Commuting - *****Must read biking story****
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Hello I was just thinking the other day how I became a bike commuter instead of a car driver. I think biking chose me instead. Im 21 and once I turn 18 I was living on my own. My only mode of transportion was a bike. A a wal mart bike. That later was in a crash. Anyway. I got into biking a lot once I went through my first winter and relized how much of a blast it was. Hehe I'm going on my 3rd winter season. I think what was really a big factor was when I didn't ever get my dls. Anyways how did you start to commute. Was it always a life style or did you have to commute. Cuz you could afford a car or was it for your health. Share how you got started. Ride on
11-05-11, 01:00 PM
Hey there Yep202!
I started many years ago, after I got into an accident. My car was no longer functional. I still had to get to work the following day. My only option was to ride my bike. At that time, my bike was an old-styled cruiser. One Friday afternoon, when I left work for lunch, I found that the rear wheel had been bent. I could only assume that some vehicle must have hit it while they were parking in front of the parking meter, to which it was attached. The following morning, I purchased my first actual road bike. It was a Nishiki Sebring! I then fell in love with my bike and cycling, simultaneously. I always did like cycling, but the Nishiki made me like it even more. I commuted for about nine years on that Nishiki until my job moved me.
- Slim :)
I transferred into the job of building those walmart bikes; the guy who trained me was a fanatic roadie who fanned the flames for me to get back into riding. (In turn, I turned him onto mountain biking.) That was eleven years ago. After a few months, we started riding to work.
In 2004, my last car had a major engine breakdown; I junked it, and never looked back.
Cold doesn't stop me; deep snow and ice do, though. I had a broken ankle in 2009 from 'catching' a skid on ice. (Never fell, but the bone snapped under lateral stress.) When the conditions are too nasty to pedal, I take the bus.
I'm as healthy as someone half my age, fitter than a 30-y-o, and I've had more fun over the last decade than I can remember from any other time in my life. AND, I saved $1500 in car-related costs over the last 4 years (the time period I calculated, due to having a $2000 bike during that time).
Not everyone can do this; but if you can, ROCK it.
11-05-11, 02:28 PM
here's a bit from my introduction thread....
Native New Yorker. I always loved to ride when I was younger, and after years of not riding regularly as an adult, I took up cycling to work.
I ride 12-14 miles into the city for work, round trip, 4 or so days a week since last November.
I dropped 40lbs (5' 11" - from 300 to 260), and I'm still losing weight.
It didn't take too long before I started riding for recreation and exploring the parks, bridges, and other scenic area's.
I ride a Giant Escape 2 Hybrid, with a few custom parts.....
11-05-11, 02:33 PM
I love my car and I love my bike. I won't ever be without either...
But, I decided I needed to lose weight, and I discovered just how much I love biking. Later, I discovered how much time (and money) I could save if I rode my bike instead of drove to campus and work, so I started doing that. Now, despite how much I love my car (and driving it) I find it a burden to have to take the car on rainy days because I have to leave 20 minutes earlier and park so far away. Plus I just love riding the tank into campus.
11-05-11, 03:35 PM
I have been a cyclist since I was age 7(I learned to ride fairly late). I raced a bit as a teenager, until I got my license. When Uncle Sam stationed me in Wyoming, I became a mountain biker. Upon moving to Florida, I relegated my bike to an exercise toy, riding after work and on the weekends.
Then, one day, the clutch plate on my car broke. I live 20 miles from work, and nobody upon whom I could rely for a ride either lives near me or works near my workplace, so I was forced to ride to work. It just kinda stuck. Now I'm between jobs so I'm not really a "commuter" any more. I'm just a cyclist. I have ridden to hand out resumes. Does that count?
11-05-11, 04:36 PM
After I recently taught my daughter how to ride a bicycle, I had to ride along side her, and I rediscovered the joy of bicycling! That quickly led to the idea of commuting to have some fun and exercise during the work day. And that led to using the bicycle for errands within several miles of home. I still enjoy my truck, and I'll use it on those bitter winter days with several inches of snow and ice on the roads. Otherwise, I commute by bike.
11-05-11, 05:39 PM
I used to like to go for rides ever since I was a little kid but I never really left the neiborhood. After I graduated High School a few months ago my grandfather bought me a Trek Utopia. At that time I was taking the bus to school everyday and was tired of waiting for a bus and then having to be in a crush load of people. One morning I decided to take the bike to school and I made it there in half the time and since then I have only stepped foot on a bus a few times. I have since bought a used Trek 7200 to use for my commute and usually reserve the Utopia for long distance stuff.
11-05-11, 05:52 PM
As a pre-teen, my step-brother and I were relegated to walking, or riding our BMXs as latch-key kids. We eventually moved up to Cruiser-weight BMXs and got involved in the California race scene for a while due to our uncle. I rode a low-budget road bike in the late 80s the 9 miles to school because that same brother destroyed my chances of getting a car. He decided to take his and wreck it to "force my parents to get him something better." Ultimately, we both were punished.
I left for boot camp in 1991 and never touched another bike until about 2000. I picked up a low-budget Haro MB from the bike shop and started riding it for fun. Fun turned into commuting, commuting turned into longer "tours" to see how far I could get. From there, I've sold, hawked and purchased about 15 bikes to get where I'm at today. Bikeless again, but a PR writer for the local bike shop(s) Facebook/website and working toward "paying" for my first replacement (of 4 bikes I have to re-invest in).
11-05-11, 06:02 PM
As a kid I had a blast biking everywhere on my mongoose bike. I stopped biking at the end of middle school and throughout all of high school. I got diagnosed with type I diabetes at the end of high school which got me a lot more involved with exercise. In college, I lived on campus so I could walk anywhere, but preferred biking (I hate walking long distances), so i bought a road bike. I hit the ground running and learned how to do all of my own bike maintenance including wheel building. I now have a fleet of bikes. After graduation, I moved 5 miles off of campus, but work at the hospital there. I've decided to bike every day no matter what due to the expensive parking costs and it also helps me manage my diabetes.
11-05-11, 07:26 PM
I never stopped. I commuted to school by bicycle starting in second grade. When I got to the university, I rode there. When I went to work, it was by bicycle. When it was time to move out on my own, I hadn't bought a car. The bicycle was very important in making sure that I was able to live independently on minimum wage. I didn't get a car till I was 32.
11-05-11, 08:25 PM
My wife and I started making breakfasts for the local university Tri club riders on Sundays before their training rides. Two of the kids started working on us to start riding last fall. Intriguing. Then, I noticed a guy riding all winter, commuting to work. He works out near where I do, and I saw him ride every day in NASTY as well as nice weather. So I bought a bike in April, one for my wife in May, and off we rode! I have been commuting since April, though I travel a lot and getting more than two weeks in a row at home is rare. But I still can ride 3-4 days a week, and really enjoy the gentle workout in the morning and the clearing of my mind in the afternoon. Now that it is dark when i ride, I find I really like riding in the dark. We'll see how a winter commute is going to work, but I should be able to pull off three days per week.
So glad to be back into cycling - 20+ years off was too long. Today was a cold, wet, group ride for 48 miles - tired as all get-out, but loving it. Way better than a spinner!
11-05-11, 10:28 PM
In the winter of '87 living in Chicago. Going through a very low time in my life. W/transfers it took me 3 hrs per day to get back and forth to work by bus. One day I looked up and saw a guy go by the bus on a bicycle. It was -5F w/t windchill and this guy was riding in a big army coat, boots, mittens, scarf and a knit hat smoking a cigarette and SMILING! As I'd grown up an athlete there was something about that smile that shamed and inspired me at the same time.
Figured out it was only about 7 miles to my workplace. Chicago's very flat as well. Found an old broken-down 'bike-boom' roadbike in a friend's basement that weekend and they gave it too me. Lubed the chain, repacked the bearings, but the calipers were frozen, so I stopped it w/my foot jammed between the seattube and the rear tire for about 2 months. Wore a grove in my sneakers. Took it to a little lbs advertising 19.95 for a bike tune-up. When I got it back the owner had replaced the calipers, cables, saddle, replaced the bb spindle and bearings and re-taped the hbrs w/silk tape. Charged me 50.00 for everything and gave me a time-frame to pay it off. Wasn't making real good money a/t time. Bought alot of accessories from him when first starting out.
Gave that bike to a friend when I upgraded in the spring. That's when I started looking at different commutng options afa transporting food, clothing, etc. Built a tool-kit over the next few years. Both on and off the bike. Got my personal hygiene/work stuff worked out. Then started w/lighting, better tires, wp materials for bags, rack(s). In short, became a cycle-commuter/utilitarian cyclist over the period of the next couple of years. Haunted thriftstores, yardsales, pawnshops, The Recycler, etc. Then someone handed me a Nashbar catalog and I was ruined. :p
Shoveled driveways all winter and mowed lawns all spring as a kid in New England to save the money for a 3sp Sting Ray. It cost about $70, which was a fortune in 1969. Came up short and my grandparents kicked in the balance. :)
After the first ride around the block I was a bike nut for life.
Moved to Hawaii at 13. Got a paper route and earned the money for my first "real" bike, a Panasonic 10sp. I wouldn't even try to guess how many miles I put on that bike.
Moved to Washington State at 19 and ended up with my dream job for a few years. Running a bike shop.
Bike shops generally are not the fast track to a high income (understatement) and I had to move on but have never stopped loving bikes.
I've also almost always had a car but would ride whenever it was an option. Even after all these years (I am now 51) when I mount up and make that first downstroke on the pedal my mind drifts back to that first ride around the block on my new Sting Ray.
11-06-11, 05:24 AM
11-06-11, 10:37 AM
Good stories. Here's mine.
Paper boy at 11 using a 3spd english racer.
By 13 we had converted the 3spd to a single speed and I was touring the town. Culminated in a 60 mi ride just before my 14th birthday.
At 16 commuted 6 mi one way to a grocery on my new Schwinn Varsity. I really loved that bike.
In my early 20s finally bought a car. But I hated the time and money it took to maintain. At one point I couldn't afford it and went totally bike for all my in town transportation.
In my 30s I finally got a decent job. Bought a better vehicle and quit riding regularly. That was a bad idea.
3 years ago, high cholesterol, in my 50s, 200lbs, bad back I started commuting to work again, 5 days a week when possible. In Phoenix that is 364 days out of the year. Now I'm at 185lbs, cholesterol is good, back feels better than it has in a long time. Still need to lose about 10lbs. Working on it. Darn Subway and their cookies! :)
11-06-11, 04:29 PM
After receiving my 3rd DUI I was basically forced to do a 12 mile round trip commute. It was a little hard at first & didn't have lights, helmet ect... at first so I suppose it was dangeroud as well. But I grew to like my commute but still looking forward to driving my pickup truck some day.
I love "urban" hiking, so during spring break I decided to walk the 7 miles to the university campus where I teach just to see how the walk was. After doing the walk, it ocurred to me that it would be an easy bicycle commute, this despite the fact that I had not been on a bicycle since I turned 16 (I'm now 61). So, in the spring I bought a department store hybrid, started riding over the summer and have been commuting daily for 3 months. Oh, I also sold my car because I decided that since I was going to take commuting seriously, I didn't need a car. My wife kept her car and lets me use it when biking isn't convenient, such as when I have late night classes followed by an early morning commute. The late night riding doesn't bother me as much as getting back on the bike after less than 8 hours rest. Heading into winter, I've done one very rainy ride and a couple of 30-35F rides. So far, so good. About a month ago, I bought a 1996 Trek road bike and now use that for my back up commuter and my fun weekend ride.
11-06-11, 08:06 PM
I rode my college campus as a student until a pedestrian walked out in front of my and my bottom bracket shed it's ball bearings. I then didn't ride again for 9 years.
After multiple other jobs (where I almost always lived within 5 miles of work) I came back to the university to work. By the time I got back here, I wasn't supported by parents for living expenses and said "Oh, hell no!" to the $600+/yr the parking office wanted for a parking pass.
At first, I couldn't ride a mile without being drenched in sweat and gasping like a fish out of water. Now I do my daily 10 miles each way, easily.
Recently, I got married and we have a new daughter. Someone decided to try to test the law of physics about two objects occupying the same space at the same time against our car so we've ended up carless. My bicycle usage and the wife's public transit usage became necessary instead of being a transportation choice. Luckily, we were already pretty much in the swing of car-lite so the adjustment to carless hasn't been too rough on us. We aren't car-free by the strictest definitions of the term since we have family help us out with grocery trips or commutes when one of us needs a break from the low speed of transit or personal energy output of biking/walking.
11-06-11, 08:27 PM
Have had a love affair with bicycles from a very young age. Started commuting at age 15 when I got my first job and also to ride to karate lessons and do my paper route. Caught sight of my first "10 speed" lightweight Italian racer while doing my paper route one day and I flipped for it and lusted for one for 2 years. But at age 15 my first purchase of an "adult" type bike was a folding bike made by Astro-Daimler Puch and sold in the Sears Catalog in 1968. I then moved up to a Raleigh 3 speed. Then a Raleigh Grand Prix. Then a Bottecchia Professional all Campy racing bike. Then a series of racing, touring and commuting bikes, one of them from 1976, a custom Tanguy frame with all Campy, I still ride to this day for road riding and touring.
My commutes have varied from just a few miles a day to round trip commutes of 72 miles 3-4 times a week. My usual commute is just over 20 round trip 6 days per week but my current commute is more like 10 round trip. I also use the bike for general transport, shopping. My wife owns a car but I do not. I sometimes drive hers but basically I'm car free. I am using a folding bike as my current commuter but generally ride a 9 speed Novara Buzz.
11-07-11, 12:49 AM
When I'm stressed out I jog, and my roommates were REALLY stressing me out for a while there. It resulted in my knees getting screwed up.
So I decided to get a bike; originally it was just a "toy" to take the place of jogging, to blow off steam, to ride for fun. I hadn't had a bike since I was...17 years old or so (I'm almost 30 now) so I still viewed them as toys.
I had no idea how amazing it was. Soon I was doing grocery runs, visiting friends, going to events by bike. It was faster than transit most of the time. It didn't take long for me to start commuting to work, and then stop buying monthly bus passes.
I know how to drive, and I could afford a car if I needed one. But I've never felt I've needed one since I said goodbye to my last one, in year 2000.
An upgrade was needed, so along with my vintage "toy" I now have a serious commuter bike. I love them very much and they both get a lot of use.
Thanks for the storys I have been busy with school work and other stuff.
01-24-12, 10:01 PM
Add one deeply unloved job to a commute that left me seething with angry, multiply by lots of superfluous calories (in ice cream or chocolate), to the exponent of frustration and dissatisfaction of just about everything in my life and that equals me about 7 years ago.
I rode briefly on a red bike when I was 11 and 12 before I was too tall for it. My family couldn't afford a new one and my mom hated bikes to start. In my early 20s I borrowed a bike for a summer from a friend but then the friend moved away. I shopped around for a bike but knew very little about bikes and never got past the rows of cheap bikes at Eatons dept store. They all looked fairly crummy and I forgot about the joy of bike riding.
Until one day I was thoroughly sick and tired of the ball of rage in my gut and took a walk after work one evening. I was fed up with my job and lazy assed co-workers but didn't want to go home feeling that way. I went past a bike store and peered inside and decided that life was too short to be angry. I needed an outlet for my fury and knew I had a pile of weight to lose. The bikes looked so positive and filled with the promise of adventure that I had to get one.
It took 6 months to save the money but mostly to gather the courage to try out some bikes. I'm an Athena cyclist now but then I was a super obese out of shape woman. Courage was in short supply but my need for a bike got me into the store and onto my bike.
At first I rode in the nearby park and then after a couple of weeks I ventured onto the quiet neighborhood streets. Soon I used my angry energy pouring over city maps looking for bike routes and ignoring annoyances on my subway commutes reading bike magazines and books. I decided as autumn became colder and the roads to slippery that I would start bike commuting the following spring. That winter I walked more, went to the community centre, and did my best to think happy bike ride thoughts during my work day.
Finally, it was spring 2006 and on that lovely morning I put on my helmet and said "later gator" to my husband and rode my bike to work. It took another year and a half to finally quit that miserable job but bike commuting made that last bit of time much more bearable.
01-25-12, 06:58 AM
When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, traffic was much lighter and kids rode their bikes everywhere. That's when my love for cycling started because our bikes provided tremendous freedom for kids. Didn't ride much in high school, but quickly found that a bike was the best way to get around campus when I was in college. That is when I first started bike commuting, which was my main form of transportation all through college.
I also started running in college and found that cycling was great cross training to give my legs a break from the pounding and stress. After I graduated and started working, one of my first purchases was a decent road bike, a Nishiki sport tourer, and I started doing longer rides for the first time. One day I saw a Celeste green Bianchi at the bike shop and it was love at first sight, and that was my first really nice road bike with Campy gears. Rode my first century and a bike tour but gradually drifted away from cycling due to job pressures, increased traffic where I lived and the lack of a group to ride with.
I sold my old Nishiki to my younger brother, who really got excited about cycling and reignited my interest in my 40s. I had gained a few pounds over the years, and cycling was a great way to get back in shape since my legs couldn't handle running any more. I soon started cycling more than I had ever had when younger and bought a nice road bike, but my riding was entirely recreational with occasional tours. Five years ago, I started bike commuting to work as a way to increase my riding time/mileage. My initial plan was to ride once a week on dress-down Fridays, but soon increased that to 2, 3, 4 days a week or more. I now can't believe that I didn't start bike commuting years ago. It helps relieve stress, it's fun, saves money, conserves gas, prevents air pollution, and has helped me lose 30 lbs. What's not to like about it?
I never stopped riding since I learned to ride, although I mostly rode MTBs for a long time. I got the courage to ride more city streets and "commute" when I was in college (in Sydney, Australia), but that was a long ride and not very enjoyable. I first commuted regularly at my first proper job (in Brisbane, Australia) which had a nice bike trail, and continued that when I worked in London (for which I even bought my first road styled bike - a flat-bar with 700x23c). When I first moved here I was commuting only to the train station as the 20mi 1500+ ft return commute seemed too daunting (I tried it a few times on weekends) but last July I finally decided to spend some $ on a nice road bike and that was all the motivation/addiction I needed. Now I'm frequently adding miles on the way home.
01-25-12, 08:52 AM
There we go.
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