Take Your Bike to Work Week

Chicago just finished Take Your Bike to Work Week, and while the event was again a success, some Chicagoans applied a personal interpretation, taking their bike to work on the train. Yes, this burns extra calories, lugging that handsome $1,000 machine up and down the stairs to the train platforms, but I feel it misses the spirit of the event.

I understand why people take their dogs on vacation; the dogs are family members who clearly enjoy the change of scenery, looking out the window at new sights and smells. But I never saw a bicycle display the same amount of enthusiasm, even when going on a big exciting train ride. Sure, they look interested, but they're always able to stand motionless, never drooling or panting.

Taking your bike to work on the train does serve to publicize the event, not only to the train commuters who see or step around the bike, but also to the two or three would-be riders who can't fit on the train because of the space taken by the bike itself. Those folks even participate in some indirect way, watching as the full train leaves the platform. Still, there is no better way for bicycles to learn firsthand about the opportunities available to them in the working world, so ideally more people will join in next year.

I'm no fun

My bank cracks me up. Every time I go over there for some errand that can't be accomplished through an ATM, the staff has to sit me down and try to sell me on some great new checking or savings account. I had almost forgotten that a friend who used to work at this bank explained what goes on there. It's a nationally known bank, rhymes with Space.

My friend's department got year-end bonuses based on how many "new" accounts they signed up. The best part was, it didn't have to be a new customer or new money. If they got somebody to move some of their money within the bank from Smiling Young Models Checking to Shiny Happy Checking, it counted toward their year-end bonus. The employee with the biggest bonus was the one who gamed the system most blatantly.

Today they also wanted me to start doing more banking online. In order to get on with my life, I had to bite my tongue and not tell them about my co-worker losing money during online banking when a computer virus read his keystrokes and fed his password to a scammer who was depleting his balance while he watched. (He got reimbursed, but still, I wouldn't volunteer for it.)