By Troy Adair
I'm a guy in my 50s who had led a pretty sedentary life style for over 25 years. After graduating from college, I got a nice office job, and commuted by car. I didn't have an exercise routine, so the pounds slowly added on through the years. I'm a short 5'5″ guy, and a few years ago it was kind-of a health wake up call to me when I was starting to get within a few pounds of hitting 200 pounds, and my blood pressure was getting into dangerous territory. So I decided I needed to find a way to incorporate some physical activity into my daily life.
I've found that when I exercise indoors it is boring and tedious for me; each 10 minutes of indoor exercise feels like at least 30 minutes of boredom to me. I've never been able to stick with an indoor exercise routine. But when I'm doing an outdoor activity, the opposite is true for me. I enjoy myself so much that it doesn't feel like exercise, and each 30 minutes of outdoor activity only seems like 10 minutes of fun enjoyment to me.
I really enjoyed recreational hikes and bicycle rides. But I would often only do them on weekends when I didn't have other responsibilities and time commitments.
To incorporate more physical activity into my daily life and routine, I decided I wanted to incorporate some bicycle commuting into my daily life. But I live in Bountiful and work in the Canyon Rim area near the mouth of Parley's Canyon. My commute is 17 miles each way, or 34 miles round trip per day. Since I'm not a sports cyclist, that was further than I wanted to cycle each day. But then I discovered “multi-modal” bus/bicycle commuting, and it has worked out very well for me.
For me, there are buses that run between my home in Bountiful and either the University of Utah or to downtown Salt Lake City. From the University of Utah, it's about a 5 mile bicycle ride to my work, or from downtown Salt Lake City it's about a 7 mile ride. That is just about the mileage that I am interested in biking each way, and then I get to enjoy some reading and listening to music while I ride the bus the remaining 10 to 12 miles of my commute. I'm now into my third year of multi-modal bus/bicycle commuting, and I've really been pleased with the health benefits I've enjoyed from doing that, including losing some weight, lowering my blood pressure, and lowering my risk of heart disease and metabolic diseases.
Transit and Trails
I've also enjoyed taking advantage of public transit with my Saturday recreational bicycle rides. On Saturdays, I will often cycle down to my local Front Runner station, and then ride it to a section of a multi-use trail to ride. Of course, the Front Runner train has cars that accommodate and welcome bicycles, and it parallels the Jordan River Parkway Trail, the Legacy Trail, and the Denver Rio Grande Western Trail; and it also has stops near the Ogden/Weber River Parkway Trail in Ogden, and the Murdock Canal Trail and Provo River Parkway Trail in Utah County. So I've enjoyed easily accessing and riding all those trails from FrontRunner stations, without the need to drive to them with my car, and without the need to circle back on my rides to the same parking spot I left my car at. With FrontRunner stations, you can easily start your ride at one FrontRunner station, and finish it near another FrontRunner station, and then ride the FrontRunner to your local/home station.
So I really enjoy combining public transit and bicycling. Of course, by itself, public transit isn't often convenient since the stops are often not convenient to homes and work places. And although bicycle commuting offers great ease in getting from point A to point B, and is a fantastic option by itself for those with short commutes, for those of us with longer commutes, it is often not practical by itself. But when you put them together, they go together like chocolate and caramel. The public transit allows you to cover long distances with ease, while the bicycle adds the convenience of quickly and conveniently getting from a transit stop to your work or home. So a “multi-modal” bus/bike commute has been a wonderful option for me and my 17 mile commute.
Note: I get to take advantage of some wonderful bicycle infrastructure when I cycle between downtown and my work, including the Sugarhouse Park and S-Line Greenway sections of Parley's Trail, the 600 East Neighborhood Byway, the Liberty Park Trail, and the protected bike lanes on 300 East, 300 South, and 200 West. I even get to do a quick turn through the protected intersection at 300 South & 200 West. If you are interested, a created a YouTube video of some of that ride and wonderful infrastructure: “Bicycle Commute from Sugarhouse to Downtown Salt Lake City.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrFT-BMYzl4
Troy Adair is a “multi-modal” bus+bike commuter that lives in Bountiful and commutes to and works in the Canyon Rim area.