Written by Rachel Twedt, Multimedia Content Management Specialist, University Marketing & Communications
There are many great reasons to actively commute to WashU by foot or bicycle – not having to search – or pay – for a parking spot; no sitting in traffic; saving money on fuel; a reduced carbon footprint – but the reason that I choose a non-motorized commute is to save the most valuable commodity there is… TIME. Actively commuting is one of the ways that I exercise. It gives me back the time that I would spend cycling or running outside of work hours.
As a long distance endurance runner, it can be difficult some weeks to fit in all my training miles. When the Active Commuter Hub opened on WashU’s East End, I got the idea to combine training time and commuting time from my home in South City to utilize the hours in a day more efficiently. I was very impressed with the hub’s state-of-the-art shower rooms and lockers, and was able to rent a personal locker for an entire semester. Through thoughtful preparation and packing, I have been able to successfully combine exercise and commuting, saving valuable time each week.
I work in University Marketing & Communications located on the east end of the Danforth Campus. The commute from my home to the office is 6 miles one way. The route consists of bike-friendly side streets and 3 miles through Forest Park, so I am confident in its safety. Currently, we are on a limited in-office schedule due to COVID, so I am in the office Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I cycle to work on Mondays (as a cross-training day), run to and from work on Tuesdays, and drive on Wednesdays. On Mondays, I carry everything I need at the office in a saddlebag for both Monday and Tuesday, then cycle home for the evening. On Tuesdays, I run to and from work and don’t carry anything except my wallet, keys and phone because my lunch, clothes, and towel are already at the hub and the office. Finally, on Wednesdays I drive to work, bringing home my dirty clothes, towel and lunch box at the end of the day.
MY PACKING LIST
Mondays: Cycle in with…
- Cycling clothes and shoes
- Rechargeable headlight and taillight
- Bike lock
- Flat repair kit
- Water bottle
- Saddlebag packed with laptop, lunch for Monday and Tuesday, work clothes and shoes for Monday and Tuesday, towel, wallet, keys and phone
Tuesdays: Run to work and home with…
- Hydration pack
*I keep a set of toiletries in my locker at the commuter hub so I don’t need to carry those.
DO THE MATH
I live approximately 6 miles from the Danforth Campus. Driving, parking and walking to the building takes me about an hour total daily. Commuting the 12 miles total by bicycle takes about an hour and 15 minutes; this includes packing my stuff in the morning. If I run to and from work, it takes me approximately an hour and 45 minutes total for the day. At first glance, this seems like driving is the most economical use of time, but factor in the additional time I would need to exercise in my day, and the time-saving is evident.
Actively commuting is a great way to maximize use of time and get exercise! I highly recommend becoming a member of WashU’s Active Commuter Hub, no matter what your own personal reason might be. Check out the Office of Sustainability’s Active Commuter Hub website to learn more.