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What keeps you from commuting by bike?

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What keeps you from commuting by bike?

Old 05-01-11, 07:41 AM
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cyclist5
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What keeps you from commuting by bike?

I know alot of you will say "nothing" but for those of us who are only car-lite or just started out bike commuting what are your excuses?

For me the biggest "ugh I don't wanna" is a 5mi stretch of 5 lane road. 3mi of which are very hilly and have no bike lanes. Yes, I know, it is only a 20min ride but I dislike that stretch for some reason. rest of my 15mi commute is great.

Another is rain. If it's warm and rains I wear my cycling clothing because it's easy to put in a baggy when it gets wet and keep it in a pannier. Exceptions to this is if it's heavy rain with low visibility. If it's cold I don't want to get cold-wet so I drive.

If I know I will have to make multiple trips greater than 10mi one way that day.
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Old 05-01-11, 08:56 AM
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I ride most days. Weather almost never keeps me off the bike unless it's just plain dangerous. What does keep me from riding about once a week is logistics. For example, last Friday my son had a "Math Masters" competition in the morning at a school in another city. His team had been preparing for months so I wanted to attend and took the morning off.

I had planned to drive home after and ride into work, but the competition ran late and there was no way I'd get back to work on time if I drove home first, so I just drove to work.

I usually plan one day each week to drive and schedule all my errands that work best with a car for that day. Sometimes I end up riding that day anyway if I end up not needing the car for anything.
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Old 05-01-11, 09:13 AM
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For me its a combo of rain and lightning. The rain doesn't bother me as much as the thought of lightning hitting me does. Here in Florida lightning strikes are very common at this time of year especially when its been dry for a while.
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Old 05-01-11, 09:19 AM
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55 miles to work and if I did do part of it, it would be all rural roads in the dark to and from and then into a sort of ghettoish place when approaching the hospital. Also snow, ice, rain, sleet for a chunk of the year
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Old 05-01-11, 09:25 AM
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I'll also add headwind. Anything over 10mph really sucks for me. 2-4mph average speed lost.
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Old 05-01-11, 09:43 AM
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I don't commute on days where I have appointment after work that are out of my way and getting to those places by modal commute is little hard to do. Also there are days where I refuse to bring my regular commute bike to SF due to the high count of bicycle theft. I folder will be more ideal for me and I am looking for a used one.

Other than those, the only major turn off is wind, but my commute is short enough that I can put up with it. It's been windy here tha last couple of days and thank God for the drops on my bike.
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Old 05-01-11, 10:14 AM
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I won't ride with a really strong headwind. around 9-10 mph starts to be really unpleasant. screw it, I'll drive. luckily, there aren't too many days like that here!
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Old 05-01-11, 10:25 AM
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I haven't gotten to or from work other than by bike for about a year and a half now. I don't think there is anything around here that would stop me.
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Old 05-01-11, 10:28 AM
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Times when I add an hour to the alarm clock and sleep in / drive:

- deep, rutted snow in the streets with no evidence of a snowplow.
- temps below -10F / -23C
- late night to bed the night before (after midnight). I have occasionally dragged out of bed after only 5-6 hours sleep, but will normally try for an extra hour.
- meeting away from the office with no possibility of a ride
- mid-day appointment more than a mile away
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Old 05-01-11, 10:34 AM
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Meetings out of the office without enough time in my schedule to bike there and back is the main reason I end up driving from time to time. This was solved this last week though. I negotiated an agreement with a carshare organization to give them a parking space in our lot in exchange for discounts on usage for our staff.
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Old 05-01-11, 10:49 AM
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Snow and ice keep me off the streets but next winter I plan on having spikey tires and hopefully that'll mean more riding. I don't ride when there is a thunderstorm or on really windy days. Other than that, laziness.
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Old 05-01-11, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclokitty View Post
Snow and ice keep me off the streets but next winter I plan on having spikey tires and hopefully that'll mean more riding. I don't ride when there is a thunderstorm or on really windy days. Other than that, laziness.
Yeah same here with the laziness part. I forgot to include in my post: Moday and Friday prevents me from commuting
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Old 05-01-11, 11:48 AM
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Now that I live 3.5 miles from work, the only thing that will keep me from riding to work is not going to work.

I guess I could walk and avoid the bike, but I haven't yet.
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Old 05-01-11, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclokitty View Post
Snow and ice keep me off the streets but next winter I plan on having spikey tires and hopefully that'll mean more riding. I don't ride when there is a thunderstorm or on really windy days. Other than that, laziness.
See for me anything that would slow me down significantly is the biggest deterrent. Snow would cut my speed in half. I think that's what boils down to it: speed. If I can't see myself going my usual 16-18mph for the majority of my trip my mind says it's not worth it. But, with it being $8 for ever roundtrip to school I'm broadening my definition of "worth it"
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Old 05-01-11, 11:51 AM
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I don't own a car so... nothing! The only two things that would keep me from commuting would be illness or unemployment.
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Old 05-01-11, 11:55 AM
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When I had a contract position, I commuted the 2 miles each way by bike to the office. after one year I was hired in, and set up as a "Telecommuter". So my morning commute now is a round trip.
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Old 05-01-11, 12:00 PM
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Aside from the occasional mega-velocity wind days the weather is almost always perfect here. But I only have one bike and it's not equipped to be a commuter. As much as I would love to have a mtn bike, road bike, and commuter bike, I just don't have the room for all of that.

But before I upgraded my comfort bike to a racing bike I commuted EVERYWHERE with it. Really all I would need to do is swap out the tires and I would be fine. But that's easier said than done every time I want to run to the store. Plus I have a baby too small to travel in a trailer or on a bike.

The wife and I usually walk with the stroller to the grocery but for the rest of the trips, especially when the baby has to come, we have to travel by car.
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Old 05-01-11, 12:07 PM
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I can relate to your situation. One solution for the space problem would be to buy a used hybrid wheelset for like $100 on craigslist. It takes about 30s to swap out wheels vs the 10min it takes me to swap out tires.
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Old 05-01-11, 01:36 PM
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This is really interesting. Most people think of commute as going to and from work. I think of it more as getting from one place to another. Back in 2008, gas prices hit $4.50 in CA (the're almost there again). I was so ticked at the oil companies for making record profits, that I vowed to get away from using my own fuel operated vehicles. So, I started using my bike for any errands in my and nearby cities. Over time, I realized that I was winning my fight against big oil (massive savings per year in fuel), but I was also reaping other benefits: improved health, huge money savings, ... whether you commute to work everyday, once a week, or commute all over, you are reducing our dependence on foreign oil, saving yourself money, improving your health. My point is, any amount helps and you shouldn't beat yourself up over any of it!!!
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Old 05-01-11, 01:47 PM
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Time.

I was riding to work most of the time when my commute was 7 miles. Now it's 17 miles and the extra time it takes me to get home seems to conflict with too many evening activities. The extra distance is not too big of a deal, but knowing that it will be an hour and a half from when I get out of work until I get home is just.... too long.
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Old 05-01-11, 01:48 PM
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I actually enjoy riding in the rain, but if there's lightning in the forcast (which doesn't happen very often), count me out. I don't ride if there's a lot of snow/ice on the roads. As long as the roads are clear and taken care of well, I usually ride. I'm not a huge fan of heavier (20+mph) winds, but I'll still ride as long as I have enough time to make it in.

I also plan one day a week to drive to take care of errands and bigger shopping trips. For the smaller shopping trips I'll ride and fill my panniers up.
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Old 05-01-11, 01:54 PM
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For me it is if there is a really bad side wind. That is all really. Just because it is dangerous. I'd much rather have a slow cycle due to snow / headwind etc. than get crammed into a train / tube (subway) that is most probably late.

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Old 05-01-11, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by dcrowell View Post
Now that I live 3.5 miles from work, the only thing that will keep me from riding to work is not going to work.

I guess I could walk and avoid the bike, but I haven't yet.
Walking would take way too long haha. What would you say keeps your daughter from biking other than the >5mi limit she has?
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Old 05-01-11, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclist5 View Post
Walking would take way too long haha. What would you say keeps your daughter from biking other than the >5mi limit she has?
Ugh. You brought up a sore subject. My daughter has called twice in two days wanting a ride somewhere.

I didn't bend to her wishes though. I told her to manage it herself.

She had knee pain yesterday (recurring theme). Friday she had taken a bus some distance away and didn't want to wait for the next one (she had her bike).

She rode anyway, but wasn't happy about it. She's ridden in rain and thunderstorms. She hasn't had to commute in snow yet.

I imagine that once she has a license and a car she won't ride anymore. She doesn't enjoy it. She also has no concept of what things cost.

I did my best.
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Old 05-01-11, 02:57 PM
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Rain, wintry mix, and routes with too many cars and not enough shoulder.
Most of my current 17 mile commute is on a beautiful mup, I'm sure I would not bike commute as often if it were 17 miles on urban/suburban roads.
Where I ride has always been more important to me than riding itself. I like that bike commuting is environmentally friendly and cheap, but that's never been the reason I do it. I do it because I enjoy it, and if I don't enjoy the route I don't ride.
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