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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 09-09-05, 08:28 AM   #1
craigery
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Help, I need some motivation.

I commuted 3 out of 5 days last week and I really wanted to go all 5 days this week. I lost some motivation somewhere along the line and I only commuted once. Help me with some motivation. Thanks guys and gals.
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Old 09-09-05, 08:36 AM   #2
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I used to think every other day was good. Then, I did all five days in a week on a fluke and I don't know if it was an endorphin rush or what, but now every day I don't ride bums me out. I think it is truly the change in my body - lost 20 lbs and never felt better, not even after basic and pararescue school. The key is in getting out the door.
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Old 09-09-05, 08:45 AM   #3
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Craigery, what was your motivation in the first place? For me, it was to lose weight. So at the very least, if I'm feeling like I'm sure I want to ride, I take a look in the mirror and remind myself that if I'm not going to ride, I have to do some sort of exercise that day. Since riding is the most fun to me, that's all it takes.

Once I lose the weight, I suspect my motivation will be to keep it off!
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Old 09-09-05, 08:59 AM   #4
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I agree with Todd. Getting out the door is the hardest part. Especially this time of year with temps getting colder and light later. I too have motivation issues now and then. I just try to ride through them. If its simply overwhelming, then perhaps you need to change up your routine for a time.
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Old 09-09-05, 09:11 AM   #5
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Don't give yourself any opportunities to wimp out. Pack all your stuff in your panniers the night before. Have your lunch in a bag in the fridge, ready to grab 'n' go. Have your work clothes all packed, and your bike clothes laid out. Think about how much you love your bike. Isn't it the prettiest bike on your block? You're moving yourself across the land by your own power. You have the power! Let others sit in their cars in traffic, inching toward drudgery and diabetes. You're riding your bike. The wind is in your face. You're alive.

Remember that feeling, when you first leaned to ride a bike? That strange combination of uneasy balance and halting momentum? And then, the threshold moment; you were riding! Balancing, turning, accelerating up the road. A whole new horizon opened up to you. Don't lose sight of that horizon now!

Ride!

Ride, damn you!

Ride, like you've never ridden before!
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Old 09-09-05, 09:22 AM   #6
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Wow, konageezer did a way better job at expressing what I was thinking. Nice!

To the OP, you get to ride your bike to work, what could possibly be cooler? I see every day I don't ride to work as a missed opportunity. Riding to work for me is about the love for riding the bike and living life to the fullest extent possible. Get out there and ride!
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Old 09-09-05, 09:28 AM   #7
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I'm with oboeguy, everyday I don't ride I am disappointed. Early on it was a matter of just getting started. Once I got riding I was always glad I did. You do need to make sure that riding if fun. If you are stressing out about being late, give your self more time to take it easy in the morning. If you like to ride hard get a computer so you can try to beat your previous average speed everyday. Maybe try to find a better route to work everyday using a map and exploring on your way home. Just get out there, do it, and have fun.
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Old 09-09-05, 09:31 AM   #8
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^^^ All great advice from the posters above. To make sure I wouldn't wimp out I sold my car! Drastic? Maybe. We still have the family SUV but getting rid of my car keeps me from "wimping out." I also read cycling mags and books and watch an old cycling movie every now and then. My only problem is getting out of bed, riding my bike is the reward for doing so!
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Old 09-09-05, 09:55 AM   #9
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Do you have a good route, craigery? A comfortable bike? A good way to carry your stuff with you? Some other issue like this that makes you avoid bike riding? Traffic-congested roads can turn most people off bike commuting very quickly, and painful saddles do it quicker still. Just thought you might want to look into this and see if there is anything that makes you unhappy about riding. Perhaps you are only half-aware of it. The sort of things like a cluttered desk in the office that encourages you to procrastinate.

But if lack of motivation is the only problem, the posters above give great advice. Remind yourself what your motivation was in the first place and think of all the rewards of bike-commuting. Pack the night before so that you have no excuse not to ride. Just get out of the door. It's gonna be fun! (If it's never fun, examine the issues I mentioned in the first paragraph. )
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Old 09-09-05, 10:04 AM   #10
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I use gadgets. Get a new light, can't wait to try it out; get a new rain jacket, can't wait to try it out, etc.

Initially, every pay day I got at the bank a roll or two of dollar coins. Then every day I rode I would put one in a jar, to represent the money saved on gas (now it would be a coin and a half). Periodically I would empty them out and count them, like a pirate with his chest of loot. Eventually I would spend them on a bike gadget.

When it's really bad, I resort to idealism.

I don't know how long you've been at this, but I noticed a gradual attitude change that became obvious only after a year or two. Now the idea of driving to work seems hugely wasteful. I don't necessarily ENJOY riding a bike to work, but I dislike driving more.
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Old 09-09-05, 10:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by konageezer
Don't give yourself any opportunities to wimp out. Pack all your stuff in your panniers the night before. Have your lunch in a bag in the fridge, ready to grab 'n' go. Have your work clothes all packed, and your bike clothes laid out. Think about how much you love your bike. Isn't it the prettiest bike on your block? You're moving yourself across the land by your own power. You have the power! Let others sit in their cars in traffic, inching toward drudgery and diabetes. You're riding your bike. The wind is in your face. You're alive.

Remember that feeling, when you first leaned to ride a bike? That strange combination of uneasy balance and halting momentum? And then, the threshold moment; you were riding! Balancing, turning, accelerating up the road. A whole new horizon opened up to you. Don't lose sight of that horizon now!

Ride!

Ride, damn you!

Ride, like you've never ridden before!


All I could picture when I read this is Mel Gibson giving this speach like something out of braveheart of something.


Seriously though, thanks guys. All of the advice has helped. I feel like I really missed out this week. I, too, feel like the hardest part is getting up and out the door with the bike gear. If I can get out the door with my helmet, glasses, gloves and pack in hand then I'm okay. Thats it, next week I'm going for all 5 days, rain or shine!
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Old 09-09-05, 10:10 AM   #12
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Want to save both TIME and MONEY by cyclocommuting?

Send me a PM and I'll PM you a questionaire that once completed with your data calculates actual time and money expenses and returns a comparision of your Motor Commuting vs CycloCommuting costs in both time and money.
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Old 09-09-05, 10:12 AM   #13
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The rise in gas prices along with a desire to conserve gas so that it would be there for when I (or someone else) really need it motivated me to resume biking on a regular basis. I ride with my 9 yr. old son to school in the mornings and ride back home with him in the afternoons. I'm teaching him vehicular cycling and so far, he is doing great!

We started doing this almost two weeks ago and I was using an old, garage sale bike that was really uncomfortable and oh boy! was my bottom sore! I went out last weekend and got myself what I'd always wanted, a hybrid. It's a joy to ride which really helps motivate me. More motivation is provided by my son who thinks biking to school is really cool. I've also gotten my husband into the bike commuting action.

Well, yesterday my husband needed to drive to work because of an after-work dinner meeting with a client. I had him take our son to school just to give him a break from the pedals - don't want to burn the kid out, ya know? I had to use my car to pick him up. The moral... my husband said he felt awful when he got to work. I felt really icky all day. My son said he missed riding his bike. This is after not even two full weeks of commuting on our bikes.

So, if you can get yourself out the door 3 or 4 days in a row, I would bet that you will no longer be troubled by a lack of motivation because you will feel SO good.

Good luck to you and take care
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Old 09-09-05, 10:18 AM   #14
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On my commute this morning, out the door at 6:30, grumbling that this bike commuting makes me get up too damn early.

Drizzly morning, overcast, looks like a storm heading in, forecast is for rain/showers, grumble some more as i glide up in the dark, wet, and cold to the first light i need to wait at.

Im in the left turn lane, grumbling and saying "ok this sucks, next week im driving" when a car pulls into the lane beside me. His belly is so big its resting on his steering wheel. I dont think he can turn a corner without his horn going off.

I made it into work 5 min faster than usual and smiling the rest of the way.
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Old 09-09-05, 11:05 AM   #15
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Can somebody email me this thread on Sunday?

Or better yet, pound on my window on Monday morning and read it to me?

Thanks.
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Old 09-09-05, 11:28 AM   #16
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I find that mixing up my routes makes me more motivated. I usually take a different way home every night. Even a different street can make a big difference. I add or subtract miles depending on my mood. I LIVE for time on my bikes.
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Old 09-09-05, 05:36 PM   #17
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I just started commuting but the pounds are starting to melt away. I try to ride every day, even when I am not working. I look and feel healthier and I have a really nice tan on my arms, legs and face. I know my gf likes the direction I am going.

I also like to think about how sorry I am for the people stuck in their cars. Yeah, they get where they are going faster than me (most of the time), but I actually get to enjoy the world around me. I get to look at other things besides the butt-end of the car in front of me.
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Old 09-09-05, 06:01 PM   #18
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One thing that helps me when I'm demotivated is to turn off the cyc computer.
Just pull it off the clip. It changes the ordinary "gotta be there, gotta be fast" commute pressure (self-imposed, I know) into "what a nice morning for a bike ride".

But yeah, you gotta get out the door and on the bike first.
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Old 09-09-05, 06:35 PM   #19
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Getting started is probably the hardest part. Once you get past the physical aspect of it, you won't want to go any other way. I commute 15 miles each way and that was a long ride when I first started and the hills were difficult. Now I barely get warmed up in 15 miles and the hills don't even feel like hills anymore.

Get everything ready the night before. Prepare your water bottle(s), lights, air up your tires, lay out your clothes and everything you need. Do as much as you can the night before. When you get up in the morning, you can hop on the bike in short order and start cruising.
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Old 09-09-05, 06:43 PM   #20
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What motivates you? Money, power, sex? If money, you're saving money. If power, ummm...you'll feel more powerful when you get to work and your mind will be as sharp as a laser. If sex, you're getting into better shape, and will have more endurance in bed for those marathon sex sessions and you'll have stronger, more powerful climaxes. Hmmm...think I'll go ride my bike some more...
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Old 09-10-05, 09:16 AM   #21
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This has worked for me the last 2 months:

A-- Cyclocommuter log
Each day I enter: date, hours:minutes on am ride, hours:minutes on pm ride, distance, notes on ride.
I use a 25 ride table and autocomputed for me is:
mph for each one way
avg mph
time in hours
variance between last ride and first ride in time
variance between last ride and first ride in speed
variance between last ride and 25 ride average in time
variance between last ride and 25 ride average in speed

I can't resist clicking on the chart tab to see my progress over the last 25 rides, instead of just looking at the one day's data. It is a great plus to see how my average speed has increased from 10mph to 13mph and I have shaved about 5 minutes off commute times.

B-- Time and Cost log
The problem I am trying to solve now is how to keep highly motivated as weather changes. Last calendar year I elected not to ride too many days. I am developing another motivation tool. I compare time and dollars spent cyclocommuting vs motor commuting. Here's my numbers:

If average 1 day/week commuting for ENTIRE year, then
Time savings of cyclocommuting over motor commuting: 38 hours
Dollar saving of cyclocommuting over motor commuting: - $219.50

If average 2 day/week commuting for ENTIRE year, then
Time savings of cyclocommuting over motor commuting: 87 hours
Dollar saving of cyclocommuting over motor commuting: $157.00

If average 3 day/week commuting for ENTIRE year, then
Time savings of cyclocommuting over motor commuting: 137 hours
Dollar saving of cyclocommuting over motor commuting: $599.00

If average 4 day/week commuting for ENTIRE year, then
Time savings of cyclocommuting over motor commuting: 187 hours
Dollar saving of cyclocommuting over motor commuting: $1,047.50

If average 5 day/week commuting for ENTIRE year, then
Time savings of cyclocommuting over motor commuting: 237 hours
Dollar saving of cyclocommuting over motor commuting: $1,496.00

I'll never hit 5 day's a week because I don't commute when lightning is within 10 miles or on snow days, or day after snow day.

C-- Forum activity
At least once a week, post a comment. If you do the math, you'll see why I had to get more serious about this cyclocommuting. I started in November and just now getting close to 50 trips. That's less than 5 ride days a month. I'm hoping the time && cost log will help me increase those numbers on my second year. Something about $1,000 is a magic number for me. If I can average 4 days a week, then I can brag that I'm saving $1,000 a year by cyclocommuting.

Hopefully this wasn't information overload for you, you did ask for an answer on what works for motivation. This is my story.
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Old 09-10-05, 12:34 PM   #22
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I know exactly how you feel.

My motivation is that hopefully once I get to the city part of my commute, someone will throw a large dangerous object at me. Something really bad like a beer bottle, or a 2-litre soda bottle full of coke with the cap off so it sprays all over me and my bike.
Or better yet, maybe a big wooden stick or a metal pipe of some kind, striking me right in the back of my helmet.
Or how about some used profilactics, or hot seering cigarette butts? That's always a real day maker for me. The pain is so heavenly.

If that doesn't happen, I am really hoping for some enlightened person to scream obscure disgusting vulgarities at me, as to put me in my place. I need it, as I have far too much physical prowess for taking time to ride my bike, instead of driving my Chevy Suburban.

I am also hoping that my Ultra Gator Skins will blow out and shred themselves while descending a hill at 30mph. The resulting crash, road rash, destroyed clothing, and possible broken bones will put a grin on my face from ear to ear. If the bones aren't broken enough, there is always the oncoming '58 Caddy to finish off the job. Nothing like the taste of Vintage chrome in the morning.

And of course, if all else fails, there's always that raging Northwest monsoon that seems to come out of nowhere, to thoroughly drench me to the bone and drop the outside temp by about 20F in a matter of minutes. Nothing like a good case pnuemonia to get the heart pumping.

Other than the vulgarities and 2-litre coke bottle, I have had very little of this happen to me. My commuting is unbelievably boring, thus I think I will stop commuting and go back to my Chevy Suburban. Perhaps my contribution to increasing CO2 levels will raise the earths temperature enough to create a violent worldwide storm, launching us into another frozen Ice Age. Heck, at least then I would have something worthwhile to write about in the BikeForums.

In other words. Do whatever you want. It's a free (though uneventful) country.

Happy Riding.
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Old 09-10-05, 12:49 PM   #23
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We went from 2 to 1 cars and that helped a lot when I first started regular bike commuting, since I didn't have the easy choice of a car sitting waiting for me. I think the more you get into it the more routine and even addicting it becomes. I sometimes find it can be hard to get going in the spring (I don't ride mid December to mid March since I don't ride on ice) but I absolutely hate stopping in the fall.
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Old 09-10-05, 01:03 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patriot
If that doesn't happen, I am really hoping for some enlightened person to scream obscure disgusting vulgarities at me, as to put me in my place. I need it, as I have far too much physical prowess for taking time to ride my bike, instead of driving my Chevy Suburban.


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Old 09-10-05, 03:38 PM   #25
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My motivation is how many animals want to commit suicide in front of me at 3 in the morning. So far in the 2 months since I started commuting by bike: 1 raccoon, 2 deer, and more than a couple cats and rabbits.
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