Anything Goes Challenge: Painful Learning Curves

25 Apr

I got up a few minutes early this morning so I could take my little scooter to the VTA. Now that I have two trips under my belt, I left my helmet at home and cruised down the sidewalk with confidence. My husband got up early too, so he could try a Caltrain + bike commute as part of his entry to the Anything Goes Commute Challenge. So when I crashed right outside my home on my scooter, he was awake to see the damage fresh.

Today’s lesson #1: Don’t brake while turning on wet pavement. Maybe don’t turn on wet pavement at all.


Other lessons I’ve learned on my scooter + VTA commute: The street is smoother than the sidewalk, so take the street if it’s wide or low traffic. Rubber soled flats work as well as sneakers, skirts that are a little short on the bike are fine on the scooter, and that little handlebar bag is much easier to access than the messenger bag.

Today’s lesson #2: The VTA smartphone app really helps when you get on the wrong train and end up in East San Jose. That’s what happens when you get engrossed in writing and don’t pay attention.

Whenever you try something new there are learning curves. If a skinned knee and coming home 45 minutes late are the worst of it there’s no reason to write off riding my scooter and taking VTA. Besides, how often do you get to see East Valley hills from a vantage point over a Chevron gas station and a McDonald’s parking lot?


The other big lesson I continue to learn is that assumptions we make often turn out false. When I started bike commuting in dresses I assumed I’d have to carry my heels. When I started working in San Jose I assumed I wouldn’t be able to grocery shop easily on my way home. When I started this challenge I assumed I couldn’t ride the 14 miles to work comfortably in street clothes on my city bike. All false assumptions.

I assumed that light rail would be too inefficient to be useful except as an emergency backup. With WiFi it isn’t, provided you get on the right train and you don’t get motion sickness reading while riding backwards.

Quick Update on the Anything Goes Commute Challenge: We’re just under a week from the deadline of April 30 and the entries have already started to come in. Margaret from Los Angeles sent me hers today, and I know Pep and Dick are working on theirs. So send your stories to me at!

What about you? Have you tried anything new on your commute? What have you learned?

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1 Comment

Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Anything Goes


One response to “Anything Goes Challenge: Painful Learning Curves

  1. Donna

    April 26, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    You are an amazing and awesome woman! You go girl! You are an inspiration to me biking
    to work or using your scooter to commute 🙂 Thank you for your awesome and inspiring bike and commuter stories 🙂 As a 46 yo big kid on my bike anyway, I am feeling the plunge to bike to work and make my day better 🙂


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