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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 03-03-12, 11:40 PM   #1
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Vocalized about wanting to commute to work

So tonight I told my wife about wanting to commute to work and getting everything set up so I could. She basically told me she does not want me to do that because she will worry about me.

I honestly don't understand her reason behind that thought. I had a motorcycle and sold it to get my mountain bike. I even told her that I am not wanting to stop motorcycling, but I choose cycling over motorcycles. She was thrilled, all excited that "she won't have to worry about me anymore". She was constantly worried about my making it to my destination safely when I had the motorcycle.

Now I said I was wanting to commute, she played the worried card again. She even mentioned rush hour traffic and how dangerous it is. I simply stated that since I work night shift, I will be going against the bulk of the traffic, so it shouldn't be a problem.

In the end she just got quiet, not wanting to talk.

My question to you is, what would be a good way to get her in my corner? I can't play the money card because I know she would say "I'd rather spend extra money knowing you get there safe". When, in all honesty, I am just as likely to get killed in a car as I am on a bike. I also know that when I leave work, I am exhausted half the time. I've had to slap myself in the face on occasion to keep awake. On a bike, you get your blood flowing and you are wide awake for the ride home. Also I am more alert and observant in general on a bicycle than in a car.

Any ideas? I just don't want her to shut down on me, I want her to support the decision. I mean I like riding so much I want to do it on the way to work, I don't see that as a bad thing. Plus if traffic gets bad, I have plenty of sidewalks/shoulders I can get on to get out of the main flow.
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Old 03-04-12, 12:26 AM   #2
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My wife worries too. I don't think there is anything I can do to make it stop. But, I commute every day. She worried about me surfing too, even though I just go out in 1-2ft waves. After a few summers, and no problems, she stopped worrying. As for commuting, I think the same thing is happening. She doesn't really mention it anymore. I think she still worries, though. Maybe it's something we just have to live with.

I know there is risk in commuting, but the risk from not exercising is more obvious to me. I tell this to my wife. She still worries. ; )
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Old 03-04-12, 12:52 AM   #3
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Go out of your way to fred your bike up with lights, an air zound, reflective tape, vest, helmet the whole nine yards. Maybe if she sees that you plan on being as safe as possible she will worry about you less. Plus it's fun to buy stuff for your bike.
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Old 03-04-12, 12:58 AM   #4
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Tell her that the lowering of your heart attack risk easily compensates for any additional risk of riding.

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Old 03-04-12, 01:17 AM   #5
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Does she do any riding on her own? She may not realize how alive one becomes when propelling their self under their own power.
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Old 03-04-12, 01:27 AM   #6
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When a loved one reacts emotionally, it's all but impossible to craft an intellectual argument. All you can really do to convince her is demonstrate how safe you'll be by arriving home in one piece every day.
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Old 03-04-12, 02:12 AM   #7
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There a few studies out there that show cycling will overall extend your life. Probably the best way to get her to help out. Plus cycling is way less expensive than a coronary bypass operation.

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-by-five-years

plus searches in A&S and google should help you find others studies.
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Old 03-04-12, 02:48 AM   #8
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Not sure what kind of mobile phone you have if any, or if you'd feel comfortable. But if you have smart phones that support google latitude you could use that so she is able to see where you are at. Then at least if she was worried or you were running late she can see where you are at and that you are still moving along.
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Old 03-04-12, 03:01 AM   #9
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Not sure what kind of mobile phone you have if any, or if you'd feel comfortable. But if you have smart phones that support google latitude you could use that so she is able to see where you are at. Then at least if she was worried or you were running late she can see where you are at and that you are still moving along.
This person was paid off by your wife to have you electronically tagged.
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Old 03-04-12, 04:16 AM   #10
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My wife shares the same concern especially since I have to ride through the most dangerous town in the USA... Camden, NJ. Deaths almost out weight births. Shoots all over the place, etc.

But that would not stop me. I needed to commute for the exercise. And when my mind is set, no one can stop me. Just how I am.

But to help her understand and feel better I do the following:

- text her when I am about ready to leave and when I get to work. Doing this will really help her feel better.
- Map out the route for her and addresses a long the way.
- I drove her some of the route before
- Use quality lights and reflective gear!

At the end of the day, it was my choice and it is yours too.
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Old 03-04-12, 04:56 AM   #11
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Maybe take her for a drive on your planned route so she can see just what the traffic is like. That being said, Houston is the worst place in the world I've ever been for cycle commuting. The place was designed for cars, and cars only.
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Old 03-04-12, 07:14 AM   #12
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So tonight I told my wife about wanting to commute to work and getting everything set up so I could. She basically told me she does not want me to do that because she will worry about me…

… She even mentioned rush hour traffic and how dangerous it is. I simply stated that since I work night shift, I will be going against the bulk of the traffic, so it shouldn't be a problem…

My question to you is, what would be a good way to get her in my corner? I can't play the money card because I know she would say "I'd rather spend extra money knowing you get there safe…

Plus if traffic gets bad, I have plenty of sidewalks/shoulders I can get on to get out of the main flow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Does she do any riding on her own? She may not realize how alive one becomes when propelling their self under their own power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fastbartender View Post
Go out of your way to fred your bike up with lights, an air zound, reflective tape, vest, helmet the whole nine yards. Maybe if she sees that you plan on being as safe as possible she will worry about you less...
I'm a hard-core, year-round reverse commuter and my domestic situation is that my wife (and son) are happy to see me commute because we have one car, and it’s freed up for them. One car is not so much a money issue, but we just don’t need N+1. Nonetheless money saved plus convenience for the other drivers in the family works for me. Even beyond that, my wife and I were bicycle tourists for years, including a cross-country ride, so she understands.

I won't rake over the all the benefits of cycle commuting as an argument, but I’m occasionally confronted by people at work who do question my safety, sometimes even with hostility because they fear the possibility of hitting me. I do list all my safety precautions and safe routes. Adding to the above Fredliness argument I would urge a rearview mirror; I even use left and right eyeglass mirrors. Also while I avoid sidewalk riding as much as possible, I have done it on high density, fast, heavy commercial routes.

I once posted about one rather unique line of reasoning to counter the safety argument, that I believe is valid:

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I deal with those comments too. Besides describing all my safety precautions and the relative safety of my routes, one other unique response was suggested on a prior thread. Just point out that from the vantage point of a car driver, a cyclist looks pretty unprotected and in danger, whereas the cyclist might feel pretty secure in traffic, and is quite aware of the surroundings

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 03-04-12 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 03-04-12, 08:08 AM   #13
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I actually just had a friend comment that it was suicidal that I was even thinking about it. Then again, he isn't very comfortable on his bike. He rides some, but not like we do.
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Old 03-04-12, 08:10 AM   #14
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I was really struggling with myself as to whether to chime in early and conserve valuable broadband resource or stay amused for a bit longer by discussion that is absolutely destined to run in circles. OK, here we go again, Mars-Venus moment.

Every single one of you has offered a SOLUTION. OK, so noted. When will Y-chromosomed folks understand that we are intelligent enough to see the solutions ourselves and offering another one comes across as patronizing?

What she needs is to VALIDATE her feelings, something along the lines "Honey, I would be worried too". And at least try to sound sincere. She puts up with aforementioned patronizing, she's gotta love you, that's why she is worried. While in the process of acknowledging her fears, try to abstain from offering reasons why it is safe. How to find the right words - well, it is time to exercise that muscle between your ears. Only chefisaac stumbled upon partial understanding how it is done.

Of course, there always is that strong silent way of doing things - heading into the traffic without saying a word and asking forgiveness is optional. Is anybody willing to venture a guess how many booty points this approach is doing to get?

chefisaac - C-
the rest - F
Class dismissed

SF
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Old 03-04-12, 08:46 AM   #15
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Would your wife feel better about commuting if you agreed to take a bike safety course?
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Old 03-04-12, 09:01 AM   #16
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I agree with caloso that you really can't convince someone who is reacting from an emotional standpoint. To counteract that tell her how much money you are saving that can now be spent on her .
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Old 03-04-12, 09:09 AM   #17
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All of these responses to the OP are great. I say just go ahead and start riding, and as the thought of you commuting via bicycle gets into her "comfort zone" she will accept it and life will go on. The only way to prove to her how safe bicycle commuting is, is just to do it - she's not going to listen to the logic, but a year from now when she's used to it she'll be cool.
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Old 03-04-12, 09:41 AM   #18
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..... just go ahead and start riding,...
This is my personal thought.


Quote:
.......she will accept it...

(wrong answer buzzer screaming loudly in background)


"Tolerate" would be the correct answer.
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Old 03-04-12, 10:24 AM   #19
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I was really struggling with myself as to whether to chime in early and conserve valuable broadband resource or stay amused for a bit longer by discussion that is absolutely destined to run in circles. OK, here we go again, Mars-Venus moment.

Every single one of you has offered a SOLUTION. OK, so noted. When will Y-chromosomed folks understand that we are intelligent enough to see the solutions ourselves and offering another one comes across as patronizing?

What she needs is to VALIDATE her feelings, something along the lines "Honey, I would be worried too". And at least try to sound sincere. She puts up with aforementioned patronizing, she's gotta love you, that's why she is worried. While in the process of acknowledging her fears, try to abstain from offering reasons why it is safe. How to find the right words - well, it is time to exercise that muscle between your ears. Only chefisaac stumbled upon partial understanding how it is done.

Of course, there always is that strong silent way of doing things - heading into the traffic without saying a word and asking forgiveness is optional. Is anybody willing to venture a guess how many booty points this approach is doing to get?

chefisaac - C-
the rest - F
Class dismissed

SF
Been married 35 years. You've almost got it right. Offering solutions to appease is fruitless. Neither is giving up what you want. Validating irrational thought is not helpful. Sometimes being supportive means suggesting, in a loving and caring manner, that negative and irrational fears be channeled in a more productive manner. As you point out, they're capable of intelligent solutions for themselves.
Frankly, some of the solutions being offered would be more appropriate for a child.
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Old 03-04-12, 10:56 AM   #20
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Tell her you are worried about her car driving and watching television. Studies have shown that watching television is actually pretty dangerous over the longterm. And car driving is one of the most dangerous activities we do. In the US, there are some 40,000 people a year who die behind a wheel. (And that's not your bicycle wheel.)
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Old 03-04-12, 10:58 AM   #21
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Been married 35 years. You've almost got it right. Offering solutions to appease is fruitless. Neither is giving up what you want. Validating irrational thought is not helpful. Sometimes being supportive means suggesting, in a loving and caring manner, that negative and irrational fears be channeled in a more productive manner. As you point out, they're capable of intelligent solutions for themselves.
Frankly, some of the solutions being offered would be more appropriate for a child.
So the OP should tell her to get over it?
That might work as well as anything else.
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Old 03-04-12, 11:03 AM   #22
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Years ago my GF of 2 weeks expressed her fear about me cycle-commuting because of the danger factor. My reply was that I'd been doing it at least 20 years on and off and I was comfortable in traffic. Her reply was that she wasn't comfortable w/me in traffic. So, I thought it over and said that as we weren't too deep into the relationship maybe she needed to look elsewhere because I wasn't going to stop to appease her fear. That was in 2004. We married in 2007 and had never had another conversation about the subject.

Obviously, the OP's situation is different, but I believe the answer is the same. Do what you want and the people around you will adjust. Or not. Either way do what you want.
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Old 03-04-12, 11:33 AM   #23
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So the OP should tell her to get over it?
That might work as well as anything else.
Saying,"Get over it" is a bit harsh.
Something along the lines of... I hope you can find how this is beneficial to me, and ultimately for you. If there is anything I can do to help, let me know.
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Old 03-04-12, 11:33 AM   #24
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I think my wife got over her fear of my commuting after I started riding all night for randonneuring.
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Old 03-04-12, 12:24 PM   #25
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You could offer to take out a 1 million dollar life insurance policy with a double indemnity clause for accidental death.
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