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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 12-11-13, 02:40 PM   #1
pdlamb
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More reasons to commute by bike

Drove home last night (for reasons not related to weather or cycling), so I had to drive back in today. It had frosted pretty heavily.

Bike commuting reason n+1: you don't have to scrape your windshield, or your wife's.

Traffic was unexpectedly heavy this morning in a couple of spots. It takes me 40-45 minutes to bike in. I've driven between work and home in as little as 12 minutes, one way. Today, it took 23. Plus scraping time.

Bike commuting reason n+2: you know just how long it's going to take to get to work, and you can plan on it.

Any other off-beat or uncommon reasons you want to share?
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Old 12-11-13, 02:49 PM   #2
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It's often easier to find a parking spot than in a car.

There are no traffic hold-ups (well, at least not to the extent that there is in a car)

I can do it even if I'm so tired or preoccupied I would be worried driving a ton or two of steel.

If my bike is trashed, at least it is easier to have the insurance pay out than if it was a car.

Even my cargo bike can fit in most reasonable elevators (lifts), so I can take it with me inside in a lot of places.

Not all bikes give me this feeling, but the bikes I have now are a joy to ride, so I actually enjoy the commute, the shopping, picking up my kid etc. - even if the weather seen from a car would make it seem awful to be out there riding a bike.
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Old 12-11-13, 02:53 PM   #3
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Any other off-beat or uncommon reasons you want to share?
Not off-beat really, but just not having to deal with the car (my car) at all is a huge N+1 (not ready to go car-less though) on a daily basis.

As you noted, knowing just how long (or approx. how long in my case) it takes to get to work is great too. My "approx." is because it really is a matter of now many red lights I hit which impacts which Metro train I get on (they run @ 10 min. intervals during rush hours) but on the other hand . . .

Not sure how bad your traffic is in "northern Deep South" but here in the Los Angeles area the freeway traffic is bad to very bad and getting worse quickly. Not having to deal with that at all is a HUGE n+2 for me.

Rick / OCRR
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Old 12-11-13, 03:12 PM   #4
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Enjoying the scenery. Riding home yesterday at the tail end of a snow storm they had the roads cleared and the weather forecasters must have scared most people into staying home or mass transit. So, very few cars and I got to relax and enjoy the new fallen snow instead of stressing about driving in it and the possibility of traffic jams. And actually riding in the am before sunrise I get to enjoy the X-mas lights so many people leave lit all night just for me.
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Old 12-11-13, 03:16 PM   #5
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I wrote about this in a post recently, but will repeat it here. I was riding home in a cold, misting rain one day when the clouds parted, the rain stopped, and the sun came out. As it warmed my face, I knew I would have missed the beauty of that moment had I been enclosed in the glass and metal of the car. I ride partly for these small graces of the bike.
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Old 12-11-13, 03:25 PM   #6
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Considering that my commute is 65 miles each way, combining the bike ride with a commuter train trip will add years to the life of my car, and I hate making car payments.
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Old 12-11-13, 03:43 PM   #7
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When you ride past a Christmas Tree lot, you can smell the trees.
I noticed this last week.
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Old 12-11-13, 03:47 PM   #8
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I wrote about this in a post recently, but will repeat it here. I was riding home in a cold, misting rain one day when the clouds parted, the rain stopped, and the sun came out. As it warmed my face, I knew I would have missed the beauty of that moment had I been enclosed in the glass and metal of the car. I ride partly for these small graces of the bike.
Exactly.
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Old 12-11-13, 03:53 PM   #9
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$3.129 per gallon for Regular. I smile as I ride by the gas station.

Unrelated rant. WHY do gas stations use that extra decimal point anyway? They claim it's for finer control of pricing, but has anyone ANYWHERE EVER used a number other than "9" for that last decimal point? Anyone???? Just call it $3.13, fer cryin' out loud!
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Old 12-11-13, 04:11 PM   #10
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$3.129 per gallon for Regular. I smile as I ride by the gas station.

Unrelated rant. WHY do gas stations use that extra decimal point anyway? They claim it's for finer control of pricing, but has anyone ANYWHERE EVER used a number other than "9" for that last decimal point? Anyone???? Just call it $3.13, fer cryin' out loud!
About $3.50 out here. $325/mo for a monthly rail pass is about what I would spend on gas to make the drive. $300 to $500 is the car payment I don't have to make if I'm not putting 200k miles on the damn thing over the life of the loan.

I think the penny, and possibly even the nickel are a waste of money to mint. When I was a kid, a nickel would buy a pack of Juicy Fruit. A dime would get a kid in to the Saturday Matinee to see The Absent Minded Professor. Adults were a quarter. I don't know what it is now, but there ain't much a nickel will get you, except holes in your pockets. I like the idea of a dollar coin too.

Last edited by CommuteCommando; 12-11-13 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 12-12-13, 03:41 PM   #11
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When you ride past a Christmas Tree lot, you can smell the trees.
I noticed this last week.
I'm going to have to find a Christmas tree lot to try this one out.
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Old 12-12-13, 07:43 PM   #12
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The road salt won't rot out your car as quickly. I've managed to keep my car for nearly 30 years.
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Old 12-12-13, 08:18 PM   #13
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When you ride past a Christmas Tree lot, you can smell the trees.
I noticed this last week.
I have noted stands of wild mint; usually in the early autumn, as I recall.
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Old 12-12-13, 08:35 PM   #14
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SAVINGS! SAVINGS! SAVINGS! $$$$$

SAVE $200/Mt gas + $80/Mt insurance + $400 maintenance/Yr

* All Auto Related Expenses

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Old 12-12-13, 09:03 PM   #15
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More reasons to commute by bike

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Any other off-beat or uncommon reasons you want to share?
Here’s a reason, and an added benefit to cycle commute. During my three decades of cycle commuting, I have developed a reputation that enhances my standing at work; I’ve even been called a “saint.” A particular motivation for me then is to ride to work in cold and/or wet weather to maintain that reputation and answer that perennial question that several people will ask me during the day, “You didn’t ride your bike today, did you?.”

Even at fancy work-related social affairs, I can always anticipate the question, “Did ya ride your bike here?.”
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Old 12-12-13, 09:18 PM   #16
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I drove today due to laziness, and I can think of a couple more reasons now why the bike is better:

I got mad several times on the way home. Mad at people who run their fog lights in the absence of fog, forcing me to flip up my rear view mirror, and mad at pickup drivers who always tailgate the person in front of them as if it is going to speed up the 400 cars in front of them.

Also, I was cold when I walked in the front door. Sitting motionless in a car requires geriatric temperatures.

Driving is lame.
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Old 12-13-13, 07:35 AM   #17
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Commuting by bike connects me to people around me. With no glare-causing windshield on my bike, everyone around can see me. With no passenger compartment, they can hear me. On my bike I can communicate with people around me, whether it's a quick wave to a neighbor or chatting at a red light with a pedestrian or cyclist whom I've never seen before.

Cars isolate; bicycles connect.

Cars encourage insular thinking. Turn on your favorite music, audio book, or news/talk/rant station and make your own little isolated world. You can even make your own weather if you don't like what the planet has to offer. Bikes encourage connecting with and appreciating the world around you.

It's not us-vs-them, though. One of the more common conversations I have when riding goes a lot like this "Excuse me, but did you know your left tail light isn't working?" "No, I didn't. Thanks." I can even connect with motorists better when on my bike.
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Old 12-13-13, 08:14 AM   #18
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Great thread.

When I ride to work I am feeling awake and energized vs. lethargic and dim when I ride in the car.

Same with going home. I have a few minutes to make the transition from work think to home think when I'm on my bike. I don't quite know why, but I don't make that transition as easily in a car.

+1 on small pleasures on a bike. I notice things like when the wind dies down a little in my face, picks up a little in the rear, when the sun comes out and warms in winter, or drops behind a cloud and the heat relents in summer. In a car I don't feel the wind or really notice the sun as much.
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Old 12-13-13, 08:17 AM   #19
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One other thing.

Ever since I was a kid I have enjoyed seeing my breath on cold mornings.
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Old 12-13-13, 09:00 AM   #20
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Bicycle commuting is key to keeping me fit for much less impact on managing my time. When I had a car back in the 90s it took an average of one hour to drive to work. I imagine it's still similar. The time did vary a lot and could be 45 minutes but a couple times a month I'd say, the drive was well over two hours. Bicycling, the same commute (different route of course) takes me just under one and a half hours. And as noted by others here, the time stays about the same day to day.

Fitness is important to me. If I weren't getting it commuting, I'd be doing a lot of bicycle riding recreationally. In fact, for years I used to get up and go ride 25 miles before coming home, having a shower, and driving to work. I finally learned to integrate exercise with my commute! Then I get even more bicycle riding in. My commute is 20 miles one way, so I've gone from 25 miles per day to 40 miles per day. And for much less impact on my daily schedule!

I'd be crazy not to commute on my bicycle.
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Old 12-13-13, 09:11 AM   #21
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It makes the commute fun.
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Old 12-13-13, 09:19 AM   #22
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$3.129 per gallon for Regular. I smile as I ride by the gas station.

Unrelated rant. WHY do gas stations use that extra decimal point anyway? They claim it's for finer control of pricing, but has anyone ANYWHERE EVER used a number other than "9" for that last decimal point? Anyone???? Just call it $3.13, fer cryin' out loud!
That's cheap.

I paid €1.99 per litre to fill up in Italy along the A1 while driving through Tuscany last Easter ... Autostrada del Sole (Motorway of the Sun!)

It was a VW Passat Avant Blue Motion Diesel with a 70l tank (18.5 US gallon)

It cost €120 to fill it (about $160) ... working out to 10.33 USD per US gallon.

Throw a couple espressi and sparkling for those not drinking in the back for those not driving and it was a 200 USD fuel service!
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Old 12-13-13, 09:28 AM   #23
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8 km drive to the south side during early rush hour... took just over an hour.

Had I been cycling it would have taken me less than half an hour despite the snowfall.

Mind you... it would have been harder to be dropping off and picking up bicycles at multiple locations.
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Old 12-13-13, 09:32 AM   #24
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When you ride past a Christmas Tree lot, you can smell the trees.
I noticed this last week.
Hell, I'm Jewish but I gotta try this!

I like the excersise but I'm also doing it for my mental health. Been warding off depression with a combination of cycling and running.
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Old 12-13-13, 10:13 AM   #25
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Yes, There is no denying the mental health benefits of riding inlcuding sense of accomplishment, endorphins, less stress due to slower pace, and then the ability to immediately "work off" any stress as it crops up. And the health benefits including cardio. Plus I notice my sinus allergy episodes are much, much fewer and far between, shorter in duration and less severe. In fact I cut out the steroid nasal sprays like Nasonex. After 10 min on the bike mike sinuses are open and flowing like Niagara Falls. My cholesterol and triglycerides are under control and my cholesterol meds dose is lower. During my year-off from biking due to injury I was back to bouts of melencholy, lethargy and physical discomfort topped by chronic sinus headaches.

And what about variety? From what I read on BF, many folks including me like to vary their bike route. But when driving, it seems most folks stick to one route.

Even walking to take the bus feels better than driving.
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