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What are YOUR pros and cons of bike commuting?

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What are YOUR pros and cons of bike commuting?

Old 10-07-09, 07:00 AM
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What are YOUR pros and cons of bike commuting?

I'm sure you've been asked countless times about the pros and cons about why YOU bike commute.

It's definitely not as simple as better fitness or lower cost. Some do it for fun, some do it for convenience, etc.

Let's hear your TRUE reasons for bike commuting as well as your TRUE hates of bike commuting. No sugar-coating for the general public here.
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Old 10-07-09, 07:06 AM
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My loves of bike commuting:

#1) Fun and environmentally responsible. Fun factor is the biggest one for me. I actually really enjoy being that crazy late-night biker with all the lights and getup on the road. It's like an adventure every day, especially during the later hours. I also love window-web shopping for bike upgrades (even though I rarely upgrade.)

#2) Convenience - In LA, traffic can get horrendous during rush hour. Parking is equally bad. So bike commuting is a big plus. However, this can be offset by the crush of cars trying to run you over on non-bike friendly streets.

#3) Cost - While it definitely costs a lot less to ride a bike than to drive, I could take the local bus for similar cost. Still, it makes me happy to be using a fixed-cost expense rather than something oil-dependent. I still don't like the cost argument though, as it would mean that you would drive just because you could afford it - which I don't think is valid.


1) Having to change out of bike clothes. God I hate this part. I feel like a homeless person when I'm changing from bike clothes to normal clothes in a bathroom.

2) Lack of secure storage for shopping, etc. - Shopping is severely limited by my lack of a trunk to store things. Of course, this comes with the benefit of not buying too much useless stuff!

3) Slow factor - In almost all situations for me, the bike is slower than my car. Even in hellacious LA traffic, I can only beat my car time by minutes. My bike commute is short, so it's not a big deal for me but for me, the car is undoubtedly faster, even with the parking hassle.
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Old 10-07-09, 07:18 AM
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Keeps me outside
The only byproduct of locomotion is methane, which is a greenhouse gas, but I make the stuff regardless of what I do
Winter commuting is a fun challenge
Relatively hassle free parking
It's a conversation starter
Helps keep me in shape
Almost as fast as my car at getting me to work

Dressing for rain and winter is a drag
Impatient motorists
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Old 10-07-09, 07:29 AM
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Not having to worry about how much gas is in the tank
Getting exercise and transportation at the same time
I enjoy it a lot more than driving
I don't have to stay on the road at all times

Takes me longer to get anywhere
100+ degree weather (like we had for 68 days this summer) makes it impossible to bike in work clothes
My wife worries herself to death about me when I ride
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Old 10-07-09, 07:39 AM
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Getting exercise and cheaper travel at the same time
Getting a bit of time to relieve some stress right after work
The look on ppl's faces when I ride into work in a rain or snow storm

Initial cost of lights, rain/snow gear, racks/bags and all the other fun stuff
Dealing with aggresive drivers (rare in my area)
Getting all the right gear on/off in rain or snow storms.
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Old 10-07-09, 07:42 AM
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  • starting my work day with a bit of exercise and fresh air
  • the increased fitness
  • getting in extra intervals to relieve stress on my way home from work
  • hearing other people tell me why they don't ride to work (unsolicited)
  • some trivial gas money savings

  • nasty drivers with their f-bomb yelling "get on the sidewalk" attitude. This happens to me about once a week.
  • headwinds when I'm in a hurry. There's nothing more frustrating than having to get to the office quickly when you are hammering at 10 mph into a headwind.
  • shortening daylight hours
  • taking a shower when I get home
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Old 10-07-09, 07:46 AM
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We have a six-month waiting list for the parking deck here - I jumped it by taking the bike instead and parking it on the rack inside the deck.
Riding clears my head at the end of the day
Saving tons of money that I can spend on things like our impending baby
Local university campus is on my ride home, and has nice "scenery"

I sweat a LOT. That in itself isn't a bad thing, but having to change into work clothes afterwards is.
The roads are in horrible condition around here, and that hurts the boys
Need a more effective laptop-carrying solution.
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Old 10-07-09, 08:04 AM
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It's fun!!! Especially in the most demanding winter conditions.
I save the earth on my way to work. Every day.
I'm a role-model for my little girl, she has done around 80% of her commutes (to daycare) since birth on a bike.
I really believe that my habits influence other people, both in the way that they are more likely to take up bike commuting and also more friendly to bikers on the road.

Some people look down on me for my weird habits.
I'm not sure that my daughter is as safe on my bike as she would be in our car. If we would have an accident, I am afraid that I would blame myself for being such a stubborn idiot for riding.
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Old 10-07-09, 08:37 AM
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* With my 9 month old twins consuming nearly every free minute, commuting by bike is just about the only opportunity for real exercise
* It appears to be the fastest way for me to get to work (faster than the subway!)
* In the summer, the subway tunnels become phenomenally hot, so much so that if I were taking the subway, I'd want to shower when I got to work anyway.
* My commute is a beautiful route, right along the Hudson River
* Riding through the rain makes me feel tough (boosts self-esteem). We'll see if snow has the same impact.
* My office includes a shower and changing room, and I get to keep my bike at my desk. I love being able to look at a real bike during the day.
* I enjoy the planning and the gear management that goes along with riding.

* The ride is only 9 miles each way. I think 12 or 15 each way might be perfect.
* I'm still pretty slow. Typically takes me 35 minutes. I'd like to get it well under 30.
* While I enjoy the relative emptiness of the MUP, I wish a lot more folks were riding to and from work. I'd really enjoy chatting with more folks during the commute.
* I love doing my own wrenching, but time and space allow for almost none of it.
* I hate the way I compulsively check certain one-deal-at-a-time websites for cheap wool jerseys.
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Old 10-07-09, 08:43 AM
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I have many pros/cons for cycling. The biggest pro for me is I feel my life depends on it. I have cystic fibrosis and cycling does a number of things to help keep my disease at bay. it increases my endurance which helps me weather some nasty infections i get. it also encourages coughing which is a plus. there is nothing like a good hard, long ride to make me feel alive and forget that i was born with this cursed disease.

as for cons- waking up early to ride to work is always tough- my ride is 42 miles round trip and usually if i do 3 days in a row i feel incredibly sleep deprived.
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Old 10-07-09, 08:55 AM
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1. I hated going to my local gym at 5:00am, coming home, shower, get dressed and into a car for a street only commute to work. Did it for years. Now I get a 45 minute bike ride twice a day, usually 4 days a week, in addition to any weekend exercise. Daily exercise without blasting music and televisions everywhere. (God, I can't believe I used to do that!)

2. Seriously... it takes me about 10-12 minutes longer to commute by bicycle than by car to work. (West LA, Hollywood traffic)

3. Talking to people more: Drivers asking for directions, other bikers saying "good morning" or at least a smile or nod. The morning and evening commutes are not a form of isolation.

4. So far, over 4,400 miles less on my car.

1. Element of danger each morning and evening but it can be dealt with by paying attention. Relaxing rides in LA traffic just do not happen.

2. I have to be at work about 10 minutes early to get changed into regular clothes, then after punching out for the day, I'm there 10 or so minutes longer getting ready to leave. No big thing, but getting there just in time doesn't fly.

3. Lunch at my favorite work-day Sushi place is too far away for bike travel there, eat and get back in time (tried it twice). Also, without a car, inviting a coworker to lunch isn't happening anymore because decent places to lunch are driving distances from my office.

4. My car is parked on the street. When I do need to drive it to work, it's filthy from sitting for days, bird crap, pollution, water sprinklers all have done my paint no favors.

Overall: Glad I decided to take up bike commuting. It works for me about 4 days a week.
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Old 10-07-09, 09:03 AM
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Postpones having to replace my older SUV.
Only having to fill the SUV fuel tank twice a year.
Having more to show for my money spent than just paper receipts.
Arrive at work more energized.
Stress reliever.
Easier,closer parking.
Smelling all the different evening cooking aromas when going through local neighborhoods.

Less carrying capacity
Strong headwinds
Having to watch weather reports more closely.
Added time to dress for foul weather.
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Old 10-07-09, 09:13 AM
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Gets me to work and back with no issues
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Old 10-07-09, 09:15 AM
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Actually, I can't remember anyone ever asking pros/cons of bike commuting. Here in Michigan, and especially in the mostly rural area I'm in, bike commuting is so unusual that people just assume I'm either a freak or a DUI and don't ask questions.

My answers are the same as everyone else basically.
exercise, environmental, stress relief, being outside
I don't go to stores and spend money on a whim (don't want to go 15 miles out of my way), so some frivolous purchases have been avoided.

My car is starting to fall apart faster because it doesn't get driven enough. Sometimes the battery is dead after a few weeks idle.
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.
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Old 10-07-09, 09:27 AM
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Mainly as preventive maintenance to stay healthy, but it helps that I enjoy it.

Cons are the occassional annoyances from the pertinacious attitude of John Q. Public that I am:
a. without drivers license
b. cheap
c. an environmental zealot
d. trying to "prove" something (primarily winter cycling)
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Old 10-07-09, 09:27 AM
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My commute is only a few miles across town, so it's a pretty easy ride most days. My alternative would be a crosstown bus and then a short walk, then subway home, so the bike is actually faster and definitely more enjoyable. As the weather is getting pretty cool now, overheating on the ride is not so much of a problem. I do ride with clipless pedals, so I have to bring walking shoes with me. Also, I am not fully outfitted for bad-weather rides, but I did just get some good lights, and will probably get fenders, so that should extend the number of days I can ride. I'm just temping here, so I'll only have to worry about next summer if I get hired permanently (and there's an athletic facility across the street I can use if that happens). I also use the bike for shopping and other errands around town. There's enough bike traffic here that drivers don't seem to be fazed by it much. The local roads can be pretty rough, surface-wise, though.
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Old 10-07-09, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
Actually, I can't remember anyone ever asking pros/cons of bike commuting.
Neither me. Lots of people get around Boston on bikes, and the pros and cons are fairly obvious to those who don't -- it's not like it's a big mystery.
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Old 10-07-09, 09:32 AM
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- Use less gas/oil, which for me is important at the environmental and social level.
- Fun!
- Maybe this one is part of fun... but I get to experience the city I live in, and love in a much more personal way.
- I can postpone hitting the 200K mark in the old honda civic just a little longer.
- Fitness.
- Parking is way easier.
- It's fun tinkering with the bike, and buying new parts or changing parts, etc.

- Dealing with sometimes dangerous drivers.
- Less trunk space
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Old 10-07-09, 09:38 AM
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Not many cons in my case. Except work hours sometimes makes it impossible. I'd have to sometimes leave at 3 am.
I'd bike commute about 1/4 of the time. But the commute was 26 miles one way.. Almost every reason to commute was a positive.
. The freeways are a nightmare. Puts one into a real rage..
2. Sometimes when the freeways move at single digits, you can almost get to work faster on the bike..
DOn't most of us know all the cons.. Fitness, better attitude.. Higher energy level. For bike addicts adds significantly to one's base miles. Not felt like being trapped in a cage. Out in the sunshine smelling nature and occasionally getting a glimpse of a clogged freeway telling the bike commuter- peddle on..
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Old 10-07-09, 09:40 AM
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- fairly simple way to get to work with fewer time variables than car traffic or public transportation.
- efficient way to get some exercise
- see the neighborhoods and happenings around me more directly
- about the same speed as public transportation, but probably averages slightly faster. (Slightly slower than by car, but that wouldn't really be an option for me anyway; our whole family has one car and isn't going to get another one just for me to drive to work.)

- exposed to all weather (no air conditioning, for instance). Have to worry about weather more to make appropriate plans. Complicates things.
- more dangerous than other forms of getting to work; higher chance per mile of obtaining an injury
- can make me pretty sweaty
- can make me tired right after the ride
- even though I have a pretty simple bike setup and don't have special cycle clothes, it is honestly more expensive altogether than just using public transportation/walking, or the gas/car costs for the commute trips.
- the awkwardness right after people ask me if I wear a helmet
- I don't take a shower at work, so after I ride home in the evening I often feel like I need a shower if I'm going to go out with people.

Last edited by yoder; 10-08-09 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 10-07-09, 09:54 AM
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No sugar coating whatsoever.
- I've lost a lot of weight and still am able to eat anything I want.
- I don't have to drive and be stressed out by idiot drivers.
- Keeps my car mileage, money spent on gas and cost of maintenance down.
- I've never been late for work since bike commuting.
- I have to wake up at 4:30 am.
- The first mile or two of riding in the morning cold sucks.
- Riding in the rain when it’s cold out sucks.
- People think I'm doing this to save the environment.
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Old 10-07-09, 10:20 AM
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Relaxing ride in the country.
Good method to make sure I get my exercise and stress relief.


Have to make sure I get enough sleep, or I can't ride in (20.5 each way)
Waking up early 5:20 each day (Related to #1)
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Old 10-07-09, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by lil brown bat
Neither me. Lots of people get around Boston on bikes, and the pros and cons are fairly obvious to those who don't -- it's not like it's a big mystery.
For me it's the opposite. Bike commuting is so bizarre here that nobody wants to talk with the freak.
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.
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Old 10-07-09, 10:29 AM
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I ride because I want to and I can...there is no downside.
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Old 10-07-09, 10:36 AM
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Pros: already well covered here, exercise, fresh air, extra energy. And the babes, don't forget the babes.

Cons: Biggest con is it's impossible for me to get home or the the kid's school during the day, so if I need to do either of those things I have to drive (12 min drive vs 50 min commute). Other con is I feel the danger level is too high in the dark on my regular commute. I don't mind riding at night, and I do regularly, just not my commute route.

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