I turned 5,000 clicks on the morning commute this week.
I have cycled 5,000 kilometres in just over 5 months. This is the first year that I have shared a single bike computer on all of my bikes, resetting the wheel diameter as necessary. The first time I have consistently tracked my mileage.
I have learned one thing. For me, the best way to increase weekly mileage is to commute daily to the office. This does two things. First, it gives me an opportunity to tack on a workout on the way home. I often do laps around the park before heading home adding 30-50 extra km. And second, when I cycle every day, I begin to think like a cyclist. An athlete. The focus of the day is the bike ride. I eat to fuel the ride. I keep the bike in pristine working order so it performs at its best every day, so I make the most of every ride. And, because I am on the bike every day, I look for variety – variety in terrain, scenery and, effort.
Not every cyclist is able to commute daily. There are a lot of reasons why it is not possible. And, it is not for everyone. I understand that. But, for those able and willing, the biggest deterrent, at least in my experience, has been the workplace culture. A workplace that encourages cycling, provides secure bike storage and change facilities makes a big difference. The difference between driving a car or riding a bike.
I have worked in offices where there is no place to safely lock a bike. Where I had to lock my bike to a nearby tree and worry all day no one stole it. Where there was no place to shower and change. No. I would towel off, as best I could, and look dishevelled the rest of the day. And, where discrimination was rampant. Let’s face it. Cyclists are a minority. At best, 2% of the population cycles to work. This may seem harsh but our workplace has fostered commuting by car.
These days, I work less, dress casually, have a secure place to keep my bikes right in the office and, work with a supportive group, half of whom also cycle to the office, some as far as 25 km each way. They cycle not to save money, although they do. No. They cycle because it is more convenient. More enjoyable. And, it is environmentally friendly.
There has been progress. I have seen significant change in the 30 years I have been on the road. Dedicated bike lanes. Traffic calmed streets. Secure bike parking. Change facilities. All-weather cycling clothing. Custom commuting bicycles. But we need more of these things.
There has been progress. I have seen commitment from municipal and provincial governments to get more people out of their cars and onto public transport and yes, bikes. But we need more of a commitment.
I have travelled ~ 7,500 km on my bikes this year. That’s 7,500 km not in a car. That’s over 300 hours outside having fun, working out and, exploring. That’s 1,916,250 fewer grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted.
Yes, here has been progress.