BikeLife- Requesting your input

Dear Tarckbike,

I am asking for you for council on some bicycle lifestyle related matters. I am also just needing a place to sort this out, and thought this forum would be a good because I trust and respect all of your opinions on this matter.

I’m having a rough transition into WorkLife. Simply, I’m lonely as fuck.
I graduated at the end of summer and started a careerish full-time job immediately. Bikemute is 24 mile round trip and workday is about 8-10 hours. Bikemute takes about 2 hours of travel time give or take 30 minutes for my overall condition that day.
Generally, I leave the house at 8:15am and get home between 7 and 9pm. I make a quick meal in the morning and evening, and then relax for an hour or less before going to bed between 10-11pm. During those last two hours of the day are where I see my two roommates. These two are usually the only connection that I have come to find consistent.

Where I’m struggling:
WorkLife doesn’t have me engaged with too many people on a face to face level.
BikeMute has the potential for magnifying the isolation, it has also served as a healing solitude from a lonely day at work.

Here’s my Mindfuck:
I’m getting desperate to fix this. I need some real connection, a community and possibly more time in my week for taking care of other needs beyond work, travel, eating and sleeping. I daydream about my options, which reduces productivity at work, and I exhaust myself in process by weighing my options and hypothesizing.

The Options I currently see are for attempting to solve this are:

-HTFU and wait until clarity on the matter is more obvious. and in the meantime, seek connection with more people in the local cycling community. Start racing Cross on the weekends. This would require me to spend money on a CX bike, which would lock me into this path…

-Buy a car (…) This would enable me so much more than just working more and with more energy. I’d be able to go other places too and get away from the city more. It would also most likely will put me under the weight of needing to rearrange much of my budgeting for making sure payments are taken care of. Along with the liability of becoming lazy and disconnected from BikeLyfe. This would also help me build my photography business by having more flexibility to meet with clients.

-Fuck a car, Move to North Portland, closer to work. Initially, This will likely isolate me the most. I will be leaving my roommates, and going to a new neighborhood where I will have no support structure built up. This however, might be the step toward finding my next and healthier community, because I will be able to have more time to venture out and mingle.

-The ultimate gagglefuck would be a combo of all these, but Isn’t really an option, rather a tremendous daydream. I could probably swing it for a few months before the money runs out.

I’m trying to be mindful about this, and wish I could just set it down, relax and be ok with where I am.
Your thoughts?

Get a cheap car and use it as little as possible. I respect and admire those that can live car-free, but our society really isn’t setup for it.

Move closer to work.

I mean realistically if you’re working that much you’re not going to have much time to socialize anyway. Your friends can still come to you, or you can take a side trip to meet them after work, which can be nice.

Leaving for work in the dark and riding home in the dark during the winter sucks major ass.

Going through this currently. Working ~30 hours, live around 10 miles from school/work. Fulltime student. shit sucks

thought this was like solife but with my lyf


I’m at about an hour on the bike for my commute on the days I ride (taking care of 3 month old son in the afternoons means no riding 2 days a week).

To me that is ideal. It’s long enough to get the blood moving, but not so long that it feels like a horrible slog in the dead of winter when it’s 35 degrees, pitch dark, and dumping buckets of rain.

north portland.

this is how i was living until recently when i was working in sf and living in oakland.

sf would be like moving to a different world. having lived in portland and in north portland i can pretty safely say you won’t necessarily be entering a different world, just a place that’s closer to work where you can meet new people and have more time to hang out.

cheap crapbox car, also start cx racing or join a social riding club.

i moved to a new city and it is lonely as fcuk, so i started regularly going to races. sure, it doesn’t replace real meaningful friendships, but going out and socializing with a bunch of people focused on a common goal/activity certainly bridges the gap between it.

your post hit me deep though. Isolation is tough. You really get to know yourself in ways you didn’t think you would.

All of the above. Having a car can be nice, especially if you’re not dating/married to someone with a car (for when you get sick, big grocery runs, feeling utterly lazy), moving close to work is nice (life shouldn’t revolve around your job, but like it or not your job takes up a big part of your life. Make it as easy as possible), and racing is fun.

Win, win, win.

I like North Portland, but I also think in your situation getting a car would make sense- or carpooling. How many employees does your job have? Any chance anyone has your same schedule/lives anywhere near you?

When the weather starts getting bad, your commute will only become more tiresome. There will be days when you dread riding your bike. If you can drive on some of those days, I think you will like your bike more.

Commuting full time in the winter will make it hard for you to want to ride on the weekends. Some time off the bike should keep you motivated to ride for enjoyment, not just to get somewhere.

Definitely think you should race some 'cross races too though. They are a great social environment. Always people to talk to and hang out with before and after your races.
I’m pretty terrible at meeting new people and bike racing has become my primary/only social outlet (outside of my roommates) and so far i’m quite happy with this.

30 minutes in the car is aggravating, particularly if your job isn’t that great. I’d recommend moving. You say it will isolate you more, but isn’t Pr0tland full of community-loving hippies? (I don’t know if there’s a difference between Nr0th Pr0tland and Pr0tland Pr0per.) Are you socially awkward? Go to a few events, have a few conversations, make new friends.

Two hours seems like an excessive commute, particularly if you aren’t enjoying it. Fuck the revolution. Bicycling should be fun. What’s the bus system like out there? If you need a car, get one…but between insurance, registration and maintenance, they add up. I have a car that I try to use as little as possible. I was able to fill up once a month.

I had a friend who commuted between 1 and 2 hours every day and that was basically all he did. Commute, work, commute. He ended up leaving the city because he was so bored and had no friends. Don’t want to see you end up that way.

work part time.

this doesn’t necessarily pertain to your situation, but being alone can sometimes be a good thing. If you have the weekends off, use those to go and do things socially with people. CX bike is the first option I would go with. Everyone has posted great ideas, but in all reality, you need to decide what to do. Working is exactly that, it is work. Your commute should be your time to yourself. Listen to music, if it is not a super car filled commute. Use your free time at home to do something productive (arts/crafts, work on bike, write music, etc.), or shit, just have a beer. Look forward to your weekends and go out and do something fun, then go back to the daily drag of mon-fri

another way to look at it, is welcome to adult life, where everyday can’t be exactly like you want it


I had a similar deal going when I was student teaching. 12mi commute, teach from 7 to 3:30, ride 6mi to school and work or learn until 10pm, then ride the last 6mi home. It was hard, but at least i knew it would be over in 4 months.

Right now I am loving having a car. I would love to ride to school, but with the amount of stuff I carry, it isn’t possible. I actually enjoy my commute because I like listening to Morning Edition on NPR. It is a 30min drive through downtown, but the traffic usually isn’t bad. The best thing about it is that my commute time is a time when I don’t have to worry about all the other stuff I have to do. The only thing I can do is drive and listen to what I want to listen to. Of course, this would be a lot better on a bike.

As for other benefits of a car:

  1. Run errands more easily when you are tired or the weather is shitty.
  2. Gets you out of town. Before cross season started, the highlight of my week was driving to some trails north of town, riding my ass off for a few hours and getting back before noon. Wouldn’t have been possible without a car.
  3. You can choose to look like a non-bike freak every once in a while if you chose to.

If this was 8 years ago, I’d say move or get a better job. But with all the instability right now, I think it is better to make concessions in order to keep your job and your current support system.

I’ve seen this video before. It’s like a list of all my favorite things in life. Man, I miss solitude.

it is a good video, I liked it. and for someone like me, who it seems I’m always surrounded by people, gives a good outlet to doing something else.

one of my favorite lyrics from a song is “always alone, but never alone”

I’d move closer to work, or find work closer to where you now live. Two 30 minute car drives through rush hour traffic will probably be more aggravating than two one hour bike rides. I had a ~50-60min each way car commute for about 18mo and, combined with a job that wasn’t all that, resulted in me having one of the less enjoyable working experiences of my career so far. Having a sub 1mi bike commute to a job I love is, by comparison, paradise.

one of my favorite lyrics from a song is “always alone, but never alone”[/quote]

my favorite song lyric right now concerning loneliness is from a paul baribeau song where mentions “learning how to be alone without being lonely/learning how to be lonely without losing my mind”

[quote=Timtret]As for other benefits of a car:

  1. Run errands more easily when you are tired or the weather is shitty.

This is the biggest obstacle preventing me from selling my car. There are a few days, far between, where owning a car makes me INCREDIBLY happy.

Another thing to consider about the truly car-free lifestyle is what you’re gonna do if you get a relatively serious injury that keeps you from being able to ride.

If you’re lucky and live in a place with public transport you can take that, or if you have a partner / roommate / family member who can drive you in their vehicle, great, but otherwise you can be pretty SOL. If you’ve just got a broken collarbone or whatever you can just walk, but if you break a leg you can be in for a real PITA situation.