I started commuting regularly about September 16, 2001, to boycott mideast oil (fighting terrorism by cutting their supply lines--oil revenue). I made 100 days in 2002, 125 in 2003, 166 in 2004, and am searching for a personal record again this year (2005). In 2003 I bought a new Trek 4300 to replace the 25-year-old Raleigh Grand Prix. It is "tricked out" with the ultimate sign of a serious commuter, the classic milk crate attached to the rear rack.
I am three-season certified. I can ride in the dark, in the rain, and in cold down to zero degrees. I ride in the winter when the main roads are plowed to the curb, but I have not yet gone through snow. My brother the biker is helping me set up a dedicated winter beater, and when that is on-line with studded tires, I will be four-season certified.
I keep myself motivated by fussing with my gear. I made a home-made headlight out of PVC pipe and a 20-watt halogen spotlight from the hardware store. It gets, along with the home-made tail light, two hours of run time from a five amp-hour battery carried in a box strapped to the frame. I look like a dork on the bike, but the add-ons reduce its theft appeal, I hope.
I also motivate myself through considering the "belt levels" of bicycle commuting, and considering making myself little patches when I reach the various levels. I have identified the following:
First "kyu" through fifth kyu (the colored belts) would be riding one, two, three, four, or five days a week in the three main summer months for one's hemisphere.
First "dan" or black belt would be riding at night.
Second black belt would be riding in the rain.
Third would be riding in the cold down to zero degrees.
Fourth would be riding through an accumulation of snow.
Three levels above fourth would be for activities that demonstrate to the public that bicycles have serious utility use and are not just for recreation.
Fifth degree would be doing a major grocery store run on a bike. This would be several bags of groceries, and not just a loaf of bread in the backpack.
Sixth degree would be going on a date on a bike.
And, the seventh degree black belt of utility cycling, one that never (to my knowledge) has been reached by anyone, would be...picking up one's teenage daughter from high school on a bike.