Monday, June 2, 2008

Multi-Modal Commute Madness

My wife and I spend most weekends in Healdsburg, at a place we rent out to vacationers. We're just ramping up so vacancies mean nice weekends for ourselves. Usually we just stay up Sunday night, and in order to let my wife sleep to a decent hour, I ride out the door at 5 AM to start a commute to Mountain View.

Sonoma County bys #60 picks me up at the end of Limerick Lane at 5:10 AM, headed for downtown Santa Rosa. It has 3 bike racks. The 5 AM bus is definitely a thing populated by regulars. 2 guys from Healdsburg who have their bikes and must work construction somewhere off Shiloh Rd in Windsor. They look the type to be driving a pickup, not a hardtail MTB with panniers, but there they are, toolbelts and all. More likely a couple of DUI's than a couple of tree-huggers, but I won't look askance at anyone in the army. An older Asian woman who rides from Windsor to Santa Rosa, and transfers to Sonoma to volunteer at the hospital. My next door neighbor who I pass as she walks to the bus stop, flashlight on, on her 2 bus route to work in Sebastopol. Last week, a wrinkle - another cyclist! Third rack filled, I had to strap my bike in the wheelchair slot - at least SC transit allows this. This morning I chose to ride 25 minutes to Shiloh Road and board where the construction guys get off - of course one of them wasn't working today.

In Santa Rosa, it's GG Transit #72, a plush bus with room for 2 bikes in a sliding bike rack in the luggage bay. Luckily I've never been bumped - yet. This bus winds through SR, Rohnert Park, and Cotati, then expresses to the GG Bridge. I usually get off at Embarcadero and Bay, avoiding downtown SF's slowdown on the bus. Today, the locking luggage bay refused to *unlock*. I reboarded and said "I'll ride with you to the yard and we'll figure it out". After the last passenger got off at 2nd and Mission he said "let's try it here". We banged on it and finally dislodged my bike.

A sketchy ride down 4th St to Caltrain, where I waited in a huge line to buy my June Pass. The full up 8:44 bus to Sunnyvale. A 3 mile cruise to AMD. 5 hours! Ugh.

Normally this commute is 4 hours - traffic was awful in Sonoma and Marin today, and the luggage bay fiasco cost me 30 minutes in the end. We really need the SMART rail to pass, a bus isn't driving, but it still gets stuck in traffic. Not a big deal either way, I get a good nap on the way to SF, and breakfast and a paper await me for the Caltrain. And I was on my bike for 45 minutes. Beats the hell out of being in the cage.

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