This morning was beautiful.  I biked over to our local food co-op and had great breakfast and conversation with a friend (Hi, Kate!!) and then I biked in to work.  It sounds simple – biking and breakfast – but there’s so much more to it than that.

I got the traveller pannier that I ordered from Target in the mail yesterday (and I ordered it on Monday. They are so fast!).  Last night I assembled it and got it all ready for my morning commute, complete with laptop, u-lock, change of clothes, hygienic necessities and my wallet.  Then my stomach started to knot up.  I actually felt nervous about it all!  I think it’s because it felt more like a huge step towards a different way of life than I’ve ever taken before.  I’m making the commitment to bike in to work as much as I can, not just for exercise, but because I want to make a difference.

I want to spend less money on gas.  I want to put less gas fumes out in to the atmosphere.  I want to show other people that a big girl can still ride a bike and look smashing.  I want my carbon footprint to get smaller and smaller.  I may not have the time to volunteer at soup kitchens or food pantries, but I do have the time to get up a little earlier in the morning and bike my butt to work.  And that’s exactly what I’m doing.

One of the great things about working for Wolfram|Alpha is that we have vast amounts of data and tools to analyze all of that data.  When Jess organized our company’s participation in CU Bike to Work Day, one of the things that was done was a blog post all about biking to work and helping people to figure out exactly how much money they would be saving if they biked to work.  Here’s a screen shot of my figures.

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I could save at least $150 bucks every year just by biking in to work!  That doesn’t include biking to the Meijer down the road for the little things we need to pick up sometimes or biking to parks or cafes around us rather than driving.  I’m guessing I could save about $300 bucks a year just from biking around town.  Actually, since Jess and I share one car already, this would be our combined total.  If you’d like to figure out how much money you could be saving by biking in to work, check out the blog here.  Very cool stuff!

Jess and I have already made a lot of changes in the last three years to make the world a better, cleaner place.  We grow plants in and outside of our home, we went from two cars to one, we buy as much locally produced and organic food as we can afford, we participate in co-ops and CSAs, we recycle and compost, we try to buy all natural cleaners and biodegradable products for the home, we both have To-Go Ware that we use at work (I even brought it with us to Chipotle today in lieu of using their plastic forks!), and now we have bikes!  It makes me feel good to know that we’re doing our part to make a difference; one that affects us now in this lifetime, but also one that will positively affect the lifetimes of our children.

How do you make a difference?