Bike commuting still on the rise?

December 15, 2009 at 10:27 am | Posted in biking | Leave a comment
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My resolve has flagged a bit these last few months, but hope to be biking at least four out of five workdays again soon.  This time of year, with the oppressive darkness, just makes me want to sleep in.  So I’m less inclined to get ready for a 35-minute commute, if I’m already late when I wake up.  [I have sometimes driven home at lunch and biked back to the office afterwards — but that only meets the health portion of the overall objectives, not the anti-polluting part.]  At least it’s only a week until we start gaining daylight again.

This Daily Kos post scratches the surface nicely about the joyful aspects of biking to work.  It still seems to me like people go overboard on needing to shower after arriving, and on clothing and gear — but whatever it takes, to get them out there. 

From the thread’s comments, tips from an experienced rider:

— as in on the bike close to every day the last 30+ years.

1. Clothes are not where to skimp and save. Get waterproof shoes, warm ones, for the winter. Get a nice windproof waterproof and breathable “shell” with a hood that fits over your helmet. I spent $178 for mine, marked way down, and I would buy it again every time I go out the door into -15F with a 30MPH wind, even just to use that once. Thermals are your friend, especially “whicking” ones. Silk is awesome but expensive and fragile, and worth its weight in gold to layer for uber cold days. Good socks are a must.

2. Don’t think about your bike like a car driver does. Be willing to spend money for quality parts and equipment. The average car driver spends $7,000 more a year on transportation than the average bicyclist. You can afford to splurge on the gear you need to make bicycle commuting viable and comfortable and safe and easy.

3. Sell your car.

4. Plan your life around your mode of transit. Choose where to live based on ease of bike trips to shopping and so on. Shop most every day to keep the loads down, find routes that take you past the stores.

5. Always ask yourself, “what would be the worst, dumbest, most dangerous thing that driver could do?” Assume they will do that.

6. Right of way and traffic laws are irrelevant when it comes to staying alive. That car may have a red light, but if you expect them to stop it may cost your life.

7. Be aware of your surroundings, road conditions, sounds from all sides. Often you will hear trouble before you see it. Never ever even think of wearing headphones.  

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