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.

Spreading the Love

Old 07-09-07, 10:45 PM
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Spreading the Love

..for bike commuting. I've been bike commuting for about 5 years now, but have never been able to influence anyone to start bike commuting, so I've pretty much given up "evangelizing". A couple months ago, my old college roommate was motivated by my blog and started bike commuting. Then my brother decided to start. And now my cousin has started up, and my wife will start bike commuting our kids to school! And my brother told me of another friend of ours that he talked to who is considering it. I can't believe it. And I wasn't even trying to get anyone to start riding, although I always hoped it would rub off. Is there something in the water, or in the gas prices? Has anyone else had this phenomena happen to them? I love it!
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Old 07-10-07, 12:01 AM
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Hasn't happened to me, but that must be fun for you to see!
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Old 07-10-07, 01:14 AM
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People do not like being told what they should do. Lead by example, and as you have found out, several will follow.
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Old 07-10-07, 01:29 AM
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My brother was the first one at his job to bike commute, then 3 others started doing it, then when I started (at the same place, we worked together for a few months), I continue to ride there. Only 3.2 miles round trip, can't beat it with a stick.
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Old 07-10-07, 02:01 AM
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I wish I could inspire others! I have noticed a whoppin' big chain on the bike rack, but have to see anyone actually parking a bike on the rack except for me.

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Old 07-10-07, 07:06 AM
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I belong to another outfit where the "public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion". That seems to work best.

In fact, when you look at it, the junk food, la-z-boy, remote control lifestyle isn't promoted at all. People choose it because of the attraction of tasty snacks, comfy chairs and feelings of power.

Meanwhile, at one of my jobs I've attracted a teenager to riding his bike to work. At another, they're all women who life in outlying areas, so there's the hair, clothes and hours on the bike issues, but two have started riding recreationally, and another is the mayor of an outlying village. She won't give up her Corvette, but she's decided to try to make her village a "Bicycle Friendly Community".
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Old 07-10-07, 07:35 AM
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I think it's a positive visibility thing. I commute in Boston, and a bicycle as transportation has real obvious advantages over anything else: no traffic jams, low cost to operate and free parking, as opposed to cars; better point-to-point convenience, cheaper and frequently faster than public transportation; and faster and seemingly more effortless than walking. I think to most people, biking just looks like a more fun way to get around. I know it was that way for me before I was riding: I'd be walking and see a cyclist glide by, coasting and going three times as fast as me, or I'd be in a bus and see a cyclist pull away and then stop at a store halfway between bus stops, do a quick errand, then be on his/her way, all without paying a fare or having to find a parking space.

At work, we bring our bikes into the office, and as it happens all the commuters are on the same floor -- so the bicycles are very visible. My cubemate and I both commute, and because we've got the big front window, we get a lot of visitors -- people will tend to hang in our cube during "coffee break". It's then that the bikes inspire questions from others. I think next year, leading up to "bike to work week", we'll probably try to recruit people to ride in that week but also do some buddy rides leading up to the week to help other people get started. It's taking that first step that people find intimidating -- if someone holds their hand through one commute, they're probably going to be just fine.
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Old 07-10-07, 07:58 AM
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I don't evangelize anymore because cars are so engrained in people that they scoff at biking. I think there are different types of people that are more likely to bike commute. If you try to evangelize at a guy that comes into work with his stereo blaring huge amounts of bass, his car lowered with spinner rims and neon lights etc... he obviously takes a lot of pride in his car, and making him ride a bike wouldn't allow him to show it off. Same with the guy that comes into work with a huge Dodge diesel truck roaring through the parking lot, he might be compensating for something, and he wouldn't feel manly on a bike, thus anyone on a bike isn't manly either.

But if you see a guy that drives a used economy car, mostly stock, hasn't been to the car wash in a while, is probably just using the car for an A to B car and might be more open to cheaper/funner/healthier transportation.

I don't really evangelize anyone though, but if subjects of diet/exercise/recreation/gas prices come up I can bring up that I get more freedom in my diet and can still lose weight, and I use less than or equal to 10 gallons of gas per month by mostly bike commuting. If someone is interested they'll ask without me pushing it on them.
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Old 07-10-07, 08:53 AM
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That's fantastic!!

I just started commuting, but started riding a few years ago. About a year or so ago, I rode 30 mile in the diabetes Tour De Cure and asked family to sponsor me. Not only did they, but (they later told me) that a big fat guy like me riding 30 miles on a bike inspired the hell out of them. My aunt/uncle and two cousins signed up for the breast cancer walk the following year.
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Old 07-10-07, 09:05 AM
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I spread the love with fellow commuters quite a bit. There's 5 or 6 of us (there's about 3000 employees here) and we talk it up quite a bit when we see each other. I think we motivate each other, like we do on this website.
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Old 07-10-07, 09:41 AM
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I think it's a positive visibility thing.
That's totally true for me. I park my bike in my office, and have to walk my bike up an elevator and down a long hall. It's so foreign for people at my work, because I think they have the mentality that if you can afford a car, then why bike to work? Brings the awareness up a notch.
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Old 07-10-07, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mlh122
If you try to evangelize at a guy that comes into work with his stereo blaring huge amounts of bass, his car lowered with spinner rims and neon lights etc... he obviously takes a lot of pride in his car, and making him ride a bike wouldn't allow him to show it off.
I don't know, I think there are ways to entice these folks too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymWuBaskAaM&NR
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