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Psychological milestone in the evolution of a bike commuter

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Psychological milestone in the evolution of a bike commuter

Old 01-05-07, 08:10 PM
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swwhite
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Psychological milestone in the evolution of a bike commuter

This afternoon at work I took a break to surf the internet for sites claiming that global warming is a hoax. I found one columnist for the Denver Post who said something along the lines of how he would need a lot more proof before he would get out on a bicycle.

Later, around 5:30, I was preparing to leave by lying on the floor of my cubicle to banish a little stomach ache (nothing serious--nerves/hunger) and since I was not feeling my best I started to think that I wasn't looking forward to going out in 36-degree weather, in the dark, to spend 45+ minutes riding home. Then, for a second, I flashed on an image of myself driving home, sitting there while the car moves, waiting at stop lights, maneuvering through rush-hour traffic, and all that stuff that goes with operating a piece of heavy equipment just to transport myself home 20 minutes faster, and I had a realization: I would rather ride.

In the past, since I started riding to work in 2002, I motivated myself externally, with the approval of co-workers, being a little different, a bit of self-righteousness, a new piece of biking gear. Now the motivation has started to become internal. I am joining the elite group that knows the great secret of biking; biking to work is not some sort of hardship, it's actually better than driving.

It's too bad that it can take so long to reach that realization. No one is going to say, "Maybe I'll give this bike commuting a try for five years and see how it goes." A person who has it in his head that biking is a bad thing will try it for a day, or a week, and then quit.
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Old 01-05-07, 08:30 PM
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Why does one commute on a bike? For me, in 2004 it started as a way to get my ride in, a colleague talked me into it. It stayed that way for a year, a way to get my miles in. I've managed to commute at least 1 day per month the past 13 months, only avereging about 1 time per week. But now it has all changed for me, a light bulb has gone off in my head. 2007 is the year. The year to start making a difference.

I've never supported the war in Iraq or our idiot president from the Premium Basin. I think this is the first war where we fund both sides? Anytime we turn the key on our gasoline engine it represents money we are providing to our friends in the Middle East...Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, and so on. Oil prices are dictated by a cartel! That is illegal in this country, but yet we buy from them?? If that is not enough motivation one to ride, then what is?? Global warming? Sure, that just adds fuel to the fire.

ride on....
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Old 01-05-07, 09:21 PM
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The 2006 commute year did it for me. I got 7055 miles in 2006.

The other day I felt my bike at work becuase of rain at midnight. The next day I walked to work, because my bike as at work, and it took me 52 min. to due the 3.52 miles to work. I do the commute one way on the bike in 10 to 12 min. I then told my self never again. If I ride to work I'll be riding home.
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Old 01-05-07, 09:44 PM
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I love how at this point it is really only people *outside* the science community that are still hoping that global warming is not real. The debate in the science circle has long since turned to ... how fast will global warming progress.
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Old 01-05-07, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by swwhite
It's too bad that it can take so long to reach that realization. No one is going to say, "Maybe I'll give this bike commuting a try for five years and see how it goes." A person who has it in his head that biking is a bad thing will try it for a day, or a week, and then quit.
Hey, at least you got there.

As we're so often heard saying: I've never ridden to work and wished I'd taken the car.

It's almost worth printing on a little sticker to put on the car window to help on those low motivation days.
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Old 01-05-07, 10:14 PM
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Sometimes I just think about the alternative as my motivation on the days when i may not be so gung-ho. I just ask myself, how will I feel sitting on the bus next to the person who smokes a pack of cigarettes at the bus stop, putting the last one out as he waddles up the stairs, and the woman who just flocked on a pound of hairspray, and that other guy who really needs to wash his jacket, not to mention the overweight guy who always chooses to sit next to me.

After that, its easy to get on the bike. And once I am about 2 minutes into my commute, there is no question I made the right call.
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Old 01-05-07, 10:27 PM
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I have to be honest i have been bike reliant since may 06 and nothing but nothing stops me from doing the right thing now whilst getting to work or anywhere else for that matter.

Even with summer well and truely upon us in melbourne aus, and the temps well into the mid 30's I'm still refusing to travel by any other means other than bike.

Its hard, its hot, its sweaty and you have more cold showers than you normally would but i love it, it keeps me fit and healthy

Its no longer a form of excerise, a mode of transport, but now its HABIT that i cant or wont break

i love it
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Old 01-05-07, 11:49 PM
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swwhite:

I was the "biking is bad, I'm just doing this cuz I gotta get to work" buy for about 2-3 weeks when I first started.

Then, I rode to church one day. It was nice out. I could have had my dad pick me up (I'm the A/V guy, had to show up) The next day, I woke up a little bit earlier so I could ride an extra mile or two before getting to the bus. That's when I started realizing not only was it fun, but it was really superior to driving.

Justifying it in winter has thus far been pretty easy. Today I actually had to drive, and the highway was a parking lot. I really wished I could at least be on the bus, but I would have taken pedalling my way home or anything other than sitting somewhere between motionless and 15 MPH at any given time in my sheet metal cage. If bikes were allowed on interstate shoulders out here, I probably could have beaten my car on the bike.
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Old 01-05-07, 11:58 PM
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Cars keep getting more expensive. Gas prices keep going up.
I briefly had the idea of purchasing a second car for our family. Looking at the cost and the price prediction of gas shot that one in the foot. Plus, how could I justify my cycling expenditures? A POS car for $1000-$2000 can buy me a nice bike. That and the new light rail line is a good alternative for me. So, the heck with the car.
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Old 01-06-07, 08:04 AM
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There's a good MUP that goes from near my house to within a mile of work. When someone at work asks "why" I phrase it this way: "Imagine going just as fast as you care to - no faster, no slower - on a road with little to no traffic. You see bunnies and maybe a deer. Now imagine taking 2/3 the time, but sitting on a chair in a closed box, stressing out over whether this car or that is going to turn left and whether or not you'll make that traffic light."

I mean, the Martian polar caps are shrinking too. Gotta use the carrot sometimes too, not just the stick.
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Old 01-06-07, 10:28 AM
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No car, no questions.
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Old 01-06-07, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas
No car, no questions.
Not for me. Toronto has public transit.

And yes, there was a time when I, already an occasional commuter, sometimes opted for crowded subway + long lines at subway stop full of lie jumpers + crowded bus over a bike ride that wouldn't even take any longer. And sometimes the reason I did that was that it was October and so I'd have to put on a jacket to ride, so it's too cold. I can't believe I was ever like that... but I was.

The change happened one September when I decided that I am sick of waiting for the bus to go to and from school and I want to ride every day. Since I am an all-or-nothing kind of person this sort of all-bike nothing-transit resolution worked very nicely. Rigid mind, maybe... Anyway, soon after making that resolution I started considering bike my main transportation, as opposed to a secondary option reserved for warm days and non-peak times. It feels good. Bus riding is drudgery. Bike riding is adventure.
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Old 01-06-07, 03:42 PM
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I like using both bike and public transit. I work at two sites about 3 km apart and I have to go to the second site and back about once a week. Mostly I ride it but not in bad weather - it's just too much hassle to suit up for rain for a short midday ride. The org will pay for a cab ($10 each way), and I sometimes take one, but I'm just as happy taking the bus and streetcar which hardly takes longer ($2 each way). On heavy rain days or when there's a lot of snow and ice I take the subway to work.
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Old 01-06-07, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by gwhalin
I love how at this point it is really only people *outside* the science community that are still hoping that global warming is not real. The debate in the science circle has long since turned to ... how fast will global warming progress.
That's not correct. The only consensus is in the media.
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Old 01-06-07, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by idcruiserman
That's not correct. The only consensus is in the media.
Spoken like .... George Bush?

Don't believe me,

https://www.epa.gov/climatechange/sci...knowledge.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scienti...climate_change

Both of those articles have numerous links off. The scientific community is pretty much sold on the fact that humans are creating the majority of greenhouse gases, those gases cause global warming, and we are in a state of global warming.

Of course it is easier to just pretend it isn't happening I suppose. Myself, I trust scientists to understand the science a bit more than I trust Bush. I also know that I went on a sweaty 10 mile bike ride today in New York City wearing shorts and a t-shirt ... on Jan 6.
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Old 01-06-07, 07:18 PM
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That's not correct. The only consensus is in the media
Yeah. There are still a few scientists on the payroll of ExxonMobil that are unsure. I think PhillipMorris has a few guys still evaluating the smoking/cancer link too....

That one guy who does the "Junk Science" bit, whats his name.....Steven Milloy or something. He actually worked for PhillipMorris all through the 90's trying to disprove secondhand smoke effects and now he is working for Fox and ExxonMobil working on Global Climate Change. Next decade look for him to team up with the Dairy Council to prove that butter is a health food.
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Old 01-06-07, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by JDal
our...president from the Premium Basin.
You do know that's the "Permian Basin", right?
On the warming issue, in my somewhat informed opinion (BA in Social Sciences, currently teaching Geography) I believe the side that says it's more likely just part of the normal long-term cycles of the earth's climactic changes. There's definite geological evidence that shows the earth has gone through severe changes in overall temerature, both hot and cold, in the past. How can we assume that this cycle of warming is credited only to human activity? Maybe we're contributing to it, or bringing it on more quickly, but I don't think we're to blame.
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Old 01-06-07, 08:17 PM
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On the warming issue, in my somewhat informed opinion (BA in Social Sciences, currently teaching Geography) I believe the side that says it's more likely just part of the normal long-term cycles of the earth's climactic changes. There's definite geological evidence that shows the earth has gone through severe changes in overall temerature, both hot and cold, in the past. How can we assume that this cycle of warming is credited only to human activity? Maybe we're contributing to it, or bringing it on more quickly, but I don't think we're to blame.
So you are a layperson with a fair understanding of science and its methods. A very significant majority of the experts (climate scientists as opposed to us laypersons) are convinced that global climate change is occuring, and that the activities of humans are a major cause. You are siding with a very small minority of the experts. What exactly has convinced you that the minority are correct? Which minority scientist has presented a case that you find compelling, and in what ways is it materially more compelling than the best cases of the majority.

I ask, because often when people refuse to accept a scientific consensus, the reasoning is emotional. Looking back to my earlier example, people in the middle of the last century were often happy to accept the idea that maybe smoking didn't cause cancer because they were smokers and did not wish to confront their own risk and mortality.

If you cannot point to very specific reasons that you reject the majority scientific position on global climate change even though you are not an expert, you may wish to confront your underlying motivations.
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Old 01-06-07, 09:35 PM
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Again, check those links I posted. The issue is pretty much agreed upon. The only people on the other "side" that you refer to are politicians and their lap dogs. Nobody argues that their is a natural and cyclical climate change. That most certainly does not preclude the effect of greenhouse gases on the climate. I also am pretty certain that these climate changes tend to occur fairly slowly. What we are seeing recently is extremely rapid. The last decade alone, warming has increased at an alarming rate.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities"

Honestly though ... how can you observe the number of cars spewing their exhaust in any given city on any given day and pretend that we are not having an effect on the climate??

Head in sand syndrome.
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Old 01-07-07, 03:50 AM
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Originally Posted by gwhalin
Again, check those links I posted. The issue is pretty much agreed upon. The only people on the other "side" that you refer to are politicians and their lap dogs. Nobody argues that their is a natural and cyclical climate change. That most certainly does not preclude the effect of greenhouse gases on the climate. I also am pretty certain that these climate changes tend to occur fairly slowly. What we are seeing recently is extremely rapid. The last decade alone, warming has increased at an alarming rate.
Yes, we're seeing rapid changes, but there's currently no way for us to know how rapid the onset of many earlier changes were. And let's not forget that many changes in global climate of the past were greater in magnitude that what we're seeing now. In maybe 50-100 years time will we be able to say with any certainty that this was not a largely natural event.

That said, I'm definitely not on the side of the major polluters, and I'd be happy to almost entirely ban cars and dirty power plants, for example. But limiting CO2 is not the main driving force for me - limiting local pollution is.
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Old 01-07-07, 11:44 AM
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hmm...can we get back to why we commute and leave the debate about the cause of global warming to P&R? I am inconsistent, but I do it purely because its fun and gives me a "free" hour of working out each day. It justifies my afternoon snickers bar.
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Old 01-08-07, 10:12 PM
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I hit one of those milestones today too

The weather here was clear, but the winds were 50km/h gusting to near 70, straight down the road I take home.

Normally I wouldn't ride on a day this windy. Today, my wife's car was in the shop so I decided to go for it. The truth is, the ride home was hard work, but I was plenty comfortable, and didn't even take any more than a few extra minutes.

Now I know that wind isn't as big and scary as I thought. I guess it helps to get over the hump by being in a position where you just have to go.
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Old 01-09-07, 07:21 AM
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For me it's the enjoyment too.
For years i'd choose the bicycle over the motorbike in the garage, or my wifes car that was available from time to time because commuting was always a frustration or chore otherwise.
Now i've sold the motorbike and using the car never enters my head - i cycle to work because i enjoy it, so i see no reason to question that.
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Old 01-09-07, 07:31 AM
  #24  
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before we drop the debate can i please ask every skeptic to watch an inconvienient truth???

it dispells every argument against global warming i have seen in this post... PLEASE, just WATCH IT!!

you can even get a free copy by filling out a form here: https://sharethetruth.us/free/

Last edited by max-a-mill; 01-09-07 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 01-09-07, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by swwhite
Then, for a second, I flashed on an image of myself driving home, sitting there while the car moves, waiting at stop lights, maneuvering through rush-hour traffic, and all that stuff that goes with operating a piece of heavy equipment just to transport myself home 20 minutes faster, and I had a realization: I would rather ride.

In the past, since I started riding to work in 2002, I motivated myself externally, with the approval of co-workers, being a little different, a bit of self-righteousness, a new piece of biking gear. Now the motivation has started to become internal. I am joining the elite group that knows the great secret of biking; biking to work is not some sort of hardship, it's actually better than driving.
Thanks for the eloquent assessment. When people around me talk about biking I feel pressured to give some complex rationalization for riding that "they'll understand." It's ironic that I have to work to remind myself that I ride because I just friggin like it.
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