A month ago I wrote about Transportation
. I wanted to follow up. I mentioned that I was thinking about getting some HypnoSkates, rollerblades where the bottoms come off. I got them as a birthday gift from my dad. I am pretty happy with them, but they definately have their disadvantages and limitations. They work very nicely as rollerblades. I haven't been on rollerblades in a long time and it is much better than the shoes with wheels I had a couple of years ago. They are very easy to use and it is much more natural than the scooter, especially for uphill. My biggest problem is stopping, or slowing down. It's not easy to control my speed which is really annoying. Going downhill should be fun on wheels. it is the best part of the scooter. It is the worst part of the rollerblades. I can use the break, but it seems to wear down really fast. The other disadvantage is, while taking the blades off is very easy, it isn't as easy as just stepping off the scooter for things like stairs, hills, or when going indoors. Also, I feel less inclined to ride indoors than I do on the scooter, which is part of what makes it great. Wearing the helmet also makes them less appealing. And finally, as shoes, they aren't the most comfortable. They are tight and hot, and even if I'm ok walking around in them, I am definately limited in what else I'd do. I'm sure occasionally they will be fun or usefull. They are no worse than regular rollerblades which is worthwhile to have, even if it isn't my primary transportation.
Two weeks ago Stage3 officially ceased to exist and we moved our offices to the ETC. Although I live very close to campus, unfortunately now my office is very far away. I've been experimenting with the different ways to get there. It brings me back to the days of high school where I always used to ride my bike.
There are basically four methods of transportation I am comparing: the shuttle, bike, rollerblades, and scooter. There is a shuttle bus that runs from campus to the ETC. It run on the hour to the ETC and on the half hour back. During the year when it runs until midnight this might even be a reasonable option but over the summer it only runs until 5 which makes it pretty useless for my schedule. Bike seems to be the best way to go. The distance (between 3-4 miles) is about right for biking and can be done in 15-20 minutes. A bike with gears is the easiest to handle the uphill on the way home, it can have a light to best handle the dark, and it makes a backpack easiest to carry. Rollerblading can be fun but there are a few too many downhills which are not. Also, rollerblading means that I have to wear my rollerblade boots all day. The scooter is the least efficient but could be usefull for going one way faster than walking if I want to take the shuttle the other way. My bike can't go on the shuttle and I just might not feel up to the rollerblades.
There are also several routes to consider. The way the shuttle goes isn't safe for anything that isn't a car, and is really only good in a car if you want to avoid some traffic. The most obvious way to go is cut through Oakland to Bates Ave which comes out right by the ETC. The disadvantage is that Bates is a fairly steep hill. The other way is to take the panther hollow trail to the Eliza Furnace trail. The advantage of this is that it is flat since it stays in the hollow. You have to ascend eventually, but Neville St, where it comes out, is steep but short. Once the new building that CMU is building on Forbes, near the bridge, is completed, you could probably take the elevator up and avoid hills entirely. The other advantage to this route is that it is much more scenic. It is trails through the wilderness in the middle of a city, instead of city streets crowded with cars. The problem is that at night it is very dark. I bought a light for my bike to help solve this problem. I've been mostly going this way; however, today I stopped in Oakland to get lunch so I went the Bates way and discovered it is much shorter and much faster.
Thanks for the heads up on the bike light.