How do you get to work?


I'm thinking about starting to ride my bike or skateboard into work certain days (Fridays). I have a place to store my bike or skateboard and a place to change into my work “uniform” but I'm not sure how the firm will respond to this.

I'm a PM (and an associate so I do have a bit of pull) and my concern is that inevitable call from a job site regarding trouble. With a car I'm on site within the hour. On my skateboard... and I can only imagine what the construction crew would be thinking as the “architect” came skateboarding up the road with a drawing tube strapped to his back.

This is something I would like to do consistently on Fridays so 4 out of 5 days I would be fully mobile. Has anyone out there had to address this kind of issue? Again I have the pull to be able to say “I'm just doing this - take it or leave it” and I would be on my bike tomorrow BUT this action will set the precedent for firm culture so everyone may start meeting me at Coffee Exchange with their skateboards on the way into the office.

May 27, 04 11:53 am
Brim about keeping your skateboard under your desk ready for skating breaks over to Coffee Exchange anytime you feel it necessary, meanwhile having your car ready for job-site visits? If you're an associate I would try to set some kind of tone for the office.

May 27, 04 12:13 pm

Unfortunately I have to drive 5 miles to work. Given the freeways and lack of pedestrian travel I wouldn't consider killing myself just to take the bicycle.

Gas prices have made me take a second look at the ghetto apartments across the street from the office.

If I were to live there I for sure would devise a zip line system for getting to and from work.

May 27, 04 1:30 pm

I live 1/2 mile from work, but I'm required to have my car at work so that I can always go to job sites and other errands that crop up, so I always have to drive. I've previously worked in large firms that have company cars, so in those cases I was able to walk or bike to work. I'd certainly prefer to walk to work now, both for the fresh air and excercise benefits and the environmental aspects - but at least I have free parking. I'm not sure there's a good solution to this (our projects are spread out in a 60 mile radius of here, so I don't think the skateboard is an option.)

May 27, 04 2:27 pm

8 min metro ride and a 5 min walk

May 27, 04 3:06 pm

me? i fly. it's awesome.

May 27, 04 3:09 pm

How 'bout leaving your car at work on Thursday and bike or skate home, then skate back in Friday morning. You'd take the car home Friday I guess, but at least you save one round trip.

If you wake up Friday and it's raining, I guess you've got a problem.

May 27, 04 3:20 pm

subway, then walk (35 minutes total)

May 27, 04 3:29 pm

Kona Unit single speed mountain bike along the hike and bike. Or drive...

May 27, 04 3:37 pm

5 minute walk. 7 minutes when there's traffic.

May 27, 04 4:42 pm

I work two blocks away and I still drive. takes me 25 seconds to get to work. and you know what else? I still manage to get road-rage.

May 27, 04 4:55 pm

CTA everyday!

May 27, 04 4:58 pm

CTA is such a joke
i hate it
why are there 15 brown lines for every red line

May 27, 04 5:01 pm

i walk down the stairs in my house. commute time: 10 seconds.

May 27, 04 5:03 pm
j anderson

subway w/ book or headphones on sleepy days and rainy days.
motorcycle with attentive eyes when i can or site visit days

May 27, 04 5:04 pm

the day before yesterday i rode my bike to work, and then left it there and walked home, yesterday i woke up late and drove to work, then rode my bike to the record exchange after and then walked home, leaving my bike there. today i walked, thus having all of my modes of transportation downtown. and now its raining really bad, and i am really happy that i can drive home....
im not really required to have transportation at work. it seems silly to me that companies would be anti-alternative forms of transportation, but i totally understand needing to have a car to visit sites. in which case i like the idea of leaving a vehicle at work.

May 27, 04 5:19 pm

I have considered the idea of leaving the car at work, but the location is rather deserted at night and it's a pretty good bet that eventually the car would be broken into or vandalized. At least living only 1/2 mile from work I don't have a long commute, don't worry too much about gas prices, and am home in less than five minutes.

May 27, 04 5:39 pm

I walk. 7 minutes if I average all the red lights in my favor.

May 28, 04 6:19 pm

I worked in an office that did have a shower - specifically for the people who biked or jogged to work, and when they eventually moved to another place they put a shower in the new office too. I also interviewed at a firm that had an indoor track, weight room and showers. Some employees spent their lunch hours running around the track - like hamsters. I'm not sure I would feel comfortable working out with my coworkers, but the shower idea is good.

May 29, 04 12:38 am

Well it rained pretty hard yesterday so I drove in anyway…

I like Frit’s idea of leaving the car Thursday night and driving it home Friday and I may keep that as a backup plan. If it rains… I’ll have to endure the wrath of my wife as I wake her up early to drive me to work… she gets to work from home so I really won’t feel too bad…

My feeling at this point is that it is only a single day a week that I would have this conflict but that the simple act of riding into work would make my life much better which outweighs the negatives (to me).

I timed it the other day (it was national ride your bike to work day – I had to) and if I take the shortest route and ride fast I can be home from the office in about 5min and with a quick clean up and change of cloths at home I could be on the road in another 10 which seems more than reasonable considering the extra effort I put in and have put in here over the last 7 years (I’m in the office at 7am and head home between 5 and 6 every day).

The skateboard makes it a bit harder but a main road between home and office that would be half the ride is closed down and the second half would be on a bike path that goes right past the back door of the office meaning no traffic – an opportunity that I can’t pass on.

May 29, 04 9:01 am

I bicycle, two blocks.

May 29, 04 9:44 am

I walk downstairs to the home office currently. Formerly, drove 26 miles to the downtown office. Some days now I work in a client's office, about a 50 mile drive each way. Sucks with gas costs what they are, but it means income, so I do it.

May 31, 04 2:29 pm
Rob Chant

Walk, cycle, ride, whatever, and get the rest of your office to do likewise! Car culture has already killed society, and it's well on the way to killing the planet.

May 31, 04 5:10 pm

Am I the only person here who sits on a highway for 45 minutes each way?

May 31, 04 5:30 pm

What's wrong with skateboards? You can make the same argument as bicyclists. You are an environmentalist and you like exercise. OK!

May 31, 04 5:54 pm

Study: Driving longer means larger waistlines

(I love how CNN is watchful to not offend readers with words like 'fat', but the url ends with "fat.drivers.ap." That says a lot.)

May 31, 04 7:13 pm

Is everyone also getting the targeted advertising when they open this link (i.e. Atkins ((Real Men Don't Diet. They Atkins)))?

May 31, 04 7:14 pm
Rob Chant

There are plenty of other sources for that story if CNN offends :) Just check Google News...

May 31, 04 7:23 pm

i walk to a bus stop, get a bus to the train station and get a train to somewhere close to my work, then I walk again. About an hour commute each way.

Jun 1, 04 3:15 am

I wake up, walk 20 paces, sit down. Several hours later I stand up, walk 20 paces, and go to bed.

Jun 1, 04 4:54 am

Dave Rizzolo- do you have any friends (or interns) in the office whose car you can borrow to get to a job site if needed on a 'bike day'?

Jun 1, 04 10:06 am

I could grab the principal’s car in an emergency but would rather avoid that.

Right now I’m planning on riding in on Fridays through the summer weather permitting. I am working on setting up fixed meeting times for construction observation meetings for the jobs I’m running on Mondays and Wednesdays to head off some of the obvious issues.

Jun 1, 04 11:13 am

it was a 3 block walk or bike..
but in a couple of weeks it'll be a 20 min. drive, hope my new job is worth it!

Jun 1, 04 12:11 pm

Lexi, you know when you were telling us the pros and cons of your job choices you didn't mention that. It starts to make the 10k difference look a lot slimmer. Even assuming that you have no parking expenses, a 40 minute roundtrip commute 5 days per week for 40 weeks per year with a car of average age with average efficiency will cost you approximately 4k per year in gas and car maintenance. Not to mention that if you mention to your insurance carrier that your car is now being used to drive to work your rates will probably increase.

Jun 1, 04 12:18 pm
Devil Dog


how did you come up with that 4k figure? by my calculations, that's incredibly generous. i figured it would cost between 1.4k- 2k per year.

Jun 1, 04 3:22 pm

Devil Dog: the IRS currently uses a figure of 37.5 cents per mile for average operating costs and wear-and-tear on vehicles. That number was established in mid 2003 and doesn't reflect recent sharp increases in gas prices - so I rounded up to 40 cents per mile.
40 miles per work day x $0.40 per mile x 5 work days per week x 50 weeks (assuming 2 weeks of vacation annually) = $4000 per year.
If I use the 37.5 cents per mile then that is still $3700.

Jun 1, 04 3:46 pm

"The standard mileage rates for business, medical and moving purposes are based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. "

There's also the issue of insurance. I told my insurance company that I now use my car sporadically for business. I estimated this usage to be less than 1000 miles per year (!) and my insurance still rose immediately by nearly 20%. The firm is currently reimbursing me for the difference.

Jun 1, 04 3:53 pm

on mapquest it's actually 10.2 miles.... 20 minutes is in the worst case senario in heavy traffic.

even besides the salary increase, this new job may still be a better career choice for now, until better design opportunities arise. (better 3d software and computers, profit sharing, 401k matched, more vacation, more job security, ARE exams)

Jun 1, 04 3:57 pm

but yes, Ormalu... it seems silly but the commute WAS one of my main concerns.
I've been walking, biking, or driving VERY short distance (under 2 miles) since I've been working (5 years).

..but it's too late now! ;)

Jun 1, 04 4:01 pm

lexi: I didn't mean to imply that your choice was a bad one - only that you're adding certain commuting costs that weren't apparent in the other thread. Most of the things you list seem like good reasons for a change. And in any case a variety of experiences rarely hurts a career.
Of the things you list I'd be most wary of the profit sharing issue. Do you know how profit sharing is structured and what the average amount received by people in your job description is? It is usually difficult to get that info. But most profit sharing plans are based on the firm having to contribute to employees based on a certain maximum percentage of their salaries - sometimes capped at something like 3% or 5% for the year. Others are governed by laws about matching the percentage of salary that the employer put into his own account. The latter sounds good - but rather than contribut much at all to the plan the partners sometimes avoid the issue by bonusing themselves or raising their own salaries BEFORE they make the annual contributions... Other systems are based on the employee actually bringing in clients and "profit sharing" on those particular projects. I wouldn't make any concrete financial decisions based on profit sharing unless you know for sure what the deal is.
Sorry for the lecture, but I still remember getting a whopping $432 in a profit sharing account at the end of what was repeatedly described as a "record year."

Jun 1, 04 4:15 pm
Devil Dog


thanks for the info. i guess that's a reasonable though expensive justification of the costs. here are my figures, though backed by much less scientific data than your figures:

40 minute commute could equal 40 miles (round trip) x 5 days a week x 50 weeks a year = 10,000 miles per year.

10,000 miles / 15 mpg (conservative estimate)= 667 gallons of gas

667 gals x $2.50 per gallon = $1,667.50 per year

your 4k figure is a good place holder, but realistically gas, oil changes, tires and other misc. maintenance would be between $2,500 and $3,000 per year.

of course all of this data is now divided in half given lexi's recent input on commute time.

your point is well taken though. a commute cannot be neglected in weighing the advantages and disadvantages of changing jobs. my commute time was weighed heavily when i bought my house.

Jun 1, 04 4:16 pm

If gas is $1667.50 per year then your numbers would leave about $1300 at best for everything else. I don't spend much on oil changes and tires - because as discussed elsewhere in this discussion I have a very, very short commute - but they still add up. But - perhaps partly because of the damage to a car that this inefficient start-and-stop driving reportedly does - I've had years with more than $1300 worth of maintenance. This also may be partly due to snowy climate and the accompanying road salt. Wow there are so many factors to consider...

Jun 1, 04 5:01 pm

I drive the 3 mile commute unfortunately...i would walk although people don't believe me...but i have too many meetings outside the office to not have the convinience of the car in the parking garage...

Jun 1, 04 5:24 pm

in my city there´s a mode of transport calles TRUFI, it is a cab like system where they fit 5 passengers + the driver into mostly toyota corollas and camrys, on a not so outrageous day, it takes 20 minutes to get to work, the fare is 50 cents of USD.

Regretably it is all Uphill, the height difference between my house and the place i work in, is probably 300 meters in a 6 km distance all over hills. so it is incredibly hard to get up there in a cycle or a skate. the way down it is too steep and dangerous to cycle anyway.

Jun 1, 04 5:41 pm
Rob Chant

Sounds like an excellent plan, those TRUFI. I've heard of them before, in various parts of the world.

I walk pretty much everywhere, as I'm lucky enough to live in a very walkable city. (well, not luck really, I choose to live here on purpose). I work from home, but even if I didn't, any place where I'd work would only be a short walk or bus ride away. Shops, cinema, parks, cafes, library, railway station - all 15-20mins of very pleasant walk away.

Everywhere should be designed like this - car culture just isn't sustainable (as the world is very rapidly finding out), and even if it was, it's hardly desirable. I must admit it's much easier for European and other old world town and cities, which have grown in an organic, jumbled way over long periods of time, but new developments can and should at least give the option of non-motorised living :)

Jun 1, 04 6:34 pm
Devil Dog

what are some of the office policies regarding traveling outside the office/ company cars/ using personal vehicles?

at my office, i was quite surprised to learn that the office policy actually forbids the employees from using their own vehicle, citing issues with personal car insurance and as mentioned earlier, the adjusted insurance rates.

the principals have company cars, though they get to pick them (within reason of course). employees get to drive those cars during day time meetings. there are 5 to choose from. if traveling occurs outside the 7-5 business day, then we rent a car charging it to the project (as a reimburable to the client).

just curious since this is a much mentioned topic regarding cars/ living proximity to the office.

Jun 1, 04 7:24 pm

this is pretty similar to my office, only we are allowed to take our own cars if the company cars are all being used.

...but when it comes to getting there? I tow all of my wordly possessions in a u-haul trailer with my 1986 Lincoln Continental while eating dozens of McDonald's hashbrowns and chugging a 60 diet coke...and i pass the time by talking on my cell phone...

Jun 1, 04 8:14 pm
David Cuthbert

Doesn't you office have a company car for just such an emergency

I tried to ride into work, my boss don't even think of it (I'm like #4 in office) he said it gives off mixed signals and doesn't cut that you are "team"

Jun 3, 04 2:52 pm

Iwould say you can get to work however you like, as long as you can report for duty on time. If they are calling you to come in short notice then if they have to wait they will have to wait. Unless they would be willing to “help you out” and give you a company car so you would not have to skateboard. or tell them you have to skateboard on those days because your car is not available and to expect more notice or leeway on those days. And then tell them that the rest of the company should think about doing the same. 

Feb 23, 20 12:50 pm
Non Sequitur

What's with the skateboard theme stuff? Also, necro thread from 2004? Record?


the "crazy train" Bart

Feb 23, 20 9:49 pm

Do it, would look so cool

Feb 24, 20 12:16 am

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