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.