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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.

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Old 03-07-12, 11:12 PM   #1
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New Commuter Push at Work

My work is having a push to be more green and biking to work has become the hot topic. I've volunteered to help put the thing together. Part of the job is a presentation about biking to work. I've got lots of points I am going to touch on: fun/health/cost/environmental.... but would like to hear from the BF community.

If you were to convince a casual rider to commute by bike, what would you tell them? Certainly the big points I noted above, but what are some of the finer points that have kept you in the game?

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Old 03-07-12, 11:19 PM   #2
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Is the company going to provide bike boxes, showers and clothes lockers?

If not, sell it on money savings and health benefits. Include bike fit. Then follow up later with classes on flats and simple repairs.
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Old 03-08-12, 12:53 AM   #3
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I'd emphasize rising fuel costs, using the automobile less and the bicycle more. Let them know about how mass transit combined with bicycle ridership greatly reduces the carbon footprint that we humans are reponsible for creating at the expense of the world's ecosystem. Increased carbon emissions causes gradual rise of the world's heat index. Thereby, causing global warming. Also, how the continued use of petro lowers the availablity of a nonrenewable natural resources(it takes millions of years for petroleum and fossil fuels to form). With the continuation of us using fossil fuels, we're just making these nonrenewable fossil fuels more scarce. Therefore, we're just driving the cost up with an ever-increasing and developing world placing even greater demands on a dwindling natural resource than cannot renew at anywhere close to the rate at which we're using it.

This in turn forces the countries in the western hemisphere to search for alternative energy sources. This costs money. The scientific reseach and possible development of these energy sources costs money too. We all are just going to have to bite a bigger bullet, the longer we take to address this consumption of fossil fuels issue.

Our coal-burning energy suppliers in most urban centers are responsible for releasing mercury into the atmosphere. This mercury then, works it way into the foodchain. We get the bulk of it in our fish!

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Additionally, by either not driving, or driving less, we save on the cost of gasoline. We don't need to pay as much for auto maintenance. Auto insurance can be eliminated altogether, if you're not driving.

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Old 03-08-12, 01:05 AM   #4
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You could sell it as a good way to get training rides in where it normally would be tough during the week. Ride easy in, ride hard home.

You could mention the ideal "cruising" speed you should commute at to avoid showing up to work a sweaty mess (if there are no showers available).

I also think informing them of how to properly lock a bike is crucial for the commuter (unless you can bring it in the building).
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Old 03-08-12, 01:20 AM   #5
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Parking at work is cheap, at most people are paying $1/day, at min just over a quarter with a yearly pass. Suffice to say it fills up pretty quickly. Market rate is somewhere around $10-15 per day.

I change in a public bathroom and I don't get any commuter benefits unlike carpoolers and transit users.

My motivation is that is that I can venture into the surrounding neighborhood for lunch without fear of losing my parking space. Although I suppose this negates much of the saving compared to driving since I'm buying lunch.
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Old 03-08-12, 05:40 AM   #6
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My employer highly encourages people to commute to work. We have a locked room to store bikes, showers, and locker rooms. My employer also has a separate health insurance plan, with lower premiums/better coverage, for those who elect to participate in the wellness program (any physical activity/ other wellness options are encouraged, does not have to be riding bike). My employer also provides copies of maps of the city for bikes. The map includes bike trails, streets with bike lanes, and side streets identified that are "bike friendly." All of these make riding a bicycle to work easy, especially for those who are on the fence about it. If your employer is doing any of these, emphasize these in your presentation.
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Old 03-08-12, 06:25 AM   #7
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Eplore the Simple Logistics Of It

I'm guessing that your co-workers have a hard time imagining the daily routine
that's needed to make bike commuting work for themselves.

Maybe a slide with at 48 hour timeline that shows when you prepare/plan, when you lay out clothes, what/when you pack, the riding time, the prep time at work, the work day, the prep for return, the return trip, the unpacking/prep for the next day, etc.

Would this be helpful?

Also, how about a few photographs in the briefing that show typical set-ups for handlebars/lights/odometer or rear rack/bags/lights.

Don't forget to talk about safety measures as well - not to start any debates here, but bring in your own experience and perspectives.

Good luck. When is this thing?
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Old 03-08-12, 09:19 AM   #8
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The difficulty in getting new people to commute is to keep them commuting. I have seen many people start bicycle commuting, only to stop after something makes them uncomfortable. Maybe they rode on a windy day, or wore the wrong clothes for the weather. Things that seem like learning experiences or relatively minor inconveniences to seasoned commuters can be enough to make a newbie give up. If people stick with it long enough to get used to the little things, the little voice in their head telling them to drive gets quieter and quieter.
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Old 03-08-12, 09:43 AM   #9
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How big is the company and how many employees are at your location? This will tell how much budget or how much resources the company/management might be willing to invest into the project.

What facilities are at the work location for bike parking and employee clothes changing?

Will there be someone available to help new commuter riders to find a safe and efficient route to and from work?

How about a basic minor repair station at the work site to allow employees help each other to maintain their bikes?

The more excuses you can eliminate up front then the better the results will be.

How strict is the company on attendance and tardiness? Might be an issue as new riders try to figure out realistic commute times and to allow time to fix a flat or two on the way in.

Speaking of flats, how about working out a deal with a local bike shop to get each employee set up with a basic seat bag with a multi-tool, spare tube and patch kit, inflator of some sort, and maybe one of those Commute By Bike mini-booklets I've seen in some bookstores. Or possibly even some lunch hour bike maintenance sessions open to anyone where riders and people thinking about riding in can get some basic instructions on minor repairs and roadside repairs.

Just some questions and ideas to consider. Have fun.
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Old 03-08-12, 04:05 PM   #10
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I'd focus on what a non-issue it really is. I think most people think they can't do it becuase it's too hard, makes you sweaty, you need a great bike, etc. I'd spend my time knocking down the barriers.
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Old 03-08-12, 05:23 PM   #11
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The issues you face vary considerably by location.

Finding good routes is certainly a big issue - many non-cyclists don't know what their options are other than a beeline on interstate highways and major arterials. Peer help is a plus.

Fitness is an issue for some. Before commuting, I built up my bike fitness on weekend short rides. I started bike-commuting by driving half-way, parking the car, then riding the remaining 9 miles to work. Hills...

Many novices don't understand traffic laws concerning bicycles and will put themselves into harms way. Sometimes best practices (take the lane) aren't intuitive.

Take the xx minutes you normally spend sitting in the car and use it to get good exercise. That beats the drive plus driving to the gym then not having enough time for a decent workout.

We have had some Earth Day and other events at work where my bike club had a booth promoting bike commuting. We put up a bike on display that was decked out for commuting including the helmet, U-lock, panniers; handled out Rules of the Road, 10 Reasons to Not Bike Commute, how to get a pass for the company showers, etc. We had a tri-fold science fair poster showing pictures of some of our commuters and their bikes/setup, a looseleaf notebook showing various commute routes and the city's bike routes/bike lanes/MUPs. We also include an article on bike commuting in the company recreation association newsletter once a year or so. We also hand out business cards with a POC for asking questions about facility-specific bike commuting issues.
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Old 03-08-12, 05:39 PM   #12
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Just make it quick and simple to understand. I think you already have the basics covered but you might also want to cover how to ride in and with traffic and how to be visible.

Maybe knowing some background like where they would be riding from (distance & routes) could also help. Maybe remind them how simple it was when they were kids to just get on a bike and go.
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