Wednesday, 16 January
I wonder if anyone has studied the correlation between method of commuting to work, amount of coffee consumed, and workplace productivity and stress. Based on my own extensive fieldwork in the last two days of icy streets, I suggest that bicycle commuters tend toward more productivity and lower stress. Here's why.
My ride to work is 22 minutes. It's predictable but it makes me be alert and awake. I get to work with my blood flowing and my brain turned on. On the way home, work-related thoughts are replaced by the need to think about something else while I focus on traffic or where the next *&^#ing bump is on the Burke Gilman Trail.
It takes 45 minutes to get to work by bus. The bus is warm and dark. It's almost like going back to bed. When I get to work, I'm still in a fog, even if I didn't nap on the bus (somebody's too-loud iPod kept me awake!), even if I did a trainer workout before breakfast. I'm slow to take up tasks. I need coffee.
Driving to work is not an option for me (it costs $12 a day to park), but from my infrequent experiences driving in rush-hour traffic, I speculate that you need a cup of coffee in your hand for something to do while you inch toward that next stoplight. Between the caffeine and the annoying behaviors of other drivers, by the time you get to work, you're already on edge, ready to snap at someone. You need more coffee to soothe you.
[At this point, my readers in places like, say, Hood River are more delighted than ever that they don't live in the big city.]
Yeah, you can rationalize anything, but I'm grateful I can ride my bike to work almost every day. And these days when I can't (there is a demonstrated and strong correlation between icy roads and broken bones in cyclists) make me even more grateful. Ice, ice, go away!