The Sweet Spot: Riding to Work

By Lek Kadeli

There are times in life when everything seems to align. When you know you are in the right place at the right time, doing something that is at once productive and satisfying. I’ve found a regular activity that fits the bill: bicycle commuting.

I began making the switch to two-wheeled commuting over time. At first I was primarily looking for a way to build a bit more physical activity into my weekly routine. I began leaving the car at home from time to time in favor of riding. It turned out to be an easy transition.

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At eleven-and-a-half miles, the distance between my home in Falls Church, Virginia and EPA’s headquarter offices in Washington, D.C., is an ideal length for riding: not too time-consuming, but long enough to feel like I’ve gotten some exercise. Even more encouraging is that the majority of the route is along the Martha Custis trail, a paved and well-maintained bike path.

Over the years I found myself driving less and less. So much so that I’ve now completely given it up—along with the expensive downtown parking spot. When I don’t ride I take the metro, which is the only place I catch myself longing for those warm spring evenings when I would enjoy the occasional cigar as I drove home with the top down in my convertible. But I don’t even miss those commutes when traveling under my own power. Alone with my thoughts as the pavement scrolls by under my wheels, it’s just the perfect symmetry to begin and end the work day.

This coming Friday (May 16th) is Bike to Work Day. The event is designed to encourage anyone who has ever considered bicycle commuting to make the transition from thinking about it to actually pedaling in to work. To join in on the fun, you can join one of several organized groups of “commuter convoys.” Lead by seasoned bike commuters, routes are strategically placed to cover the entire Washington D.C. metro area. They provide plenty of support and companionship along the ride to one of 79 area pit stops featuring refreshments and other fun ways to explore and celebrate a clean, healthy way of commuting.

I hope to see many of you along the Custis trail or at the big celebration on Freedom Plaza just across from EPA’s headquarters this Friday. Like me, you might just get hooked.

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