raining, my bike will still get wet, and I’ll still have the “drippy bike/apartment dilemma”) /sigh.
    Sometimes, the bus is a nice break though!

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