Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My First Time

Last June I traded my 58-mile commute for a five-mile commute.  Yesterday I traded the five-mile commute for a one-mile commute.

In the past I've had jobs I could bike to, or ride the subway to, or take a bus to.  But today was the first time I could reasonable walk to work.  That's just what I did, and it was fabulous.  I bundled up in my scarf, tuque, gloves and boots, and took along a travel mug of hot tea.  I stepped out the front door into a pleasant 25 degrees with snowflakes swirling out of the sky.  I walked down the driveway, past my ice-encrusted car, waving to neighbors who were undertaking the scraping ritual.  "Poor souls," I thought to myself.  I turned the corner, passed 9's vet's office, and the commute had begun.

Every now and then I paused for a sip of tea, or to read a notice on a lamppost, or to glance for a view of the harbor.  But mostly I just plodded along through the snow, thinking about the patients coming today, and before I knew it I was at the office.  Fantastic!

This form of commuting will be environmentally friendly, but not necessarily free of charge.  I figure that with 10+ miles a week of extra walking I could easily wear out my Sorels ($99.95) in two winters, not to mention summer shoes.  For when the real sidewalk ice develops next month, I plan to get a pair of Stabilicers ($49.95) (made in Smallish State!).  Those might last two years.  Then for rainy days I will surely need a big umbrella ($30?), and I'll probably go through at least two of those in a year.  Then various extra expenses: socks, hats that blow into traffic, etc.  So, doing quick math, if I walk to work every day, that's 150 miles per year... and comes out to about $1 per mile.  Which is considerably more expensive than driving to work.

And that's even before I buy two of these.

But, there are intangibles to consider, and I think on the balance it will be worthwhile.


Blogger Valerie said...

Congratulations! And what the heck are you doing with your umbrellas that you need 2 a year? Definitely get a big one. You will inspire fear on the sidewalk with it.

12/4/07, 7:11 PM  
Blogger NeoNurseChic said...

Oh what I would give to walk to work! Instead I drive in on the Sure Kill Expressway which is easily one of the worst roads in the entire country. I drive amongst many other road raging, exhausted Philadelphians, and while I have tried to leave earlier and earlier, I find that I am nearly in a hypertensive crisis most days by the time I get to work! Yes, I would prefer to walk!

Actually, I told my boyfriend I would consider moving to NH or VT at some point, but the snow up there kind of scares me! I lived in State College, PA for awhile, which gets a fair amount of ice and it snows there for 8 months out of the year, but it's still not New England!

I think you've got exactly the right gear for walking to work! Just think of the hours on your life that you save by not driving and instead having a much more pleasant walk to work. I'm pretty sure that I will die an early death as a direct result of my commute! haha

Take care,
Carrie :)

12/4/07, 11:34 PM  
Blogger Claire Colvin said...

That sounds lovely.

We got snow in Vancouver over the weekend (panic always ensues) and during the inevitable snow discussion Monday morning one of the imports from Calgary asked "what's with all the snow haters?" I told him that it was simple: I don't hate snow, snow is beautiful, I hate *driving* in snow. If a walking commute was possible, snow and I could finally resolve our differences and live in harmony as nature intended.

A walking commute, think of the possibilities? You could go back to grade school days of walking home for lunch. Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup on a snowy day. . . mmmmm

12/5/07, 2:18 PM  
Blogger Johanna said...

I challenge your math. Like a true small business owner, you attribute all costs to just business, when presumably you would expect some reasonable wear and tear on Sorels etc. during regular life. That, and I walked 2 miles to work for years, and the same pair of winter boots lasted over five years *and* we have just as much winter.

Also, you have not factored in benefits, only costs. Presumably, you need fewer expensive entertainments to manage stress now...

At least, changing my 35 minute walk to a 15 minute drive three years ago made my commuting costs go up by about 1000%, all things considered. I need to replace tires more frequently, buy winter tires, buy new scrapers, endless bottles of wiper juice, oil changes, regular wear and tear on vehicle, parking costs, gym membership... and I'm not factoring in the loss of automatic stress relief during the walk home.

But then what do I know. I just flew half way round the world for a UN climate change meeting, which is held in the most ridiculous gated resort complex I have ever seen (well, that's a small sample) or heard of... my ecological footprint increased 100-fold when I started working on climate change. Grrrr.

12/5/07, 6:07 PM  
Blogger Turboglacier said...

"...made my commuting costs go up by about 1000%"

But that, Johanna, is probably because you drive a VW... : )

12/5/07, 8:41 PM  
Anonymous TurboMom and TurboPop said...


We are wondering how many days/year you are planning to work. If you are getting by on 75 days (150miles/year divided by 2 miles/day = 75 days) you must have a lot of free time.

There are lots of great projects down here that you could do with all that free time.

12/9/07, 6:12 PM  
Blogger Turboglacier said...

Ah-- thanks to all who corrected my math. Indeed, I will walk more like 500 miles a year (not 150). So that's more like 30 cents a mile, now quite competitive with driving. And of course, I don't have to pay to park my feet, so that's added savings. Please check all math on this blog before you believe anything I say.

12/9/07, 7:48 PM  

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