For bike commuters and car-free individuals who live long distances from their workplace or school, public transit can be an important part of their transportation mix. In my case, I have a 50-mile round-trip commute that I find too demanding to maintain on a regular basis on the bike alone. I managed to piece together a manageable, albiet somewhat complex, multi-modal commute that includes a bicycle ride, a train ride, a bus ride, and a hike. The total commute time door-to-door is approximately 1.5 hours each way.
My son, who is attending a local college, has a 20-mile round trip commute in the other direction. He mixes bike, ped, and bus to make his way to-and-from school. On days when the weather is nice and he feels up to it, he rides the full distance both directions. On other days, he mixes the bike with the bus, and if the weather is particularly nasty, he walks to a nearby stop and takes the bus the majority of the distance.
Even though we’re both bike commuters and believers in active transportation, we depend upon public transit to make our respective commutes sustainable over time. Also, having the option of transit built into our commutes ensures we can avoid the car even on days when we’re not feeling our best or our schedules demand a quicker trip.