Lessons learned as a year-round bike commuter

Source: sierraclub.typepad.com

This morning I completed a goal that I had set for myself several years ago when I first started bicycle commuting on a regular basis – to bike commute in every month of the calendar year. Thankfully, the unseasonably mild winter we are having this season (thus far) has made that goal easier to accomplish.

Has completing this bicycle commuting goal taught me anything? Absolutely, yes. Here are a few of the lessons I have learned:

  • Anyone with a reasonably short work commute can accomplish this goal if they put their mind to it. For those with longer commutes, consider the options of keeping a bike at your office and riding during your lunch hour, cycling to a nearby transit stop, or perhaps bike commute to a park-and-ride lot and then carpool from there.
  • Bicycle commuting is fun – a lot of fun, even for those of us that fall into the middle-age category.
  • Bicycle commuting is a great was to refresh oneself and get a good start on the work day. I feel more alert and healthy when I bike commute than when I am stuck in a two-ton metal egg.
  • Bicycle commuting is a great way to stay physically fit throughout the year. Sure beats jogging which gave me shin splints.
  • You learn not to mind getting drenched or sweaty (at least on the way home).
  • What a great way to experience the nuances of your community at ground level.
  • The sweet little things about nature become much more noticeable – a sunrise; birds singing; summer breezes; snowflakes falling; leaves changing colors in the fall; a butterfly passing by; and the sound of a small stream are all examples.
  • You have a chance to interact with other people instead of being cooped up in your coupe.
  • You almost instantly become a defacto member of the bicycling culture, as fellow riders nod their head, wave, or say hello.
  • I plan my day around my bicycle commute so that multiple errands can also be accomplished by cycling.
  • Some of my best ideas come to me while pedaling across the landscape.
  • You quickly learn where corrections and improvements need to be made to improve cycling and walking safety.
  • You also quickly learn how rude some drivers are and how little regard many of them have for your safety. Cyclists are far too often regarded as a hindrance or impediment to care-free driving.
  • Each month/season of the year has its own splendors, from the chilled artistry of winter, to the rebirth and renewal of spring, to the sun-filled days of summer, to the amazing cavalcade of fall colors in autumn.
  • Nature is a gift to us all. By bicycle commuting, I feel each of us has more opportunities to enjoy the many blessings that nature has to offer.
This entry was posted in Bicycling, cities, climate change, culture, fun, health, land use, new urbanism, trails, transportation, walking and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Lessons learned as a year-round bike commuter

  1. usecraigslist says:

    Great post! I have to admit I’ve become more of a bus guy (have a line in my backyard), but these reminders of the finer points of outdoor commuting are sure to sway my ratio more toward biking. Any thoughts about gloves?


  2. velototes says:

    Rick that is a long list of positive views of bike commuting. It is a new mind set for sure to ride all year long through the good times and the unpleasant. Congratulations on your great accomplishments!! I too am a year round commuter and love every ride…sunshine or monsoon.

    Brian Meyers


  3. Alex says:

    I have a longer commute, but I am able to do it most days still, thanks to my folding bike. Even if the weather’s not great, I usually feel sufficiently optimistic to bike commute in the morning – by the end of the day, especially when it’s dark and cold, I just don’t feel up to it sometimes. But I can take my bike home on the bus, and then ride in again in the morning. I like not having to leave my bike at the office.


  4. My goal each day to try and get home before anything bad happened, and this continued to be my goal for the next seven years of school.


  5. When your not much of a health nut but actually feel the requirement for the way to get fit without having the hard work, try using an electric bike to the office. Pay a visit to Google and bing to get the choice for you.


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