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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 10-17-00, 09:48 PM   #1
mike
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There are a lot of motivations for commuting by bicycle.

Some do it just because they like biking.

Others do it for environmental reasons or for the economics.

Something bizarre compels us to bicycle when most of us have automobile alternatives.

I like all the reasons, but mostly, I just love getting exercise outside to start my day. Days that I cannot bicycle to work are bad days for me.

Usually, I am the only person at work who noticed which way the wind is blowing each day. I have a reason to pay attention to the weather forecast on the morning news. I actually think about what I am having for breakfast to make sure it is just the right amount of fuel to get me to work and keep me going until lunch, but I have to be careful not to eat too much or else the ride becomes human suffering 101.

What is your motivation to commute by bicycle?
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Old 10-18-00, 08:52 AM   #2
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Individuality among all the anonymous cars.

My motivation to bike to work is to get to work and make money, not that my job makes me any money but that's a story for the disgruntled employees forum.
I bike to work because it wakes me up in the morning and it releases tension from a long stressful 12 hour day at the office on the ride home. I wish my ride home was longer. If I sprint, I can get to work in 9 minutes. Sometimes on the way home I'll detour through the busiest parts of downtown for fun.
Another motivation is that people actually notice me when I'm biking. Cars are so anonymous. They remind me of the poor pesant-workers marching to work in metropolis. On my bike I'm free from such bleak anonymity.
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Old 10-18-00, 10:37 AM   #3
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That is a new one "bike for attention"

I like that one, Chris. "Bike to get noticed".

Just today one of my colleagues at work came up to me and said, "Hey, I saw you biking on Main Street last night."

It happens all the time. However, I don't recall anybody ever telling me that they noticed my car driving somewhere (although they might notice it parked somewhere which might not always be a good thing...).

Good original answer kittyfurry.
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Old 10-18-00, 04:39 PM   #4
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I need my fix

I do it simply because I'm addicted to cycling, and I won't get to ride every day if I don't commute.

Chris
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Old 10-31-00, 01:45 PM   #5
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Stress Buster

My commute amounts to an hour of saddle time each way, or about 32 miles round trip. (I typically do this on tue/wed/thu, and motorcycle to work on mon & fri.)

Why? Well, you know how sometimes you get home from work all stressed and p*ssed off at the world?

Not me. My stress gets shredded and left out on the trail somewhere. Once home, I'm just happy to be there.
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Old 11-02-00, 09:21 AM   #6
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motvation

What motovates me to ride to work?

A classified number of pounds of ugly fat, for one.
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Old 11-25-00, 08:33 PM   #7
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Enjoyment!

I commute for the excerise and all the other benefits, but the best reason is that I get to look at my bike during the day and know that I get to ride home. There is a benefit to my mind of being the only person to ride. With the money I save on gas, I can buy the cold weather clothes that I want to ride during the winter.
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Old 11-26-00, 06:43 AM   #8
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Exactly!

Mikeburg expressed it exactly. Biking to work affords you the thought of something besides work - like riding home - not just being home.

Smokers have it figured out - they go outside for breaks. The rest of us tend to work straight through without breaks. Now, I like to take a break once in awhile just to pop outside and have a quick look at my bike - maybe do some quick safety checks or just grip the handle bars. I can think about the swoop home after work. I look at the flags and consider if I will be pumping into the wind or have the wind at my back. It is good to have a look at the weather and consider the challenge of riding home in a frothy rainstorm, a blender blizzard, or better yet a nice sunshiny summer day.

It is also fun to count the money I save by not driving a car which justifies purchases like clothes or bike stuff, or even new bikes.

Mike



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Old 11-26-00, 05:09 PM   #9
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I wanna go outside and play and forget I'm an old fart.
I still feel I'm playing on my bike.
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Old 11-27-00, 04:48 AM   #10
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before I started commuting to work :

I was overweight
I had very high cholesterol (that is what started me off in fact)
I had a stress/anxiety problem at work
I had no time for myself, let alone to exercise.
I had sleeping problems

I started commuting to work and :

I was loosing one kilogram a week until I stabled out to 65Kgs, which, at my height, is in fact almost underweight.

My cholesterol level went down from 8.9 to 4.1 (8.9 was a very high risk level, anything below 5.5 is optimal)

I am not stressed anymore, my life took a very positive turning, I wake up in the morning looking forward to my ride, and enjoy every minute of my ride back home.

I get to do my daily workout without having to sacrifice an hour to spend at the gym, or wherever. (and it actually does not take any longer to get home by bike, since I get home bang in the rush hour)

My sleeping problems disappeared.

bonus points :

I spend very little money on fuel and car maintenance these days - I am saving up loads on that - I've heard people saying that cycling can turn out as expensive as commuting my car - which is certainly not the case for me, but even if it were - what's more exiting - spending your dosh on a smelly liquid poured down a tank, or buying a new goodie for your bike ??

I feel good about myself being able to 'self power' myself around, not having to rely on other forms of power to transport my body.

I get the kicks beating bad weather

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Old 11-29-00, 09:24 AM   #11
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All of the above!

I have wanted to try riding to work for almost 20 years, but I thought my wife would try to have me committed. The commute is not that far on a bike, but New Orleans is not exactly bike friendly, more like bike hostile. For the last couple of years my wife has been a faithful exerciser, and has developed some different attitudes. I started riding (don't laugh) my daughter's mountain bike. It wasn't great, but it got me interested again, and I remembered why I loved to ride when I was young. It seemed like my wife might be receptive so one day I got up the nerve to tell her I thought I would try riding to work. She thought it would be a great idea as long as I thought I could work out safe routes. I already had.
I started commuting on the same cheap mountain bike I had been riding. It soon became obvious that for 20 mile round trip (9 in, 11 home) commuting, a better-fitting bike was in order, so after doing some research, i got a Giant Cypress DX. Compared to what I had been riding, this relatively inexpensive bike feels like it moves by itself.
Anyway, way off track here. I like commuting by bike for pretty much all of the same reasons already mentioned - weight loss, fitness, cleaner air, etc.. But mainly, I guess, fun and a certain independence from the automobile. As some others have suggested, I look forward to my ride home every day. I take scenic back streets and ride a couple of miles on a bike path by the lake. On the ride to work in the morning, I am hurrying a little to get in to work. But on the way home, I just enjoy the ride, though I do try to keep my cadence up most of the time.
I like the idea of providing my own power. There is a certain satisfaction in knowing that I can pretty much ride anywhere I want to go or at least most of the places I go on a regular basis. Interesting story that shows how much we take our cars for granted. Monday, after my 11-mile ride home, I changed clothes and jumped in the car to run two errands, both of which were within one mile from my house. As I was driving the question arose in my mind, "What's wrong with this picture?" At the very least, I could have just done the errands on the way home.
I also enjoy people's reaction at work the first time they see me in my little blue helmet, getting ready for the ride home. They always ask the same questions: You are going to ride all the way home? How far is that? I try to tell them that 9 or 10 miles is not that far on a bike, but the still think I am a little "different." That's OK; I like being a little different.
Well, I have gone on far too long. I am glad to have found this group. I look forward to participating in the discussions.
Regards,
Raymond
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Old 11-29-00, 10:46 AM   #12
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Welcome, Raymond!

Welcome to the beautiful world of the bicycle commuter. I liked you posting.

If you are commuting 9 or 10 miles each way, then you are a champion league commuter. Glad to see you got off of that mountain bike, though. That must have been torture.

There are a lot of good reasons to bicycle commute like "save the planet", get excersize, save money, etcetera.

However, I believe that the one thing that separates the people who actually bicycle commute from those good intentioned others who just talk about it is the enjoyment factor. Those who enjoy the ride to work do it and those who are too far or have bad routes, or are just not motivated get in the car.

Mike
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Old 12-25-04, 11:41 PM   #13
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Hi, everyone,

I just registered and this is my very first post! I've been bike-commuting for about 2 1/2 years now, on a Diamondback Crestview hybrid, about 5 mi each way. I live in Maine, but generally can continue biking all winter, in clear weather. I have been able to dress for any temperature so far (including sub-zero F), but I don't feel ready for studded tires, so I don't ride when the roads are messy.

The main reason I bike is environmental. I enjoy it too, of course, but I have never been a very active outdoor person, and before this hadn't ridden much since college. I'm blessed with a good metabolism, so I don't really need to in terms of weight, although of course I am more cardiovascularly fit than I used to be. It took about two weeks to notice I wasn't breathing so hard at the end of the ride anymore. (Ironically, my blood pressure has gone up since I started, but my doctor and I think that is coincidental, since I have a family history of that and am 38.)

So although I enjoy riding, the main reason is still environmental and political. I don't think our oil reliance is environmentally sustainable or politically wise. I started riding in the summer of 2002, partly as a personal response to 9/11, although I was already environmental before that. (I also checked out public transportation and carpooling, and discovered that neither of those are good options where I live.) I know that one person won't "save the world", but one person can set an example, and lots of people add up. I think many people do feel uncomfortable with our society's reliance on oil and cars, but it takes an effort to overcome peer pressure and inertia. I simply reached a point where I felt ready to do this: I had just moved closer to my work anyway (I used to live ~20 miles out), 9/11 had us all thinking about being better people (at least for a while), and I'm getting old enough to not care so much what other people think. I thought it was time to prove to myself, if no one else, that there are alternatives. So, here I am.

Nice to find this forum (via Google "bicycle commuter discussion forum") and meet you all!
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Old 12-26-04, 12:00 AM   #14
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Bike commuting is less frustating than stop & go traffic, plus I get exercise that I normally wouldn't get, without it taking much additional time in my day.
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Old 12-26-04, 07:14 AM   #15
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I hate driving and love cycling. The time it would take to drive versus cycle is comparable, but because I don't have to worry about finding parking when I cycle, I save time (I park right outside my workplace). I only have to put gas in my car once a month, if that. I love it.
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Old 12-26-04, 09:18 AM   #16
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Well, I ride mostly because a parking place where I work costs over $250 per month! I also hate driving, hate sitting in traffic and hate our air pollution and our dependence on foreign oil (or domestic oil which requires drilling in our beautiful wilderness areas). There are also the health benefits, although I run so I really don't need the exercise, so that's a minor issue for me. I live a bit too far away from work (8 miles) to run every day. I enjoy biking for it's own sake but mostly long rides away from the city so while commuting is better than nothing it doesn't really satisfy my need to bike.
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Old 12-26-04, 09:44 AM   #17
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All of the above!!

also, the fact that each evening I think, could I get away with spending the time to ride all the way home?? (16 mile commute, usually part lite rail...)

I never thought, could I get away with spending more time in rush hour traffic in my car...
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Old 12-26-04, 11:32 AM   #18
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Fun, excercise(no need to go to the gym) and overall health, sense of accomplishment, good feeling about doing my part for the environment. In that order.
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Old 12-26-04, 12:00 PM   #19
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Ah, a russurected thread. Well I wasn't around when it was born so I'll post on it.

Before I started bike commuting, I was using public transportation, which my job paid for then and would still pay for if I used it as my main commuting method. They will not pay for my biking. (I should admit that they do provide free bike racks, but I use a locker that I rent for 50/yr, and that there is a fitness center I use for changes and showers at ~25 a month, I doubt that it is a money making deal for them). So commuting to work by bike really isn't an economical decision for me unless perhaps you start speculating about health benefits and future health care costs. I first did it in order to get a little exercise and to have a little more autonomy that I have with public transportation. Then I found that it was just fun and I became aware of the environmental benefits. Since I started commuting, I got rid of my car and some utility trips are done on the bike. So overall I think there is an economic benefit. But speaking strictly of commuting motivations, in rank order,

exercise,
fun,
autonomy,
environmental.
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Old 12-26-04, 12:10 PM   #20
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In order:

Economics - I have a new (to me) RAV-4, and I like it a lot. If I drive it to work every day, that's 10k miles a year...that's a lot of gas, and a lot of wear and tear on my car. If I'm driving somewhere, I want it to be miles that lead to enjoyment.

Health - I am in sorry shape, compared to how I was ten years ago ... every day of cycling gets me that much closer to where I was, and slows down the overall aging effect. As well, my body craves healthy food when I ride, and crap when I don't ride.

Environment - We can't count on the current US administration to look out for the environment, so it's up to us. This is how I contribute.

Gadgetry! - Ooh, do I love buying cool, shiny little things to put on my pretty bike. And I'm one of those guys that loves tools, and loves maintaning my gear, be it my musical equipment, my car, or...my '02 Jamis Nova! Yeah!
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Old 12-26-04, 12:44 PM   #21
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Because I CAN!
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Old 12-26-04, 01:00 PM   #22
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Good god, someone dragged up the corpse of a thread over 4 years old...
Anyway, I commute cause I don't have to be jammed into a subway with 4000 other sweaty overweight people plus it's 2x faster by bike, I get exercise, it really wakes me up, I'm consistent, and it's FUN.
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Old 12-26-04, 01:28 PM   #23
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I like riding up along side young women motorists stopped at traffic signals so I can check out their legs.
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Old 12-26-04, 02:56 PM   #24
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Its better to resurrect this thread than to start a brand new one of the same topic.

I commute by bike for physical and mental health.
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Old 12-26-04, 03:18 PM   #25
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Partly because it is fun to hear my co-workers oooh and aaaahh over me when I come in looking like the spandex warrior...
Partly because it helps me to gain strength and lose fat...
Partly because it saves me tons of money in gas...
And mostly because it keeps me sane and is an incredible way to wake up prior to work and to blow off steam after work.
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