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Commuting's effect on others around you

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Commuting's effect on others around you

Old 09-05-08, 06:54 AM
  #1  
pathdoc
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Commuting's effect on others around you

I started commuting to work about 1 month ago. I'm working at a new facility that's only about 5 miles from my home. Every morning when I arrive I go through the clean up ritual, luckily we have a shower. It almost never fails, when someone sees me walking my bike in or simply heading to the locker room a conversion about commuting and healthy living starts. I'm in good general physical condition and very near my ideal weight but in no way I'm I an expert on healthy life styles. People are asking me a range of exercise related questions. So here's my point, just the fact that others see you doing something healthy appears to peak their interest and in some cases it does appear to motivate others to get some exercise. On top of that, it's been an excellent conversation starter and has allowed me to meet and get to know others here at our facility.
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Old 09-05-08, 06:57 AM
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Just the simple act of successfully riding your bike to work will open the eyes of some to the idea that this is a valid choice. Way to go.
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Old 09-05-08, 07:01 AM
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I get to work a good hour before everyone else, but even on the days I don't, people know better than to attempt conversation with me until at least noon, and even then, prepped with an email or IM. They call me the Bear and there are signs all over the building that warn "Don't Poke Da Bear".
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Old 09-05-08, 07:03 AM
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i've been riding my bike to work now for a year and a half and there are 2 new converts. I never pushed them to start riding but i guess they realized it was the right exercise for them. now i just talk them about cycling often and try to keep them excited about it.
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Old 09-05-08, 07:18 AM
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It depends where you work. At my company, no one drives to work anyway, and bicycle commuting isn't remarkable. My boss doesn't ride to work because the distance is too short.
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Old 09-05-08, 07:20 AM
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Out of nearly thirty people here, 4 are in their 20's.
At 27, I'm the second youngest person here.

So when I come in on my bike, they think "Must be good to be young" or "Oh, that crazy whippersnapper biking 10 miles to work." They don't see it as something they're capable of doing. Everyone has the impression that I'm some superior athlete or something.

But off the top of my head, I can't think of anyone who really lives close enough and has a family situation that makes biking practical. Either they're too far, or have to pick up the kids on the way home, etc...

So no, my commuting has no effect on anyone.
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Old 09-05-08, 07:34 AM
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I had a co-worker that I have never met before, come up to me last week and ask where the best gyms are located around Cary/Apex/Morriville,NC area. He apparently just relocated to our area and since he saw a bike in my cube figured I would know, I asked him why he asked me of all people since I thought it was funny considering I have never had a gym membership in my life.
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Old 09-05-08, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
I get to work a good hour before everyone else, but even on the days I don't, people know better than to attempt conversation with me until at least noon, and even then, prepped with an email or IM. They call me the Bear and there are signs all over the building that warn "Don't Poke Da Bear".
that's my nickname at work too.

One of my coworkers bikes now recreationally as a result of my biking to work.
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Old 09-05-08, 09:51 AM
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When I have my cycling clothes hanging on the window frame after a particularly sweaty ride people tend to avoid my office. Is that what we are talking about?
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Old 09-05-08, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Big M View Post
Out of nearly thirty people here, 4 are in their 20's.
At 27, I'm the second youngest person here.

So when I come in on my bike, they think "Must be good to be young" or "Oh, that crazy whippersnapper biking 10 miles to work." They don't see it as something they're capable of doing. Everyone has the impression that I'm some superior athlete or something.

But off the top of my head, I can't think of anyone who really lives close enough and has a family situation that makes biking practical. Either they're too far, or have to pick up the kids on the way home, etc...

So no, my commuting has no effect on anyone.
Interesting perspective. I have ridden to work off and on since I was a summer student worker at age ~19-20. I've been lucky to work in places that have workplace showers. Still, there was a long stretch of about 10-12 years where I hardly commuted at all because my kids were young and I had to either take them to daycare/school or pick them up and take them to sports practice later in the afternoon. Now that my kids are 14 and 11, they are old enough to take themselves to and from school, and even to some sports practices, either by walking, skateboarding, or biking. This is the first year that my occasional summer bike commuting has been this regular and has extended into the school year. This also means that this is the first year I've had to think about cold weather gear and darkness!
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Old 09-05-08, 10:42 AM
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I get a lot of questions about what bike to buy, although I have yet to see anyone follow up. The guy in the cube next to me sounds like he's getting serious about a cruiser, though.
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Old 09-05-08, 10:48 AM
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Once I get to work, I get off the bike and light a cigarette. That pretty much squelches any health or fitness conversations that might come up.
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Old 09-05-08, 10:51 AM
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A guy in my office keeps talking to me about biking stuff. Honestly I have no idea what he's talking about, he's throwing all these bike-specific terms and brand names.

I chose my bike based on how it felt and how it fit, and I know how to operate it. I don't know all the terms and every brand and type on the market. I just smile and nod.
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Old 09-05-08, 07:27 PM
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i have helped inspire a few to ride but some just look at me like i am crazy, but i can park 10 feet away from my machine nice
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Old 09-05-08, 07:36 PM
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My office is a danger zone. I am a middle school librarian, and the library office is the largest office in the building... sometimes it gets used as a psuedo classroom. Aides will take students in there to make up work because it's quiet.

Unfortunately, my office is also where I hang my clothes to dry when they are all sweaty, I wear my roadie lycra on the commute. Fortunately, my own aide is usually on the ball, and can swoop into the office on a seconds notice to throw my jersey or something over my sports bra so that unsuspecting children will not be scarred by the sight of it. She really deserves a raise for having to deal with my cycling togs.
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Old 09-05-08, 07:51 PM
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I've been commuting to work for over two years now, and as far as I can tell it hasn't had the slightest influence on any of my coworkers. They don't even think twice about driving 1.5 miles to work, or buying a brand new full-size SUV to transport them that distance (alone of course.) My boss drives her Expedition about 2 miles to work and her husband, who also works there, drives his Explorer the same distance. That's right, they drive TWO separate SUVs alone from the same house and to the same destination, almost always arriving and leaving at the same time.

I must say, though, back in the Spring one of my coworkers did ride to work with me, but he did it only for exercise, and he drove to my apartment first which completely negated any gas saving/environmental damage. Such is the South.
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Old 09-05-08, 08:06 PM
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Every time someone makes a crack about "Hey, you made it to work alive again today!", I have to resist the temptation to smack them silly.

Despite multiple conversations in which I repeatedly pointed out that cycling is no more dangerous than driving when done correctly, people still see me as "that crazy guy who bikes to work".

Then they run off to yammer about how unfortunate it is that they are out of shape (I am literally one of two people in the office that has some sort of physical fitness program), and complain that the fast food that they order every day has too many calories...and then they brighten up as they realize that they can drink vitamin water and that will help them lose weight.

Did I mention that I have to suppress my instinctive reactions to these folks?
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Old 09-05-08, 08:09 PM
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It's an interesting conversation where I am. I'm certainly the oldest person in the department (52) and live the furthest away. When I started going in to the current office I saw no other cyclists. Now every day I see 5-6 bikes around the offices and others are asking questions and saying they're going to start. One of the women in the office informed me that I made them all feel like slouches because here I was twice the age of most of them and in much better shape than half of them. They just don't see me getting dropped on the MUP back and forth to work!
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Old 09-05-08, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by surveyor View Post
Every time someone makes a crack about "Hey, you made it to work alive again today!", I have to resist the temptation to smack them silly.
I also hate it when co-workers tell me to "be careful on your ride home." Do they expect me to go play chicken with a Mack truck?
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Old 09-05-08, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Lamplight View Post
That's right, they drive TWO separate SUVs alone from the same house and to the same destination, almost always arriving and leaving at the same time.
That's just sad.
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Old 09-05-08, 09:52 PM
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In spite of me commuting for a year now, it's not catching on a work. A 3 co-workers proudly announced that they began to bicycle for recreation but most people think I'm kinda crazy for commuting to work. I used to see an old road bike and a trek mtb cabled to the stair rails in the break area but not anymore. Unless the bikes are being kept in an office like I do mine, I'm the only one who commutes to work.
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Old 09-06-08, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Big_e View Post
In spite of me commuting for a year now, it's not catching on a work. A 3 co-workers proudly announced that they began to bicycle for recreation but most people think I'm kinda crazy for commuting to work. I used to see an old road bike and a trek mtb cabled to the stair rails in the break area but not anymore. Unless the bikes are being kept in an office like I do mine, I'm the only one who commutes to work.
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Same here. Most think I'm crazy for riding a bike on busy roads. But honestly, I've had a LOT of conversations with people at our plant since I started riding my bike to work. People I seldom or never talked to before stop me and ask me if I'm the one who rides to work, and then of course we meet and most often discuss bike riding or some other recreational exercise. Many tell me they're going to start riding their bike again. But none have shown up to work riding a bike except me.
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Old 09-06-08, 06:14 AM
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When I first mentioned I was going to begin commuting 15 miles to work, I was told it was IMPOSSIBLE! Could not be done! Why people would think that riding a bike is impossible is beyond me. Regardless, I did it and have done it throughout the summer without problems. A couple of co-workers have expressed interest in buying bikes for recreational use, but no one has attempted commuting.
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Old 09-06-08, 06:37 AM
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I sense that some are surprised that there has been low "take-up" of commuting. Remember, it's only 0.4% of workers that commute. (Sorry I've forgotten the source where I read this). So in a plant or office with 1000 workers, there would only be 4 commuters.
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Old 09-06-08, 06:58 AM
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My experience, which I suspect is fairly common, is that my co-workers roll their eyes and think I am eccentric. I would rather be inspiring, but that is not going to happen.
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