Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Biking For Work

For many people, using a bike to get to work is a normal part of their daily experiance. Some commute by bike out of prefernce, others from neccesity. Much as I would love to get to my job by bike, I simply cannot find a way to make it work.  However, I may have found a way to use my bike AT work.

I work as a real estate appraiser, and part of my job involves driving around the various towns in the county, following up on new construction, and maintaining an up to date photo file on each property. Generally I do this by car. That works pretty well, but not without some problems.

One is that I've had multiple problems with the car cooling systems, the stop and go nature of my work means that the car I use is always running very hot. The second problem is that I taking a photo of a house on the passenger side of the vehicle is awkward, so I have to route my work through the city to always be on my left so I can take photos through the driver's side window. Getting out of the car is simple, but too time consuming. Safety is also an issue along the main highway. Certain sections have no on street parking, making

With my boss' approval (remarkably easy) I've decided to use my bike for an upcoming photo update project. Here is a section of one of the towns, with stops I need to make marked by black dots. The lines on this map denote property boundaries, large open spaces are mostly crop fields.

As you can see, I need to stop at more than half the homes. In a car, this would mean a day of continuous stop and go trapped in my car. By bike, my hope is that I can move just as quickly through the town, while saving fuel expense and wear and tear on a vehicle. Since I won't be claiming mileage, I cost my employer less, and get some exercise while I'm at it. 

The chief problem is transporting the things I need on the bike. I navigate by using aerial photos of the towns, like this:
I believe that by strapping a clipboard to the porteur rack, I can keep the maps neat and where I can see them at all times. Given that this town will require about 800 stops, I need to have my routes right where I can easily see them. I'll wear the camera by the strap, and extra batteries will go in the saddlebag. In theory, this should all work. 

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