What began with Milwaukee's Bike to Work Week has evolved into a lifestyle change for me. While the nature of my job doesn't allow for me to get rid of my ride, I've managed to reduce my drive time by about 50 percent, if not more, by commuting via bicycle to and from work when my schedule allows.
It's a lot easier than I thought it'd be, though I admit that at four miles each way, it's not exactly long-distance touring. Still, it's something, and when my car feels slightly foreign after three or four days of non-use, I know it's having an impact, financially and environmentally.
Today a fellow bike commuter introduced me to GasFreeCommute.com, a Web site that helps you track your human-powered (bike, walk, run or skate) mileage. It calculates the calories you burn on your commute and though it's just an estimate, it's certainly motivating. As you rack up the bike miles it begins to estimate the number of gallons of gas you're saving as well as the total number of greenhouse gas emissions you are not creating.
It's not an exact science, but just like in a car, the miles you put on your bike add up and as the proverbial odometer increases, it's a great feeling to know you're saving money rather than spending it on an oil change.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.
As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When OnMilwaukee.com offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”