Who should commute by bike? Just about anyone can ride a bike but bike commuting isn't for everyone. It's natural and totally normal to feel a bit nervous riding along major roadways, especially during peak traffic hours. While it would be great to get to a point where we had so many bikes on the roads that drivers really were more mindful, we are far from that point. Days like today when so many more cyclists than normal take to the streets do go a long way towards helping as you have people who normally drive getting to see a cyclists point of view along with drivers being forced to interact with a greater number of cyclists for 1 day. With that said, I still think you need to have a bit of an adventurous side to you. As for physical condition, you don't need to be Lance Armstrong but you should be in reasonable enough health to be sure you can not only make your commute but also be able to handle yourself should problems arise.
|My commuting bike. 27 Speed Touring Frame with front and|
|My uniquely coded "Pinhead" key to remove my wheels|
|Me getting prepped for a cold winter|
Why commute by bike? It wasn't long ago that people who commuted by bike were considered crazy, eccentric, or just flat out weird. That was back when gas was .89 a gallon. Lately, more and more people have been asking me about commuting by bike for one simple reason; GAS IS NOW $4.50 A GALLON!!! It's simple math really, if your car gets 20MPG and you have a 20 mile round trip commute to work you can save $5 a day. Doesn't sound like a huge amount but stick that $5 into a piggy bank each day. At the end of the month you have a credit card payment, a nice dinner out, a new pair of jeans or whatever you desire. Obviously the savings go up or down based on how far you commute and how efficient your car is. A moderately fit cyclist on open roads with limited stopping for traffic lights can easily cover 15 miles in an hour. Besides the obvious savings on gas what better way to squeeze your workout in by making it part of your commute. You will not only save money but you will get healthier and more fit. Then of course there is that thing called the environment, reducing emissions is good for everyone. Then as a new yorker there is my favorite reason; IT'S FASTER! I will challenge anyone to a race across manhattan during rush hour. I will ride my bike and you can take, cab, bus, subway, whatever you want. I can almost guarantee I will beat you! (I live 1/2 a block from the East River and have a client that lives right on the Hudson River 15 blocks south, I get to him in 15 minutes or less everytime covering about 3.5 miles in the process)
How do I get started? Dust off that old bike thats been in the garage, throw some oil on the chain, put some air in the tires, take it for a spin around the block. You'd be surprised what a little TLC can do for an old bike. Don't have an old bike kicking around, go down to your local bike shop and have a discussion with an expert. They'll tell you about different styles of bikes and most importantly discuss getting you fitted properly to the bike of your choice!