10 things I learned about bicycle commuting

It has been over 3 months since I committed to commuting to work on my bike.  I haven’t missed a day and there have been several wet and cold ones.  It began when I transformed an old mountain bike into a comfortable, reliable commuter.

It is time to make a few comments about the experience.  Here are 10 things I learned and did not expect.

  1. I have enjoyed it more than expected.  It is a short, easy, downhill ride in the morning.  After work I take a lap around Stanley Park on the Seawall.  This is a 30 km, 1.5 hour ride with a 3 km climb at the end.  I have gotten noticeably stronger after just 3 months and enjoy my weekend road rides more.
  2. The ride is safer than I expected.  I keep to the bikeways and traffic calmed streets most of the time.
  3. The weather has not been a factor.  I find if I stay dry and keep my head, hands and feet warm, the ride is more of an adventure than a ride to be avoided.
  4. I am cycling an extra 125 km each week.  During these rides, I concentrate on technique – pedal stroke, cadence, climbing …  I think of these rides as preparation for my weekend road rides.
  5. Cycling clothing makes a difference.  I thought I would wear informal pants and tops for the commute.  Instead, I prefer to wear cycling clothing – bibs, shoes, jersey – for the ride and bring a change of clothes.  I am more comfortable on the bike and enjoy the ride home more.
  6. I don’t like using panniers.  I prefer a small backpack.  It is easier to carry when I get off the bike to shop or run an errand.
  7. There are more cyclists in the city than I realized.  When I began frequenting the bikeways more regularly, I realized that the cycling community has grown dramatically and is embraced by all ages and both sexes.
  8. I am saving a lot of money on parking and gas.  I hardly use the SUV these days except when I need to transport bikes somewhere for a different ride.
  9. I am stronger.  The 3 km climb home is getting easier.  I challenge myself each week to do it faster using a higher gear.  I haven’t lost any weight but think I have added a few pounds of muscle.
  10. I have learned which stores and cafes are bike-friendly.  I look for establishments where I can safely lock my bike and and am likely to meet other cyclists.  I have been surprised at the number of cafes conveniently located either on or near the city’s bikeways.

Every way I look at it, commuting by bike is preferable.  It is better for me.  I am healthier, more relaxed and have discovered several new coffee hangouts.  Cycling is my anti-depressant.  And, it is better for the environment.  I have reduced my carbon footprint and saved money doing it.  How do I encourage others of my vintage to do the same?

3 thoughts on “10 things I learned about bicycle commuting

  1. Pingback: The re-birth of a road cyclist | PedalWORKS

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