Let’s hear about our commutes!
You can tell as much or as little as you want. I would like to see how long it is (distance and time), how long you have been doing that one (or others). How often per week, what are your bike security options, and do you have or feel you need a shower. Anything you want to say would be fine!
We can all learn from each other or be inspired.
I am a part time bike commuter (average 3 days a week in the spring-fall, not much of a winter commuter). My ride is 8-9 miles each way, depending on the route I take. It consists of about 2 miles of gradual uphill, two miles of relative flat, and about 3 miles of downhill (then flat as I cross into town from the North Side.) Door to desk, it takes me about 50 minutes, which includes securing my bike at the Bike Center on 7th, a really quick change of clothes and a three block walk to the office. The bus is usually less than 10 minutes faster (they get an express route for half the trip). My most frustrating area is through the North Shore and into town. Lots of zig zagging means lots of lights.
I have access to a shower at a Y (at which I am a member) less than a block from my office. I have NEVER used it to clean up between dropping off my bike and entering my office. An air dry and a quick swipe with baby wipes works well for me.
I don’t know that I will ever be a full time bike commuter. The nature of my job (night meetings, etc) and my other obligations (volunteer work, classes in the North Hills, etc) mean that there are some days when I just can’t do it. And, I don’t like riding home alone, at night. As I’ve mentioned here previously, the Chateau Trail creeps me out, so I usually take a road route through the North Side, into Brighton Heights, and then into Bellevue and beyond. I’ve never had a bad interaction, but I sometimes FEEL like a potential target because I am alone, and because I ride REALLY slowly — especially up hills.
The biggest improvement in bike commuting for me has been the Bike Center on 7th Street. No more worrying about my bike while in the office, etc. Well worth the $100 annual lease fee, at least for me. But, I miss my old “friends” in the portico of the garage on Sixth and Smithfield. That’s my other “go to” place for bike parking downtown.
Before moving to Pittsburgh I was a virtual full time bike commuter in Wisconsin. At least if the roads were clear. But, that was in my younger days. Much younger….!
Even though I rode the heck out of a few bikes when I was a kid, I never rode to school. As an undergrad, I was either on or adjacent to campus, so just walked.
First commuter was post undergrad- maybe 3 miles, or 15 -20 minutes, but just for a year.
One year in Grad school- same distance and time. A few years later, working two part time jobs (one wrenching in a local bike shop) rode a mile one way for the morning, then 4 miles out to the local HS to coach in the afternoon. Did this for 7 years, with some of that time not at the shop but teaching in the local maental institution, so I did have to wear decent clothes for the first time.
For the next 6 years commuted by my first car 30 minutes for a small college coaching postion.
Four years Squirrel Hill to Pitt coaching again- took my bike into the building and parked it in my office on an upper floor in the old stadium.
One year part time mornings in Oakland, coaching afternoons at Point Park.
For the past 10 years it’s been Squirrel Hill to North shore- I guess 7 miles. I can get to work in around 30 minutes, home takes longer from the up hill finish. I have a shower at work, but don’t use it. I change into work clothes, which is shorts and a t-shirt. I do keep a change of clothes in my office, which most importantly includes dry shoes and socks.
Ride in pretty much any conditions- have occasionally driven because of condtions, but have ridden in some weather extremes. Snow up to 5 or 6 inches is not a problem, although I rode the day after snowmageddon last winter. Coldest has been around zero. A few dangerously icy days, but it was safer than driving. Keep my bike in the bottom of a secured stairwell inside.
I feel badly (like I let myself down) when I have to drive, but someitmes it hapees due to illness or post work engagements. Evening meetings when riding home in the dark is just like leaving at 5:00 in December and January.
I like being fully aware of the daily weather conditions and seasons. I take pride in moving myself across the face of the earth under my own power. I like to see my reflection below me in a thin sheen of rain on the pavement, or my shadows from the streetlights passing me, disappearing, replaced immediatley by another.
My commute is from morningside to federal st on the north side. It is somewhere around 7 miles. I take baker down the side opposite of the zoo entrance to butler, Penn, 16st bridge sidewalk, east ohio, around the circle to fed street. Not a lot of traffic at 6am. At 6:30am, it is a different story.
For my ride home, I take fed down to the north shore, across the fort duquesne bridge(?) to the point, commonwealth, blvd of the allies to the jail trail. From there I usually come up panther hollow and take Ellsworth to alder (?) to highland back to morningside via. Hampton. Sometimes I will ride around a bit in the east end, but i try to get at least 20-30 miles in when i commute.
I do have offices in bethel and Monroeville. I haven’t done the treck to Monroeville yet, but due to time constraints, I cannot ride out to bethel.
There is a shower in the bathroom/locker room in the OR suite at AGH, but I haven’t used it because the people in charge have been telling me for 4 years that they would give me a locker but haven’t yet. Frustrating. I do have a locker at the office on federal but no shower. I usually freshen up with some damp paper towels.
There is a bike rack that is decent outside of the federal street office but it is right in plain sight of loiters that are usually found outside of the beer distributor. So i take my bike into the parking garage and lock it up where the security guards can see it along a very heavy duty fence. The above mentioned bike racks are also right in the middle of the area designated to smokers. There is a receptacle for butts right up against said bike rack. A guy who also commutes via bike has told me that he has been bugging the building manager and the parking garage management for a while about getting more secure bike parking but nothing has happened.
I have been commuting regularly since the fall. Finally got a cross bike with a rack and panniers so that I don’t have to have a sweaty back from a messenger bag anymore.
oh and it takes me about 30-35 minutes to get to work, and it depends on how tired i am at the end of the day to get home. maybe an hour?
My office just moved into town from the Carnegie area last Feb., ’10, that’s when I seriously started to attempt this.
From Robinson, 9 1/2 mi/45 min. inbound, 13 mi./1h 15 min. outbound. Last year did it 6 or so times between May and November, and toward the end of the year developed a really satifactory route. My goal this year is once a week min.
Dress at work is usually pretty casual, so I’ve adopted wearing wicking type golf shirts and comfy pants. My only concession to riding-specific gear is shoes, I have some Shimano SPD shoes that pass as casual, and some sandals, and I keep some clog type things in the office. Bombing in, I usually don’t sweat up too much, so I haven’t needed a shower. Once it gets hot, though, I’ll probably adjust the routine.
A little bad weather doesn’t bother me, but in really crappy weather, the bus is just too much easier and more pleasant, at least for getting to work. For recreational rides, I’ll ride through anything. I want to ride to enjoy it, I’ve done enough masochistic things in my time, I don’t need to prove anything now.
The real clincher for when I ride or not is Daylight Saving time, I have no desire to be riding home out in the ‘burbs after dark.
Edgewood to Mt Washington, I shoot for 3x a week but lately its been once or twice. My excuse: I’m concentrating on running over cycling right now since I’m doing the Couch 2 5K program. So if I’m sore due to running, I take a cycling day off so I don’t get off program. Also, I have a cooking class thurs evenings that ends very late.
No shower facilities at work, I get by w/ a clothing change and toiletries stored in my office.
I take Forbes to Wightman, then down across Greenfield Rd then down to the Jail Trail. Then across hot metal to and down the SS trail as far as 9th Street.
Once I get there, I head up to the 10th street stairs and lug my bike across the ped bridge. That gets me on the other side of the PJ McArdle bridge. Then up PJM. (There are other ways, but that’s my typical way right now. Soon I’ll switch to going up Arlington or 18th -> Arlington -> Warrington -> Belthzhoover)
On the way back I go down Sycamore to Arlington and right E carson to meander my way back to the trail. Then over to the jail trail, through panther hollow, up Neville to Elsworth. Then I wander around Shadyside until I join back up with 5th away from the CMU traffic. Then 5th->Penn->Pennwood-> home.
Started last year when I took my new job…which was partially taken so I could commute by bike. (Previously I worked from home.) Commuted about 1/week over the winter when I felt comfortable with the road conditions, but due to lack of equipment I didn’t commute if it was below 10F in the morning.
Oh, and total distance is about 24mile total… I think its 11 one way and 13 the other or something like that.
Mt. Washington to downtown. I think it’s 3 miles (6 round trip)? In the morning I’ll bomb down Sycamore to Arlington then left on to East Carson and cross the Smithfield St. Bridge. I lock my bike up at a rack in my building’s garage.
I belong to Gold’s Gym in Market Square with access to showers and towel service. I have never had to used it before work, but a few days a week I’ll go workout at the gym before I go home.
When I ride home I’ll carry my bike up the steps at 2nd Ave. and Ross St. This takes me to a sidewalk on the Blvd of the Allies and then I’ll cross the Liberty Bridge and then up Mcardle Rd!
My son usually wakes me up around 8a. We walk downstairs, he gets comfy on the couch to watch TV and I go make an espresso in the kitchen and then join him. We do it like 5 days a week, probably takes around 30 seconds. The bikes are up against the kitchen wall guarded by our shepherd so I’m not real worried about them.
You can make an espresso in 30 seconds? That’s awesome. I almost which I could, but that would probably just permit me to drink more of it.
South Oakland to Squirrel Hill. About 3 miles: Boulevard of the Allies > Panther Hollow rd > Hobart > Beacon > Murray > Forbes. Coming home, I usually take Forbes then down whatever road that is that goes through the golf course and comes out by Phipps; it’s a more fun downhill. My best time for getting there is 10 minutes, usually around 5 in the morning and on a calm, cool day.
My commute to school is so short I don’t even consider it a commute.
I didn’t wanna be pedantic in the middle of a joke. Machine takes 10 mins to heat up and then another 3 or so to make the drink.
East End Ave to Penn Circle South in East Liberty (about 3 miles in 20 minutes)
I go from East End, cross Braddock, get on Richland Ln, go through the little trail behind Shadyside Academy onto Ben Hur St. Take Reynolds to 5th, go through the North East Passage to Social Way/Marchland St/Alder St. to Highland Ave and my office is right across the railroad tracks once you get into East Liberty.
I used to go down Thomas Blvd and get on Penn and go by Trader Joe’s n@, but looking back, that was suicidal.
Since I started bike commuting last April I’ve averaged about 3 days/week.
I’ve been an avid mountain biker since I was 13. But I have never ridden a bike in the snow until this winter. Commuting in the snow made me realize how much fun riding in the snow is. No studs – I fell a couple of times but luckily didn’t get hurt. Next winter I’m trying studs.
I’m able to park my bike in the basement of my office.
No shower in the office. I don’t really think I need one, but my co-workers might disagree. Baby wipes are great.
I keep my shoes under my desk so I don’t have to carry them back and forth.
I think the biggest realization that I’ve had from commuting are that fenders are f’n awesome!
My commute is 7-8 miles each way, depending on the route. Sq Hill is between my house & my downtown office so I have to go up or around it in some fashion. No shower at work. I pack a change of clothes and keep toiletries & misc to freshen up w/ at work. I am allowed to bring my bike into my locked office. I usually bike in 3x week and work from home the other days. Lately, I do more than half my grocery shopping by bike.
 takes me just under an hour inbound and just over an hour outbound. I start the day with a small pot of French Press coffee, which takes about 4 minutes to make
I also do french press… but not till I’m at the office.
Takes me about a little over an hour in and usually about 50 min back.
Oh, and my building lets me keep my bike in their all purpose room unless its being used… when it is, I stash it in a storage closet.
I see I left out an important element.
I drink a cup of instant Folgers at home, and sometimes make a small jar of a mix of caf and decaf instant to drink at work.
@mayhew: Your commute is the very definition of quality over quantity. Color me green with envy…
@roadkillen, depending on where on E End you are, you can cross Braddock, take Kensington & cut through the park on the Hawthorne Trail. That puts you onto Ben Hur by the bowling lawn. I know the path behind the school you take & I have a hard time getting my bike over the tree ruts without dismounting. (Maybe you’re a better stump hopper than I?)
I have three different commutes.
1) all car: 37 miles (1.3 hours) one way, minimum. most. horrid. commute. ever. required when I have to work late, which is more and more often.
2) drive to shuttle (8-10 miles), then shuttle (40 miles), total 1.5 hours one way. Most frequent commute, not bad, but no bike.
3) bike to shuttle (8-10 miles (all but 2 are hills, Verona-ish to far end of Monroeville through Penn Hills and Plum, route depending, takes at least one hour), then shuttle (40 miles), one way total is 2 hours (plus 30 min for required shower/change in the AM). This commute feels best, but commuting for at least 4.5 hours is painful on top of a 9-12 hour day.
I cannot maintain sanity and commute by bike, even just to the shuttle (will try whole route to Cranberry at end of summer). Last year I tried, and it about destroyed me. This year, I’m not pushing myself so hard. Maybe 2 or 3x a week or so, can’t do more. Winter and work travel broke the habit I haven’t been able to get back into.
Since I both live and work in the wrong place, I accept this now as a temporary yet necessary evil as I get ready for the Big Move. In the mean time, I bike everywhere else that I can (store, errands, fun, friends, family, etc) because it’s fun and just feels good.
Oh, bike security isn’t an issue for me, nobody who is around where I ride to actually remembers what bikes are for, much less has any interest in stealing them. I once just propped up the shiny new bike against the rack, returned 12 hours later to find it the same (yeah, never did that again). At home, locked in garage and guarded by Attack Cat From Hell, very safe.
My many bizarre commutes have been well documented over the years, but here’s a refresher. I’m out of work at the moment, so am hoping for something bikable on the next gig. Starting location: Near Perry and Perrymont in McCandless Twp, 10 miles north of the point.
Destination: Technology Drive off Second Ave (2009 job): Perry Hwy into West View, steps and trail through the woods cutting off Horseshoe Curve, then Perry and Perrysville to Federal, 6SB, Market, 5Av, WmPenn/Cherry Way, 4Av, Grant, Jail Trail to Tech Drive. About 70 minutes.
Destination: FedEx Ground HQ in Moon (2010): Perry into WView, Center into Bellevue, Calif to Termon to McKees Rocks Bridge, to Stowe Tunnel, Broadway, Pine Hollow, Fairhaven, Clever, Montour Trail, Hookstown Grade Road, into FedEx lot. About 110 minutes.
Destination: Oakland: Old trolley line (abandoned ~1930), jump one stream, to Babcock Blvd, through Millvale, 40SB, 40th Street, Liberty, Bloomfield Bridge, Bigelow or Craig depending on actual destination. About 55 minutes.
Return trip often includes hopping on an outbound bus. It’s uphill, often dark, and I’m often trying to get work done from meetings. The 12 McKnight bus can get me from Liberty & 7th Street to my house in 50 minutes, with help from the bike.
Oakland to Mercy Hospital. Blvd of the Allies and Fifth or Forbes, depending on direction.
B of A tends to be a bit ugly, but the rest is fine.
Bike is my major form of transportation and I do not own a car.
No special clothes nor shower needed.
Missed one day in the winter due to weather.
Bike 5 min uphill to bus stop.
Catch 41 bus to dahntahn.
Bail out after we cross Smithfield St bridge (sometimes earlier.)
Bike up Smithfield to the P1 stop at 6th.
(Beat the 41 there by 5 minutes.)
Get off P1 at East Liberty.
Bike 5 min level ground to Google.
Fort Knox-like security (well I use a NY kryptonite too because it is stupid how much my folder cost and how long it would take to rebuild. I routinely lie in those smalltalk “how much” chats with nonbiking strangers so their heads don’t explode .). Showers available and employer has my back in folder disputes with PAT; 2 thumbs up.
Somewhat longer route coming home in good weather.
My mornings – I (typically) wake up at 3:30-4, leave between 4:45-5:10, and head into town from bloomfield. Liberty, 31st, penn, all the way market square. Pretty straightforward…
I love my early morning commute, because now that I don’t live on the southside anymore, it’s peaceful, and there’s very little traffic (car or foot) to deal with. Plus, a lot of things are just nicer to look at at night time.
Commute home is pretty much that but backward, and then I usually walk up liberty. Once in a very great while, I’ll feel up to climbing liberty, but I usually just walk it.
Sliberty to the Strip, 3.25 mi. each way. 5 days a week. Negley, Penn, Friendship, Liberty. 15 mins inbound, but have made it in as little as 11 when dropping the hammer & catching greens. Outbound is 18 mins usually, a few times in 14. Haven’t taken a bus in over a year. This winter had a snow bike for crappy weather. Have been a regular commuter for 8 years or so.
Some days I take the long way… loop around Highland park a few times, head to the jail trail, etc. Some nights I’ll take Butler to Stanton to get in a climb.
Office is bike friendly. We have a shower. Most days there are 4 or 5 bikes stashed here & there in the office.
My commute is only 2 mi each way; I can’t help it if I’m lucky. It’s mostly wilkins and beechwood – depending on the lights it’s about 7 min in the am and 10 on the way home. When I got back into biking a couple years ago I did 14mi with some big hills each way once a week and got that down to 52min by the end of the summer. Now, I ride my bike basically everywhere I go, year round.
I park my bike in the same place as sprite, which in indoors and in a locked room – it’s very nice. Have a shower but don’t really need it since it’s downhill on the way there, and short and all.
From Greenfield to Oakland. I have a 2.3 mile ride down a hill, up a bit of Greenfield Ave, over to the bridge, up another hill into the park on Greenfield Rd, up another little hill at Panther Hollow, then down, down, down over to Schenley drive, past Phipps and over to my bike locker near Pitt’s David Lawrence Hall. If I’m motivated I can do this in about 10-11 minutes. I strip off whatever gloves/hats I need to cool down, change my shoes, and walk 0.4-0.5 miles to get to the building I work in, often stopping for coffee along the way. This takes longer than my bike ride. If I have somewhere to be right after work or over lunch, I’ll just lock in front of my building. This can take a few minutes off my commute if traffic signals are in my favor and there is actually an open space to lock to.
My way home is about the same procedure without the coffee break, and sometimes I go up and over Overlook Dr. From my desk to my house, it is usually a half hour.
I tried to do this everyday this whole year. Studded tires helped in the winter. I made it all but a half dozen times. There were a few days this winter where I was at work until 2 am or something crazy and couldn’t fathom riding home. I also was recovering from the flu at one point, and decided biking wasn’t the best idea.
Ride up my street to friendship ave.
Turn right on graham. Park my bike at
Graham and Baum. About 6 mins going really
really slow. .
My commute is only 2 mi each way; I can’t help it if I’m lucky.
I’m not sure I understand this ‘lucky’ of which you speak.
I commute 12.5 miles each way from Squirrel Hill to Monroeville. I shower on the way to work. On the way there I go Wilkinsburg, Penn Hills, Churchill, then up Old William Penn. On the way back I see Wall, Wilmerding, Turtle Creek, Chalfant, Forest Hills, and Wilkinsburg again. It is quite a tour.
I use a cable lock and don’t worry much about security since the building is somewhat isolated.
My commute is from Whitehall to downtown Pittsburgh, which is exactly 8 miles. I usually ride in on Brownsville Road, which is pretty safe. For about two years I rode about 4 days a week. Now for a litany of reasons I’m down to 2-3, but I’m hoping to get back to 3-4 days this summer. When they finish that water line project at Becks Run Road and the trail through Sandcastle I’ll go back to using that route from time to time. I’m pretty fortunate since my office has a mini-gym with showers, and I can lock up my bike in the parking garage downstairs. Riding to work as often as I can has been one of the best changes I’ve made in my life.
I commute Sq Hill-Oakland every day in (almost) all weather, about 25 min each way. Don’t need to shower from that, bike parking behind the building. Don’t wear special biking clothes.
I enjoyed biking this winter since it meant I was out in the open air for at least 50 min every day, it made a big difference. Truly, as long as you’re dressed right the cold doesn’t make a big difference until you get into the teens. I can’t stand to drive to work and meetings anymore, it seems so claustrophobic.
In the summers I bike Sq Hill to Downtown several times a week too. As others have said, getting there is no problem, coming back up the hill is a major pain.
I had been using mostly Schenley Park and the trails to get around, but was finally convinced to go through Greenfield on the way down and it is a LOT faster. I’ll probably be using that way more.
I commute from Garfield to South Side via Ellsworth/5th/Birmingham Bridge, about 4.5 miles at 16 – 18 minutes.
My building has a loading dock where they have a couple of bike racks set up…it gets used a TON. It’s pretty safe, the door stays open often in the warmer weather, but the maintenance guys seem to keep an eye out.
No shower, but since the commute is downhill I just freshen up in the restroom. Baby powder is the awesome. I keep a change of clothes at work, have a coat rack to hang my commuting clothes…and Febreeze! Luckily my company is really casual.
Commute home I usually go via Hot Metal Bridge and Panther Hollow. About 5.5 miles at 30 minutes. If the trail condition sucks, or if it’s dark and I don’t have my headlamp, I go up the sidewalk on 5th and cut over to Forbes via Craft. I take the left-most lane the whole way.
I try to commute year-round, but since I do some community theatre in Carnegie, I’ve found I had to drive a good bit in the fall/spring, which has cut down my motivation to keep up the riding. Lately I’ve been training for the MS century option, so I’ve been riding pretty much every day, including longer training rides on the weekend.
When I’m not riding I try to take the bus, but sometimes I drive if I need to get somewhere fairly quickly after work.
oh, and on Wednesdays in May through October, I assist with a kayak trip that meets at 6:00 in the morning. Here I go all the way down Penn (fairly quiet at 5:30), go across the 6th street bridge…do the trip, then cut back through town via Market Square, stop for a Mancini Pepperoni Roll and some Nicholas Coffee, go across the Smithfield Street Bridge, cut to McKean and Bingham and Wharton to my workplace. Can’t think of a better way to start the day, even though it’s freakin’ early!
i used to work in bloomfield for six years. i started out on the bike during the first year, heading from squirrel hill the first year, then from shadyside during the subsequent years. i was allowed to bring my bike in with me. it was such a boon; i don’t know why i didn’t ride around during college.
then i had two years of mayhew’s commute.
since october, my ride has been from friendship to cmu. about two miles each way. i ride rain or shine or even 6 degrees with thick snow. i have occasionally been known to walk, but other than that, the bike is my only form of transportation, so it’s ride in or don’t go to work.
i do not drink coffee. but i do have tea on occasion, when i have time to make it properly.
@gimppac: I suspect we’re rack-mates. Birmingham Towers? I’m usually on the beat-up Bianchi at the left end of the racks.
I ride from Glenshaw to Cheswick (it clocks in at around 15+ miles each way). I started bike commuting for the season last week on the cold, wet, foggy day — so every day from here on out will just be a bonus! Maybe I’ll go through the winter this year, we’ll see.
My employer just upgraded the shower facilities for the factory, so I have it about as good as you can get in that regard. I get a big locker and a private shower — it’s great. More power to the folks who ride 20 min to work and don’t need a shower, but after an hour on Freeport Road, I need to scrub up for everyone’s sake.
Aside from the dick in the red Chevy pickup that seems to routinely buzz me on the way home in Blawnox (I truly hate that guy), I’ve got a great commute. Riding up/down Little Pine Creek Road every day is just the best.
Right now I have the easiest bike commute I have ever had: Upper Lawrenceville to the Strip District, near 28th and Penn. I snake through back-streets and parking lots, and end up on Penn at 34th street for the last couple blocks.
Distance: Two miles, pretty much flat.
Time it takes: About 13 or so minutes. I do this every day, expect every once in a while I walk if I feel inspired.
How long? I’ve been doing this commute for about a year – previously I commuted from Bloomfield, and before that I commuted from Bloomfield to Oakland.
Bike security: I put my bike in the basement of my building – the basement has an outside door so it’s pretty quick and easy.
Shower? We have a shower, but I have never taken one.
I am very inspired by people who have 8+ mile commutes, but I am thankful for my short one at this point in my life. I would not be opposed to a longer commute in the future.
What is your route? I’m trying to find a reasonable way to commute from Cheswick > Oakland
@ericf — Cheswick to Oakland, I’d take Freeport Road to the Highland Park Bridge and then go up past the Zoo and then you’ve got a ton of options, depending on the time of day. There are better people on the board than me to comment on how to get through East Liberty and Shadyside, I just go down Highland and then make my way up Center or whatever route strikes me at the time.
The worst roads on my ride are inbound through Sharpsburg (an asphalt goat path with angry people going home from work), so I definitely recommend crossing at the HPB. I’m a baby — I take the sidewalk on the bridge.
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