So this is a bitchy post about how much commuting sucks sometimes. I'm whining and I know it - which probably doesn't make it better, it just makes it more pathetic that I'm going to continue to do it anyway.
Today there was a fire on the Blue line. Normally this wouldn't be an issue for me as I usually take the Metra downtown. But today I decided to ride with my husband who works, for the time being, in Wicker Park and then take the Blue line to my office. The nice thing about this is (a) the walk is shorter from the train to my office and (b) I can go to the good Starbucks and not the annoying Starbucks. But just as we were getting to Mr. H's office the radio tells us about said fire and no trains are moving. Great. So now I and every other person along Milwaukee Ave. are stuck trying to (a) get into a cab or (b) get on a bus. Both of which are hopelessly hopeless. Eventually I lost all patience and decided to drive the rest of the way. It probably didn't get me to work any quicker, but at least I was in control.
While I was cursing my decision to not take the Metra downtown I'm watching all the cyclists and walkers (who I am assuming had given up on a boardable bus coming anytime soon), thinking - yep, I should just ride my bike to work. Of course, the minute I do that, I'll get a flat tire or something. See, I'm just in a negative mood.
I do want to start riding my bike to work, but I also want to stay safe. I know first hand two people who have had pretty bad accidents involving cars, one of whom I work with who lives a few blocks from me so took the same route I would be taking. Other than riding slow and being hyper aware, I don't know how to minimize my risk. And cars aren't the only obstacles on the road. The roads themselves can be an issue, though the entire route I would take is marked bike lanes or shared lanes. However, because of this, especially closer to downtown, there are a lot of other cyclists, many of whom don't follow the rules of the road. In some way, you're safer in numbers. In other ways you're not.
Most days, regardless of what way I decide to take to work - and I do realize how lucky I am that I have multiple ways to get to work - it's easy and hassle free. But biking to work does have the element of control that I like coupled with being free/exercise/good for the environment. Really it's a win-win - that is if I can stay safe.
Do you ride to work? What are your tactics for staying safe? If you don't ride to work, how to you stay zen when the train/bus/traffic just isn't going your way?