Last year, I had a very devastating blow that lead me to say goodbye to my beautiful first car, Calypso. I still miss her dearly, but I am still surprised that she lasted as long as she did. Since then, I have had to juggle a balance of bike riding and riding public transportation. Riding public transportation can be a very trying experience. When your commute could be 15 minutes and it becomes 1.5 hours with 3 modes of transportation, it can be quite a battle. HOWEVER, I have learned some tips that can assist in your ride being a little bit more enjoyable and sometimes even productive. There are some days when I am even thankful that I have the opportunity to ride public transportation because I have learned to make the most out of a not so pleasurable circumstance.
What to do?
- Pack up the following (but make sure that your bag isn't too heavy):
- a snack and water to prevent hangriness (hungry + angriness)
- entertainment that can be easily transported and cleaned up quickly in case you have to jet for the door. Some of my favorites are:
- a lightweight book, smart phone with music and/or podcasts (NPR yes!), a small notepad (for ideas, lists (grocery, etc.), game books (crosswords, trivia, etc.)
- Keep your valuable items close by
- This will keep you more comfortable and at ease that your valuables are safe from sneaksy hobbitses
- Wear comfortable shoes
- It doesn't matter if you gotta look hot that day. If you are limping because you had to stand on the train, you are not going to be hot! Functionality over fashion in this instance.
- You can always pack cutesie shoes or leave cutesie shoes at the locations that you travel to.
- Wear weather appropriate gear
- In Oregon, this mainly means to make sure to wear waterproof gear because rocking the wet dog look is not fun.
- Use the transportation time for productivity, so you don't have to waste more of your valuable time later in the day.
- Make your grocery list, call your mom, check your email, research a product that you are supposed to purchase soon, etc.
- Be Courteous to other riders
- Help out other riders that don't know how to ride
- There may be new riders that don't know how to ride, and they are need of assistance. Sometimes, there are things that are VERY clearly labeled and some things are inexplicably difficult to understand. Be the person to help out others.
- Keep your bag on your lap
- By you keeping your bag on your lap, you are offering your seat to another rider that could've been on their feet all day. When we help others, we feel better about ourselves and our decisions.
- Be sensibly quiet
- Don't be afraid to speak, but you also shouldn't yell at the top of your lungs. Empathize with the concept that this is a public tool, and you yelling is disrupting this experience for others.
- Yes, I know that I sound crazy, but if you ride, you are going to help the smell of the train, and you'll be more likely to be offered a seat from fellow riders.
- Your bus is going to be late, early, etc. every so often. It is going to happen, so be prepared. It does in fact suck. However, there is also nothing that you can do about it. Worrying/stressing about arrivals/departure is not going to help. This is the tip that I struggle with the most because I usually ride with a preferred arrival time. However, you cannot control car accidents, traffic, etc. and worrying about it is not going to help.