I have commuted by bicycle for 40 years. That seems like a long time. But it has been an on-again, off-again thing. Mostly off-again. I know all of the excuses and, used them all. But now that I have an excellent city bike and work with a supportive group of cyclists, I am going to try again. And, rather than itemize all of the excuses I have used in the past, I am going to list all of the reasons it is now possible.
I recognize that commuting by bike is not practical for everyone. Some simply have too far to travel. Others, live in too cold of a climate or, need a vehicle for their work. And, quite frankly, some do not like cycling. I can live with that.
I am fortunate. I live in the city, close to work and in a temperate climate. I am hoping that by committing to this publicly, I will stick to it this time. No excuses. And, I am also hoping that by itemizing these reasons others will see their way to do the same.
Here are the reasons I believe I will stay with it this time.
- I enjoy cycling. I cycle for fitness mostly and the commute allows me to add some extra milage and fit in extra after-work workouts.
- I have an excellent, well equipped city bike. There is no added expense.
- I live in a temperate climate. It rains but there is seldom snow. October – March is the rainy season with many days of light or little precipitation. Occasionally, it rains too heavily for safe cycling but this is rare. This will be the biggest challenge for me. I love to ride in the hot, dry weather. I am thinking a winter cycling holiday to the south will maintain the enthusiasm.
- I live in a city with an established and growing network of bikeways and traffic-calmed streets. It is not fun (or safe) riding in traffic, particularly in the commuting hours. Keeping the automobiles and cyclists separated as much as possible makes the ride faster, more enjoyable and much safer.
- It is an easy ride to work. 15-20 minutes at the most. And, down hill. The commute home can be a workout, particularly if I add a lap or two around Stanley Park.
- I have suitable clothing for all seasons. Rain jackets. Pants. Waterproof hat. Toque. Winter cycling gloves. There is no added expense here either.
- The office is supportive. Most cycle to work at least part of the time.
- There is a safe lockup for the bikes right in the office.
- There is a shower in the office. This has often been an obstacle.
- Dress in the office is casual. No suits. No ties. Shorts, jeans and t-shirts most of the time except for client meetings.
Each of these items makes cycling easier but combined, they make it very difficult not to. I have no additional expense. I have all of the equipment and clothing I need. There are none of the customary obstacles – bike lock ups, showers, change facilities, supportive colleagues … just the short, wet winter days. This is not an excuse but rather an obstacle to overcome – another challenge. I am hoping that supportive colleagues, a winter holiday and proper clothing will mean more days on the bike this year.
I love the comic, and I think that it’s helpful to list all the factors contributing to your decision to commute by bike. No matter what the issue, we focus a lot on what we DON’T like, and forget to specify all the things we DO like!
By the way, I had to chuckle a little bit when I read ” I am hoping that by committing to this publicly, I will stick to it this time.” Have you seen this video?
Google: Ted Talk Derek Sivers Keep your goals to yourself
(I would have pasted the link but was worried I’d get counted as spam).
I thought that was pretty funny, being guilty of the very same thing (if I tell people, I’ll stick to it). Hopefully you prove him wrong!
Derek Sivers Ted Talk is interesting and contradicts everything I understood about goal setting. I will report back after a few months (the wet weather is approaching). I may have to rephrase the goals and keep quiet about them.
Pingback: The high cost of driving | PedalWORKS
Pingback: 10 things I learned about bicycle commuting | PedalWORKS
Pingback: Why I didn’t cycle to work | PedalWORKS
Pingback: Care-free for 3 years … | PedalWORKS