For Ben Duininck, an analyst at U.S. Bancorp, his daily commute is like a puzzle to solve.
In the warm months, he bikes or drives to either of two bus depots in the morning, puts his bike on the bus, takes that to work in downtown Minneapolis (reading the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg along the way), then rides his bike back in the evening, his dress clothes in a bike bag.
Complicated, but worth it, he said. The bike ride at the end of the day takes about as long as busing often would, but he’s gotten a good workout, and he hasn’t paid for gas or downtown parking.
“For me, it’s a way to decompress at the end of the day,” he added. “I get my exercise in without impeding on family time. It’s like killing multiple birds with one stone.”
The commute also doubles as training for longer rides such as the Almanzo, a 100-mile race entirely on gravel, which Duininck rode May 17. In fact, he said, he might not enjoy a shorter urban commute. But that’s just him.
“I don’t think a mile’s enough,” he said. “If you’re doing a mile, you can get away with never having to change your clothes at all. But I enjoy the time. I think it’s amazing the trail system we have, in so many directions around the city. It makes it really easy for people to bike short distances or long distances.”
Duininck, 36, acknowledged that his work might be more amenable than most to the bus-and-bike scheme. His hours are predictable, and he doesn’t get called to surprise meetings out of the office, for which he might need a car.
Putting his bike on the bus also sparks conversations with his fellow passengers. It’s also revealed a bit of strange magic at the bus door.
“The one thing I’ve always found is that if you don’t have a bike, you’ve got to stand in line,” he said. “But if you do, the moment you load [the bike on the rack], everyone will let you in front of them.”
Bill McAuliffe • 612-673-7646