What is it like to commute 11 miles by bike in Charlotte? Let’s try it for a week

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I’ve had this idea for a while now. I actually pitched it way back when I applied for this job. It centers around this question: What is it like to be car-less in Charlotte?

More specifically: What is it like to commute by bike in Charlotte?

The subject has come up in many conversations recently, like when I talked to Joe Frey for my story about the Cross Charlotte Trail, and when I talked to Sustain Charlotte Bike Program Director Jordan Moore.

Last week — with events like the N.C. Bike Summit and Biketoberfest in town — I started thinking more seriously about bike commuting.

I’ve always loved the idea of biking to work. I enjoy riding my bike and I like the idea of incorporating a workout into my daily commute. I want to be less car-dependent, and I hope that I’ll feel more energized and refreshed at work after a ride.

But it’s not like I live in an easy-to-bike, close-in area like South End or NoDa or Dilworth. I live near East Mecklenburg High and work uptown, and the route to work isn’t exactly obvious. Biking 10 miles down Independence doesn’t seem like a good idea.

Sitting around Sunday morning, waiting for football to start, I looked at the weather and saw that it is supposed to be sunny and 60-70 all this week. What the hell, I thought, let’s do it this week before it gets all cold and dark early.

That shows you how much I’ve prepared for this.

Here’s the plan:

– I mapped out an 11-ish mile route that takes me from my house, over to Myers Park and up Little Sugar Creek Greenway, mostly avoiding major roads.

BikeCommute

– I plan to bike to and from work every day from Monday to Thursday, using my trusty 1990s Specialized Sirrus bike that I bought a little over a year ago.

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– If for some reason biking isn’t an option (I get stuck at work too late or it decides to unexpectedly pour), I plan on taking the bus. (Sidenote: Are there instructions on how to use the bike rack on the front of city buses? This is something that has quietly stressed me out for years.)

– I’ll be tweeting and Instagramming about this all week, and plan to write about my experiences here at least once, probably twice this week.

Saturday bike ride with @cpinscoe812

A post shared by Corey (@coreyinscoe) on

If you have any tips/advice/guidance you want to share, send me a tweet or an email. I’ll need all the help I can get.

Photos: Corey Inscoe; Courtney Inscoe


CoreyCorey Inscoe is editor of CharlotteFive and just looked at the weather to see that it’s supposed to be 36 degrees Monday morning. Think warm thoughts and follow him on Twitter @CoreyInscoe.

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