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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.

View Poll Results: What is your primary reason for commuting by bike- list others in your post.
Gas prices are my primary reason. 14 10.00%
Congestion is my primary reason- incl. traffic, parking etc. 15 10.71%
Environmental concerns are my primary reason. 26 18.57%
Recreation and fun are my primary reasons. 64 45.71%
None of the above- see post. 21 15.00%
Voters: 140. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-02-07, 01:04 PM   #1
buzzman
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Gas prices vs Congestion

There's a lot of talk about gas prices these days and how they are influencing people to commute by bike.


I think that it certainly factors in but my car gets close to 40 mpg and the commute is only 10 miles each way so actually it doesn't add up to a ton of money: $1.50/round trip. Even if my car get 20 mpg it's still only $3/round trip...people spend that on coffee per/day.

What I really hate is driving in traffic and I hate looking for a place to park in downtown Boston or Cambridge or any other congested area. To park in Boston is prohibitive and if the meter runs out it means a guaranteed ticket unless the parking gods are really on your side. Being stuck in traffic and to then have to negotiate downtown streets either circling for 1/2 an hour for a metered spot or just giving in and paying an outrageous amount at a garage or lot is a bigger factor.

It could mean a few things:

#1 That even reduced gas prices or cars with even better mileage will not solve many of the issues that make driving undesirable. Even if cars ran on water it wouldn't solve the problem of too many cars and not enough room for them.

#2 That the reduction in use of fossil fuels and emissions is actually a secondary benefit and not a primary reason for some bike commuters.

So here's my poll, choose the primary reason even if yours may be a combination of many.

edit: funny thing is as I just went to vote on the poll I realized that, for me, environmental concerns sums up a lot of them.

Last edited by buzzman; 12-02-07 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 12-02-07, 01:18 PM   #2
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I bike for exercise first and as a means of transport 2nd...however, with prices rising...my motivation seems to be changing Traffic was originally lighter when the prices spiked...now it seems worse than ever around Seattle...esp the interstates such as 90 and 405 WTF?
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Old 12-02-07, 01:22 PM   #3
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I voted environmental concerns, though honestly they all play a role. I would have to go into debt to own a car right now (I'm in college) but it's amazing how many of my peers do just that.

Also, I'm somewhat phillosophically oposed to both the idea that one should be able to go anywhere with almost no physical effor and that an enormous machine is needed to transport one or two people.

And of course it helps that I really like to ride. I can understand why it would be a struggle for people who don't like to ride to even consider ditching the car keys once in a while. I do think that excercise may play as much of a role in getting people to ride as environmental and monetary concerns, though I have no statistical evidence to back this up.
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Old 12-02-07, 01:24 PM   #4
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I sold my car.
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Old 12-02-07, 01:29 PM   #5
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Gas prices don't really play much of a roll for me. I still have to drive a portion of my commute as it's just too long for me to ride (25 miles one way) so I end up saving $1.50 per trip. I'm pretty sure that cycling causes me to eat more than that. The environment is another concern of mine while I don't think I'm doing much to help it, I do think I do a little to reduce the amount I hurt it. Mostly, my main reason for commuting is that I really enjoy being outside and riding along with the benefits of this physical exercise is an added benefit.
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Old 12-02-07, 01:36 PM   #6
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I don't think gas prices will change anything. I remember thinking that one day, gas was going to pass ONE DOLLAR A GALLON. A mind boggelling concept for the time. There's more people in cars now than then.

Congestion might help. If it takes longer to drive somewhere than walk or ride, maybe that'll get people out of a car, but those who do get out won't all get on a bike, but some might.

My story is: my daughter had just been born with critical medical problems and I had just started a new job that I couldn't afford to risk losing by not showing up.

We only had 1 car and my wife needed it to be at the hospital with my 3 year old son.

The bus took 1 hour to get to work, going slow on the bike took 45 minutes (and cost less than the bus fare - it was free)

I got the bug and stuck with it.

22 1/2 years later, I figure I'll be spending my entire career commuting by bike.

Last edited by closetbiker; 12-02-07 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 12-02-07, 01:53 PM   #7
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I don't have a car, or a driver's license for that matter. Where I live, I don't really need one. This is a small college town where I only have to get to work, school and home. One of these days before I graduate I'll have to get a driver's license, maybe. I'm able to save a ton of money without a car though. No insurance, maintenance or gas!
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Old 12-02-07, 02:06 PM   #8
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All of the above.
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Old 12-02-07, 02:23 PM   #9
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I'm too much of a tightwad to own a car.
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Old 12-02-07, 02:56 PM   #10
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Well for me, as some others, they all play a part. Biking to work and around town cuts my gas cost in half. Its great exercise, which is a great thing, especially in my case. Its more fun than driving around town, though I still love a 1000 mile roadtrip with a good mixtape and a friend or two
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Old 12-02-07, 03:05 PM   #11
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I voted environmental concerns, because that's the biggest reason I guess. Also important is that I need exercise, and that a car's non-gasoline expenses are high.
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Old 12-02-07, 03:17 PM   #12
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Aside from the cheap transport thing, I've always done it because it was fun.

As I approach 50, I've realized, that more important than fun, I've noticed I always feel better after a ride than before. No matter how tough the ride may have been.

Maybe those feelings were more muted 10 or 15 years ago than they are now as time is taking it's toll.

Last edited by closetbiker; 12-02-07 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 12-02-07, 03:19 PM   #13
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I love it.
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Old 12-02-07, 03:25 PM   #14
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Hmmm....

At work, parking isn't a problem since I have a reserved garage spot; same thing at home.

I'd answer "it's fun partly because I can avoid congestion" if I could.
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Old 12-02-07, 03:45 PM   #15
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Besides the savings in gas, maintenance and repairs, bicycling is a great stress reliever. At work, by the time I get to a stress level anywhere noticable, my coworkers have already jumped off the deep end.
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Old 12-02-07, 04:02 PM   #16
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Commuting by bike is a challenge. There are many obstacles, but they can be overcome.

Commuting by car is a frustration. There are many obstacles, and they can't be overcome. You have to just sit there and... sit there. That's about all you can do.

So maybe I go by bike because I have a crappy stereo.
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Old 12-02-07, 04:26 PM   #17
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I answered recreation/fun, but the main reason is health/exercise.
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Old 12-02-07, 04:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Commuting by car is a frustration. There are many obstacles, and they can't be overcome. You have to just sit there and... sit there. That's about all you can do.
That's what kills me about driving. There are just no other options.

I've actually taken to driving alternate routes with slower speeds at times because at least I feel like I'm supposed to be going slower. Being stuck on a freeway or major arterial in stop & go traffic is highly aggravating to me.

Being able to filter on a bike is probably the key ingredient to avoiding frustration.
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Old 12-02-07, 04:50 PM   #19
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health/exercise, then all of the above. Since collecting, fixing/upgrading, and riding bikes is my hobby I really don't save money. When my daughter graduates college and takes my current car I'll have a go at a one car family, and perhaps, save money.
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Old 12-02-07, 04:50 PM   #20
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For now many will just bite the bullet and pay they price of fuel.

However, that will change in time with a greater forced acceptance
of the mass transit and personal transport by bike. The time will come
when a fossil fueled cycle will be the Cadillac of the road & human/animal
powered vehicle will once again dominate the roads.

Until America kicks the oil/car addiction nothing will change.
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Old 12-02-07, 05:11 PM   #21
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I enjoy it. Plain and simple.

I can afford gas and own a van. I never see the van and go "omg! I can't wait to drive it!".
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Old 12-02-07, 05:19 PM   #22
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I'm surprised that exercise isn't listed, since it's certainly one of the major reasons people do it.

I started out for exercise, but I'm doing it now a little bit more for environmentalism than for exercise. Also it's fun. The money really doesn't enter into it. I have a very good working car and can easily afford to run it.

People at work assume I'm doing it to save money. I tell them I'd still ride my bike if cars and gas were both free and they get really confused. Actually I'd be even MORE determined to ride then, since everyone else would be stinking up the place like crazy.
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Old 12-02-07, 06:01 PM   #23
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Exercise. Somehow, I've gotta counteract the effects of working in front of a computer all day long... and this way I can do it while commuting, which is something I've got to do anyway.

Of the options given, though... congestion where I commute isn't so bad that it would make biking necessary.
Not a tree-hugger, but I do get some satisfaction in traveling under my own power (and maybe not contributing to problems any more than I do).
It is fun, though to be honest, this early in my commuting, I have to work at it!
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Old 12-02-07, 06:31 PM   #24
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Quote:
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I'm surprised that exercise isn't listed, since it's certainly one of the major reasons people do it...
yeah, I should have been more specific- I think exercise kind of falls under recreation.

The other categories that I overlooked seem to be either "economics" or "don't own a car" or even as in my own case "share one car between a couple or a family".

There are lots of times I ride because my wife is using the car or I meet up with her somewhere when she has the car.

Owning bikes and one car instead of two cars has probably saved us a lot of cash that I seldom even take into account.

But again gas prices are not really a primary motivating factor for me but I keep thinking it should be for some reason.
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Old 12-02-07, 07:58 PM   #25
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I first bike commuted just to save on wear and tear on my 2003 Ion, which has 110,000 miles on the odometer. I guess I don't visit the gas station as often, but the money I save is spent on other things, like bike stuff.
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