Here’s a peek into a very significant lifestyle change I recently made pic.twitter.com/MPf1ygtSL2
— Erin | Reaching for FI (@reachingforfi) August 15, 2019
Spoiler alert: I just bought a bikeshare membership.
Plenty of people bike. In fact, one of my uncles has previously given me shit for living in such a bikeable city and not owning a bike or riding one regularly.
But I hate biking. Or more specifically, I don’t feel comfortable on a bike since I haven’t regularly ridden one (and no, my once-ish a year—on average—bike ride to go brewery hopping doesn’t count!) since middle school. Which also means I’m out of shape for biking which means it’s even harder work for me. Also as a pedestrian I am well-acquainted with how many drivers around here would run you over if given half a chance, so the thought of willingly getting on a bike and riding next to/with them is FUCKING TERRIFYING.
Aka I hate biking.
Given all that, why in the world did I just drop $85 (and another $30 on a helmet) on a bikeshare membership? Given that I lived in my last apartment for five years, did I suddenly become a different person when I moved?
New commuting changes
I’m first and foremost a pedestrian. Sure, I could hop on the metro or a bus, but if it’s somewhere within about 45 minutes away (and it’s not horribly cold or horribly hot—or storming like it has been lately), I’m most likely to walk there. I love being able to walk everywhere and it’s by far my preferred method of transportation.
It helps that I live a life that’s highly walkable.
My life as it’s looked the past five years: 15 minute walk to work. 15 minute walk to both barre and the grocery store (from both home and work). 8 minute walk to the library. 15 minute walk to one metro station and 20 minute walk to another on a different line.
My life now: 15 minute walk to work (via a different route. Did I mention I definitely got the way better end of the location deal with this move?). 30 minute walk to both barre and the grocery store from home, still 15 minutes from work. 5 minute walk to the library (although I miss my old library and am still figuring out where things are in this new one!). 5 minute walk to the metro station and now 30 minutes to the one that used to be closer to me.
Trying to keep my life as much the same as possible?
(I already told you I’m feeling guilty about this. Still.)
This is all barre’s fault.
My partner has been saying for a while now that once we moved maybe I could drop my barre membership and save $105/month by doing other workouts (body weight workouts, running with him (fuck running and yet he
guilted convinced me to go for a run twice while we were on vacation in June so clearly he’s bad for me), etc). Honestly, that’s tempting because my membership is expensive! And I’ve been horrible the last few months at going as often as I want to, so I’ve been wasting money on that as well. I try not to think about how infrequently I’ve gone lately, lest I start heaping a huge pile of guilt on myself for not getting my money’s worth.
And yet… it’s still the only full-body workout I enjoy doing. If I were to drop my membership, I couldn’t pick barre back up again for this price. My hugely discounted membership is for one specific location and even if I could transfer it to a different location (for the less-discounted price of $129/month), the other closest location is about equidistant from my new place as my current location, so why bother switching?
Trial and error
I know myself though. I’m way more willing to walk home half an hour than I am to walk half an hour there before class, which means I’d probably end up canceling any class that meant leaving from my apartment (it’s too easy to talk myself out of working out these days).
My strategy now is to bring my workout clothes to work and go directly from there to barre in the evening (a 15 minute walk). I’ve largely stopped going to barre on the weekends since it’s a lot to go in the morning on weekend days I’m working, so this strategy works perfectly. And then I can save the half hour walk for the way home.
And yet, sometimes I want to get home before 7pm at the earliest. Sometimes I will want to work out on weekends even despite the longer commute to get there now. My partner and I are still figuring out our grocery shopping strategy; he drives by Aldi on his way home so having him pick up the bulk of our stuff is the cheapest way to go, but sometimes I’ll still want to swing by my grocery store and pick up something he couldn’t find there, and especially if it’s frozen or refrigerated I’ll want to get it home sooner than the half an hour it’ll take me to walk.
So I started thinking using the Capital Bikeshare bikes would be a good option. There are a couple of different routes between my apartment and barre with bike lanes or I never would’ve considered it.
Membership or nah?
A single ride (30 minutes and under) is $2.00, which is a pretty reasonable price for a ride here and there. It’s also a good price for when you’re testing the waters.
But after just one one-off ride (partially because I was waiting to get a helmet because safety first and I’m already very unsure on a bike without the extra worry of not wearing a helmet and also have I mentioned drivers here are FUCKING TERRIFYING?), I took the nuclear option and ponied up $85 for an annual membership.
So my expensive barre membership is now costing me even more in the form of a bikeshare membership!
But here’s the thing—if I take one bike ride a week/four rides per month, that pays for my $7/month membership (versus four $2 rides). I think it’s entirely likely that once a week I’d want to bike home from barre (and get a second workout in because damn, I’m out of shape and also these hills around Capitol Hill are no joke). Sometimes I’ll walk (especially since I take two bags to work and I’m still figuring out that situation—the baskets on the front of the bikes only fit one bag and I’m certainly not comfortable enough/good enough on a bike to unbalance myself by carrying another bag on one arm), but knowing I have this membership will incentivize me to bike home at least once a week.
And now I can do things like go for a bike ride around the neighborhood or down on the mall whenever I want. If I’m running late for something I can hop on a bike instead of speed-walking (although I am a champion at that!).
But did you consider…?
No, before you ask, I’m not planning on buying a bike anytime soon (for one, I’ve already paid for the nonrefundable membership).
I don’t ride one enough to justify it—my goal is one ride a week to make the membership cheaper than single rides, remember? We also don’t have space at all for one (let alone two) in the apartment, and my partner just donated his bike since there was nowhere to put it. Paying for a membership is a reasonable compromise, especially since I’m paying for the convenience of not having to carry around a lock and worrying about locking up my bike and hoping it doesn’t get stolen.
Plus right now I don’t enjoy biking at all. The bikeshare membership is just a way to get from point A to point B faster.
That might change in the future (and hopefully I won’t be living in a 600 sq ft basement forever and will eventually have space for a bike) so I’m perfectly willing to revisit this decision. But for now, for the next year, this is what’s happening.