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  1. #1
    crash survivor tate65's Avatar
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    Bicycle commuting one-liners

    Every since my accident in July and the followup story a local news reporter did I seem to be the person the press keeps calling for "comments about bicycle commuting" From HD News, to AP, to some small paper in Arkansas, I have gotten no less the 10 calls for interviews in the past month. I always get asked the same 3 questions. My question to you is how would you answer them? I really don't want to speak for everyone, but if I keep getting these chances I want to at least think I am covering the bases, not missing anything, and most important I am getting the right message out there..

    1. Why did you start Commuting? For me it was a way to add miles to get in better shape for mountain biking and just to feel better over all , it has changed into enjoyment, exercise, and reduced fuel cost.

    2. If you could tell everyone out there one thing about bicycle commuting what would it be?
    My answer is that we are out there, if you are in a car please be aware, give cyclist our room and safety as the law requires and to keep an eye out for cyclist. For cyclist to remember we have a responsibility to follow the laws, to be mindful of how hard it can be to see us so use every means possible to be visible.

    3. What would you tell people interested in commuting to help them get started?
    First just do it, most excuses they come up with for not doing it is just there way of putting it off. Most obstacles to bicycle commuting can be over came if you really want to.
    Second is it doesn't take a special bike, cloths or equipment to do it. Any bike can be used all you need it a few simple items to make it safe and successful, a helmet, some inexpensive lights, and awareness. Make sure the bike is serviceable and can last the round trip without maintenance issues, that you can bee seen, and you know the laws and issues of your area.
    Third is to pre-plan for your fist time. Know the local and state laws and ordinances regarding bicycles. Think about your route, possibly drive it a couple of times to make sure it is safe and can get you there. See if there are any issues that you may need to worry about like crossing busy roads, or high traffic areas you may not be able to avoid, and see if you can resolve them with alternate routes or time changes. Think about clean up and cloths you will need once you arrive at your destination, can you carry them on your bike or leave them ahead at work.
    And again I stress safety, visibility and awareness of your surroundings. Make sure you are wearing visible cloths, your lights work and you are obeying the laws of the road as they apply to cyclist in your ares.
    Just get out there and give it a try, once you do it the 1st time, it gets easier, and the enjoyment is more than worth the effort.

  2. #2
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    Everyone started for a different reason, so my first answer won't apply to you.

    1. Why did you start Commuting?My car broke. I could fix it, but the part was on national backorder. I decided to revive a childhood hobby instead. I bought a bike and started saving money, losing weight and having more fun than ever. Oh yeah, I did fix the car eventually, but I rarely use it.

    2. If you could tell everyone out there one thing about bicycle commuting what would it be?
    On your left! No, just kidding.

    You just go around slow-moving tractors on the side roads without crowding, honking at, cutting off or throwing stuff at it. Please give bicyclists the same courtesy.

    3. What would you tell people interested in commuting to help them get started?
    The first mile is the hardest while you figure out what you're doing. The first two weeks are trying while your body adjusts to using new muscles and sitting on a bicycle. After that, it's all good.
    ax0n: Geeky and bikey
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  3. #3
    ****** squegeeboo's Avatar
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    1. Car broke (due to a tree)

    2. It's healthy and fun

    3. Get on your bike and ride!!
    In the words of Einstein
    "And now I think I'll take a bath"

  4. #4
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    1. Why did you start Commuting?
    - fitness primarily and to save some money as well

    2. If you could tell everyone out there one thing about bicycle commuting what would it be?
    - you, as a cyclist, have the same rights and responsibilities as any other road vehicle so behave like one.

    3. What would you tell people interested in commuting to help them get started?
    - rather than either staring at someone else's armpit and sweat stain on public transport or dealing with the frustration of gridlocked traffic why not get outside, get fit and have some fun too.
    Last edited by markhr; 11-30-07 at 08:02 AM.
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    Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!

  5. #5
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    1. Why did you start Commuting?

    A shortage of parking spaces and frequent gridlock made driving impractical.

    2. If you could tell everyone out there one thing about bicycle commuting what would it be?

    If you found a place to park today without circling the block for 20 minutes, thank a cyclist.

    3. What would you tell people interested in commuting to help them get started?

    Make it as easy and convenient as possible.

    Paul

  6. #6
    dabbler
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    Your answers are good, and pretty comprehensive.

    I think "it doesn't take a special bike" is crucially important. Nobody feels the need for $150 running shoes and extreme activity clothing to walk to a mile or two, and in the same way you don't need radical expensive equipment to cycle 5 or 10.

    One thing that puts people off is being out in the elements, specifically the cold (and rain). Something not many will have thought about is that the exercise generates heat. I'm much more comfortable in the cold on the bike (in less clothing) than I am walking if I take the train. Waterproofs can be cheap and effective. If you can stand the weather on foot, it's no problem on a bike. Personally, I consider it a real boon to be "out in the elements" and to flush my lungs with fresh air twice a day. After a few weeks "endorphin addiction" kicks in and you start looking forward to getting your exercise.

    Visibility: as well as lights, reflectors, reflective tape, cheap reflective vests, really work.

    Perhaps another plus point is a feeling of self-sufficiency - getting where you need to be under your own power, and maintaining your steed with your own hands. Basic bike maintenance is just lubrication, and from there you can take it as far as you choose.

    Freedom from traffic queues. Congestion is a minor issue to a bicycle, so stress from it is minor also. While you have to be alert in traffic, it's an active, productive effort, not stress through frustration.

  7. #7
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    1. Why did you start Commuting? Well, I started for the exercise, but I continue to ride because it is much less stressful than driving.

    2. If you could tell everyone out there one thing about bicycle commuting what would it be?
    Anyone can do it. You don't have to be an expert cyclist, be in great shape, or a daredevil to safely commute on a bicycle. You also do not have to spend thousands of dollars on equipment. Plenty of people commute on older, but reliable transportation they have found at yard sales, thrift stores or their local bicycle coop. A great many people probably have a suitable bike sitting in their garage.

    3. What would you tell people interested in commuting to help them get started?
    If you know a bicycle commuter, definitely ask them for advice. They will be more than willing to help. If you don't, the first steps would be getting back on a bike. Get comfortable riding again. Ride to the grocery store or coffee shop on Saturday morning. Get used to being around cars and you will quickly be ready for the commute.



    I realize I'm stretching my answers. It's intentional. One-liners are often ineffective.

  8. #8
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    1. Why did you start Commuting?
    Two reasons:
    - My car was on loan, which gave me the shove out the door I needed.
    - I sit on my butt in front of a computer all day long, and need some cardiovascular exercise. I'd never use a gym even if I had a membership: but I've got to get home. A bike gives me the dual benefit of getting me home and giving me some exercise.

    2. If you could tell everyone out there one thing about bicycle commuting what would it be?
    - With a little planning, it's easier than you would think!

    3. What would you tell people interested in commuting to help them get started?
    Visit the BF Commuting forum !
    And, try it one-way first: cycle home one day, so you can take your time without worrying about getting there on time.

  9. #9
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    1.I started for the exercise and fuel savings.
    Now it is all about the fresh air, and feeling alive.
    2. It s is the greatest daily adventure around.
    3. Spend you $$$$ on safety items, you will come to love any bike that gets you there and back.
    Riding my bike will still make it go faster.
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  10. #10
    DNPAIMFB pinkrobe's Avatar
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    1. Why did you start Commuting?
    It's faster than walking, faster than the bus, I save $4000/year compared to driving, it's healthier for me, it keeps me from getting too fat.
    2. If you could tell everyone out there one thing about bicycle commuting what would it be?
    It's a lot safer than it looks.
    3. What would you tell people interested in commuting to help them get started?
    Map out a route in advance, then ride it on a Sunday to get a feel for the amount of time it takes. Pay attention to the weather forecast. Obey traffic signs and signals. Don't ride too close to the curb - stay about 3' out. If there's a decent pathway system, use it. Make commuting by bike part of your daily routine.
    Proud Member of the HHCMF
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  11. #11
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    1. Why did you start Commuting?

    I was training for a triathlon and one day it dawned on me that if I had my bike with me at work I could go directly to my training ride without having to ride the bus home first.

    2. If you could tell everyone out there one thing about bicycle commuting what would it be?

    It's the best part of the work day, every day.

    3. What would you tell people interested in commuting to help them get started?

    It's shockingly easy. It's as easy as, well, riding a bike. All you're doing is riding it from your house to work and back again.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  12. #12
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    1. Why did you start Commuting?
    Two reasons: With young kids and little free time, it's a great way to use commuting time as workout time. More importantly, however, driving in Northern Virginia is miserable, dangerous, stresses me out, and is often slower than riding a bike anyway.


    2. If you could tell everyone out there one thing about bicycle commuting what would it be?
    It's a lot more fun than dieting to lose weight. Right now, riding 6 miles or so each way to work, I have to eat anything I can get my hands on to keep my weight up.


    3. What would you tell people interested in commuting to help them get started?
    The key to having fun while riding is getting your bike fit right. Nothing is more likely to make a beginner quit than a seat that's too low, which will make the lower quads feel like they're on fire. Get the bike set up right, and after a week or two the legs should stop hurting the day after a ride.

  13. #13
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    1. I like to ride. Fitness, heart rate and lost weight only are side effects.
    2. It's a great way to start the day and an excellent stress reliever at the end of the day.
    3. Set a date, practice a bit then do it. Within 2 weeks you won't have to talk yourself into doing it, it will be the way you get to work.

  14. #14
    Cycle Dallas MMACH 5's Avatar
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    1. I started because my wife and I only had one car. Then we got a second car and I continued to ride. We sold the older car because we didn't need it. I just love riding my bike.

    2. We're here! We're queer! We're not going shopping! Oh, sorry. Wrong forum. (I think you're answer covered my sentiments quite well.)

    3. Start out with trips around the neighborhood. Then to the train-station. Eventually, you will likely skip the light rail part of the commute and just ride all the way to work.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

  15. #15
    Raving looney
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    1. Why did you start Commuting?
    Always liked to ride my bike, a transit strike one day made me take the bike to work. The rest is history.

    2. If you could tell everyone out there one thing about bicycle commuting what would it be?
    It's lots of fun, easier and safer than you'd think and doesn't need lots of $$$ to start, if you already have a bike you're basically set-up.

    3. What would you tell people interested in commuting to help them get started?
    Just do it. Dress accordingly, just because it's -5C out, it doesn't mean you'll be cold. Take your time, go at your own pace. Give it 2 weeks trial, if you don't like it, then sobeit.

  16. #16
    Riding For My Life PerhamBiker's Avatar
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    1. Why did you start Commuting?
    It is the best way for me to fit bicycling into my lifestyle on a daily basis. It's a great workout that helps me lose weight and be really fit. I don't have the time to ride in the evenings after work because of family and church commitments.

    2. If you could tell everyone out there one thing about bicycle commuting what would it be?
    It is worth the effort and the determination to ride to work as often as you can. Put the effort in and the reward will follow.

    3. What would you tell people interested in commuting to help them get started?
    Get a good bicycle that you feel comfortable on for considerable amounts of time. Spend what is necessary to do that. Get good clothing that works for you on the bike in the varying conditions in which you'll be riding. Find out how to get clothes to and from work or whatever you'll need to do to make the transition from riding to working go smoothly. Set goals for yourself in various ways. For example: I wanted to ride my bike to work 85 days this year. I hit 81. I had a crash in October that cost me 3 weeks of good weather. I also had time goals. My best time in last year was 30 minutes. I wanted to crack that this year and I busted it. It kept me hungry. I hit 27:37 and now I want to crack 37. Give yourself some goals and post your goals and successes around your desk.

  17. #17
    nashcommguy
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    1)Was living in Chicago and rode the bus 1.5 hrs w/transfer to work. Realized one day it was only 7-8 miles and I could save time/money by riding a bike. Bought one at a moving sale for 25.00 and have been a cycle-commuter ever since.
    2)It'll keep you off the treadmill and out of the analyst's office. If you learn to do your own mechanical work it'll give you a sense of empowerment and independence.
    3)Get a bike. Make sure it runs ok. Get a pump, patch kit, tire levers, wrenches, multi tool and go for a ride.

  18. #18
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    1. Why did you start Commuting on a bicycle? Didn't need a car to do the same thing I can do on bike and for cheaper.

    2. If you could tell everyone out there one thing about bicycle commuting what would it be?
    I arrive happy, refreshed, and early.

    3. What would you tell people interested in commuting to help them get started?
    Use the bike on short trips. The trip it self will be motivation. Ie I have lots of motivation to go to the grocery store. You can even reward yourself.

  19. #19
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    1. It's fun. I save a ton of money on fule, and car costs.
    2. It is easy, and fun.
    3. Start off slow, 1 or 2 days a week, and enjoy yourself.
    Not too much to say here

  20. #20
    www.chipsea.blogspot.com ChipSeal's Avatar
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    All very good answers! I would only add one idea to question three:

    Don't get stuck thinking the commute is all or nothing. Take the bike to work in your car and ride home, perhaps. Or take the bike in the car partway and bike the rest as you get used to commuting.

    If I were talking to someone interested in getting started I would expand on this theme. If you take the car partway, you can park in such a way as to have a mostly downhill ride after work. Check the weather, and park so you'll have tailwinds after work!
    Vehicular cycling techniques have not been tried and found difficult. They have been presumed difficult and not tried.

  21. #21
    circus bear ban guzzi's Avatar
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    1. Did it to start losing weight. And I wasn't allowed to ride my MCs' due to a back injury and a broken foot. Best PT I've ever done...

    2. I'm 37 going on 7 EVERY time I throw a leg over any of my bikes...

    3. Do it! Proper bike fit, appropriate clothing, tools (patch kit, tube, phone if needed). Pick random place to ride to at first. A bit more each day. Don't worry about the miles, go for enjoyment...
    Car Free Life.
    Riding without a brake is like saying that you trust traffic. ~ jonestr

  22. #22
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    [QUOTE=tate65;5719634]

    1. Why did you start Commuting?
    1. To save money not only on gas but also on wear & tear on my car; to consolidate my workout and commute; to be able to look forward to my ride home; to avoid the boredom of driving home

    2. If you could tell everyone out there one thing about bicycle commuting what would it be?
    That if you drive a car then you can apply your knowledge of the rules of the road to riding a bicycle because a bicycle is as a non-motorized vehicle

    3. What would you tell people interested in commuting to help them get started?
    Educate yourself about your rights and responsibilities as a street cyclist; you can do this by taking a class with your local bike advocacy group and you can refer to books or online resources about street cycling skills. This will teach you how to street cycle which will give you confiidence. From there you can start riding within your comfort level and that level will increase rapidly in the weeks and months to come. Learn what streets in your locale are best for cycling and start planning your bike commute. Scout the streets you're considering for your bike commute by driving them first and, if they seem safe, start biking them. Once you've scouted and biked parts of your route you're ready to start bike commuting.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member Lot's Knife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tate65 View Post
    Second is it doesn't take a special bike, cloths or equipment to do it. Any bike can be used all you need it a few simple items to make it safe and successful, a helmet, some inexpensive lights, and awareness.
    I think your answers are terrific. I must quibble with the implication that commuting is "unsafe" without a helmet. One billion Chinese and 16 million Dutchmen don't see it that way, and neither do I.

  24. #24
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    1. I started partly to justify the brand new bike I had bought, and really got into it when my car was being repaired. I've found that it's faster and less aggravating to go by bike.

    2. Ride smart, ride defensively, make yourself visible, and you'll have no problems.

    3. A lot of other cyclists have really good recommendations -- learn your rights and responsibilities, scout possible routes by car, get a bike that fits you well ($$$ doesn't matter), get safety gear to make yourself visible and reduce downtime from flats & repairs, etc. The one who said "I'm 37, going on 7, every time I get on my bike," had a good way of describing why so many of us like biking, too.

  25. #25
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    1.The day I found out I was type 2 diabetic my car broke down. It was a sign to get back on the bike.

    2. I would tell people to plan before riding.

    3. The pros outweigh the cons. It is not as difficult as it looks.


    Gas, the price of a can of beans.

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