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Bike+light rail commute

August 13, 2012

I’ve been gradually ramping up the number of days that I bike + take light rail to work to the point where I’m generally driving to work at most 1 day a week. It takes a bit longer (it’s around a 15 minute bike ride + a 30 minute light rail ride, compared to 15-20 minutes driving), but it’s a much more pleasant experience. Instead of spending time sitting at red lights or putting up with traffic I instead get a bit of exercise and then some uninterrupted quiet time. And Silicon Valley drivers are much more polite to bicyclists than they are to each other, another benefit.

When I first started the commute by bike+rail, I took advantage of the WiFi on VTA to use my tablet both on the way to work and on the way home. But in the last month or so I noticed that I felt like I was still rushing on my morning commute, since I was trying to consume as much information as I could before I got to work. So instead I’ve been experimenting with restricting myself to pen + notebook in the morning, thinking about current and upcoming projects, exploring ideas, and sketching out possible designs and architectures.

So far it’s made a noticeable difference. By the time I get to work I’m ready to start my day since I’ve spent the last 30 minutes thinking about what to tackle next and what approach to take. And yet I’m relaxed, since I find brainstorming ideas with pen and paper very calming. Plus even on those days that are packed full I’m guaranteed at least 30 minutes of thinking time, which is always a good thing.

I do still pull out my tablet and use VTA’s WiFi network, but I do it at the end of the work day instead. On the way home I fire up Reeder and check out what else has been happening in the world while I’ve been at work. I find it a good way to pop up a level and keep on eye on broader trends. So while I’m not planning on joining the Slow Tech movement anytime soon, I’ve definitely found pen+notebook a better transition to my workday than tablet+WiFi.

Of course, either is still better than driving.

From → Musings

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