Loving the Commute: Back to the Basics

18
Sep
2012

I love to ride my bike.  I can say that most of the time my train of thought eventually leads back to some aspect of cycling.  I started commuting by bike as part of a fitness goal.  I’ll never forget the feeling I had the first time I rode my first commute to work on my first adult bike.  Two bikes and thousands of miles later and I’m still pedaling, only now it’s for a little bit of a different reason.  I decided that this month it would be fun to revisit just why it is that I ride to work, and why you should too.

1.  Above all else, my commute gives me an excuse to ride my bike.  Sadly my commute is rather short these days, but all the more reason to ride it as much as I can.  As I have gotten more aggressive in my riding I have found it harder and harder to find the amount of time I would like to spend in the saddle available to me.  As a father and husband my family will always come first, but no one will ever tell me not to go to work, so how I get there is up to me.

2.  Don’t be fooled, I  am not a morning person.  In fact, my lack of ability to function at even 50% in the mornings is probably the largest deterrent to my morning commute.  Fortunately I work at a wonderful place that doesn’t require me to be punctual, at least overly punctual.  If I am a few minutes late I can always just work a few minutes late to make up the time.  The truth is, behind my family and by cycling, work is the number three thing on my mind at all times, so a few minutes doesn’t hurt anyone (Passageways.com for all your intranet needs).  Of course, there is also that magical beverage called coffee which I am a huge fan of.  Once I overcome the urge to be lazy and hop on the bike, I am almost instantly happy I did.  Riding to work makes my entire day better.  I get to work and feel energized and ready to work.  My brain is already firing on all cylinders and I’m ready for whatever the day brings.

3.  I started cycling to get in shape.  High impact workouts were far from appealing to me and I remembered loving riding as a kid, so it made sense. The more I have learned the ways of the bike the more I have learned of the less than obvious reasons to ride.  The average person will lose 13 pounds riding to work in their first year for obvious reasons.  But did you know that adding 30 minutes of daily cycling will also save us (all of us) $544 in medical costs a year?  That doesn’t mean my commute saves me alone that money, it means it saves United States Tax payers that money.  I’ll let you do the math and save you the politics on that one.  A less thought about fact is that 50%-90% of emissions are caused by cars.  That probably explains why 1 in 2 people breathe polluted air every day.  Commuting by bike isn’t just healthy for the people who do it, it’s healthy for all of us!

4.  I live in a medium sized college town.  Each summer our city tries to accomplish all the road construction possible while the students are away from town.  Each fall our population increase by about 30,000 people.  That means our roads increase with quite a bit of traffic.  Living here my entire life I have grown used to this in some respects, but I still loathe it.  That was all before I started commuting by bike.  Studies show that riding a bike is 50% faster in heavy traffic, even following all laws and regulations (which you should always do).  So yes, I love flying through all those construction sites without having to stop and wait on confused drivers.  It is dangerous, but I feel like the danger is more in my hands than when I am in a car.

5.  Last but not least, commuting by bike saves me money.  Granted you can spend plenty on a bike to ride, and I’ll be the first to say just how many fun upgrades there are to purchase.  But all you really need are two wheels, a frame, some cranks, and a chain.  You don’t even need more than one gear if you dare.  The possibilities are endless for ways to find a bike to ride.  All you have to do is save a little cash for a bike and a helmet, and start riding (might be a good idea to look back at some of the previous LTC posts for more tips).  Gasoline, car insurance, car maintenance, all makes up one of the largest costs for most households.  Even just dropping from 2 cars to one, or letting one spouse drive while you ride can save you hundreds each month.

In short, I love everything about riding to work.  From being able to have a daily excuse to get out and ride, to the health benefits for me and those around me, to the financial benefits, and more; I love commuting by bike and think you would too.  Get a bike and a helmet a get out and ride!

Enjoy Your Ride

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  • arobustus

    I’ve been commuting by bike 7 or 8 years now, maybe nine even. I will also never forget how I felt the first time I biked to work. When I got there I thought I was going to dr-o-o-o-o-o-o-p dead! But I stuck with it & now when I get there or home I am like, “Did I just, like, ride somewhere?” I have a similar working environment and I do love my job. Life priorities similar except that my choirs (I’m in 4 right now) are equal with biking.
    Last year I saved $4500 by not owning a car, so I never feel bad buying bike equipment. That $4500 is even taking into consideration that I bought two bikes and that I count car rental as a bike expense, because if I still owed a car we wouldn’t have to rent one when my wife’s is out of commission.
    This year I’ve pushed the envelope into the ice and snow that you have heard about hitting us hear in New England.
    Happy cycling and keep the faith!

  • candymaze

    I’ve been commuting from Brooklyn to Manhattan NYC since last March, almost 15 miles each way
    I started with a heavy , steel made, mountain bike A>K>A the Tank :-)

    Recently I got an end of the season deal on a great road bike
    The ride is much more pleasant now :-) even in a 25F windy New York morning

    I can NOT imagine not riding a bike
    It’s pretty addictive :-)

  • Pamela

    Really a great post.

  • Kimstrong

    I realized the other day that my 62 one way commutes (so far) this year = 31 days of commuting which is 6 work weeks of riding my bike, easily 30 gallons of gas at $3.50 a gallon is over $100, if only work were closer, not uphill the last 5 miles & had a shower or was more convenient to other places I have to go during lunch, etc.. I’m working on those excuses…

  • Lloyd Lemons

    Great post! Nothing better than saddle time!

  • Julie Starling

    Great job! Nicely written! Good points!

    • http://about.me/Aaronthestrong Aaronthestrong

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Julie!

  • http://mghollis.blogspot.com/ Melinda

    In April, our budget for gas was about $150 for every 2 weeks. My husband started commuting by bike in July. Our budget for gas is now between $100-120 for every 2 weeks. I’m sure if I could pull a trailer on my bike for groceries, I could probably get it a little lower. We are a 1 car/ 4 bike family. :D

    • http://about.me/Aaronthestrong Aaronthestrong

      That is awesome, Melinda! Thanks for reading and commenting. Mega congrats on being a 1 car family! It’s a hard jump to make (I’ll admit sometimes I even fall back on the car) but you feel great once it’s part of your life!

    • John Fry

      I found an old Cannondale Bugger cart of CL for $30 last year, works great for grocery getting.

  • Trevor Woodford

    Great post..I liked this a lot. There must be lot of us out there that think just like this..

    -Trevor

    • http://about.me/Aaronthestrong Aaronthestrong

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Trevor!

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