Friday, February 8

I Can't Drive 55

My regular readers should remember that not so long ago I commuted by bike about 20 miles a day five days a week. Oh boy, have things changed! Now I commute by car about 90 miles a day five days a week.

Time, expense, environmental impact...I've taken a 180 degree turn. Oh, we bought a second car. We had to. I hate to say it, but you can't be idealistic when the landscape is turned against you. Just ask my wife.

I've been spending around $100 a week on gas. That hurts. To offset the impact I've been sticking to 65mph on the highway. Gump just guzzles the dinosaur juice above 65. I'd go slower, but with a 70 mph speed limit I'd get run over on the four lane roads.

The new car is a 2001 Camry. It gets better mpg than Gump. And Mandy will have her beloved Forester back. This morning's commute went much faster, as Gump hits 3,000 rpms at just under 65 mph and the Camry at 75 mph. Not sure why Gump is geared so low. He's a good little mule though. Dependable and tough.

Anyway, I've been consistently driving 65 in a 70 mph zone. I'll probably up it to 70 (the posted speed limit). I've found it's easier to go slow than I'd previously thought, but lets be realistic.

The bane of my commute is Man O War Blvd. My morning commute goes like this: 18 miles on the four lane Mountain Parkway. Then I drive about 20 miles on six lane I-64/75. Then I get on Man O War. It's maybe 5 miles from the interstate to my office. It takes about the same time to drive those last five miles as it does to drive the previous twenty.

Man O War is an order of magnitude worse in the afternoons. I can't begin to express how ridiculously low the level of service is (LOS) on MOW at the evening rush.

My overall perspective has changed significantly though. Traffic is less personal and more cultural, more dependent on planning and engineering. I didn't see that when we left Kentucky five years ago. Traffic was the other punk drivers on the road. Now I see it differently.

Got to run to the bike shop for Tom. He's having a rear MTB wheel worked on. Man, that thing is heavy! Like a wooden wagon wheel heavy. Got to see about getting him some lighter wheels!

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