Friday, May 20, 2011

Anyone Can

Always read Frazz. It'll make you a better person.

For Bike to Work Day, I’m getting my car back.

Last August, I wrote about my daughter’s need for a car to get to her various classes and appointments during the school year. Riding the bus or commuting by bike were not options because of her difficult schedules, multiple locations, materials for her various classes, not to mention winter weather. I’m a winter commuter, but it wasn’t realistic for her.

I wasn’t ready to blow the bucks on another car, so I gave her mine for the school year, and committed to riding to work every day. On days when I truly needed to drive for at least part of a day, she and I made it work by taking turns dropping each other wherever we needed to be. I think I’ve driven to work less than five times since the end of August.

The school year just ended. And you know what? It has been easy. I haven’t missed the option of bailing out and driving to work.

Sure, I had a couple of advantages and caught some breaks. We didn’t have a snowstorm big enough to stop a fat bike; I had a studded bike ready when things got icy; my commute is short; and I dodged any nasty cold or flu that would have made riding in nasty weather unbearable. (Of course, the riding probably played a big role in keeping me healthy.)

And, though it might have been inconvenient, I had access to a car if I truly needed it. As I pointed out last August, owning a car can be a good thing, because riding to work is more fun when it’s a choice, not a necessity.

Other than owning a couple of good bikes that are specifically designed or set up for the task, there is nothing special about me as a year-round bike commuter. I’m just a 48-year-old guy who sits at a desk and needs to lose 20 pounds. If I can ride every day, most people could, if they tried.

If you’re pedaling to work today, don’t make this the only day of the year that you do it. Bike to Work Day isn’t about the free coffee at an aid station, or the T-shirt you might score for being part of a team at your office. Those are just nice perks. It’s really about learning that you can leave your car at home and be just fine.

Make it a habit. Everyone will benefit. Most of all, you.


Sighkler said...

Your commitment to commuting is awesome!

Keep it up.


Debbie said...

The "do this more than once a year" mantra sounds a lot like what the priest would say on Christmas, the one time a year my family would go to church. You and Nunzilla are like kindred spirits.

Phil B said...

I say let the fair-weather commuters remain just that. I kinda like that the trails are not congested with cyclists for my commute. If we get all kinds of people commuting by bike we're gonna end up with increased incidences of trail rage. Not pretty. Not pretty at all.

Of course I jest. The city would be so much better if we could convert the heathens from petrol to peddle power. We need to employ a tactic much like the Romans used, which ended up placing Christmas celebrations in line with the pagan solstice festival - We need to find a way to align our way of thinking with the heathens'. I propose that we find a way to charge four dollars and change per PSI of air, make tires that require filling every 200 miles or so, and develop an industry of maintenance and repair around the bike while simultaneously finding a method of making the mechanical workings of the machine completely unknowable to the average rider. Then we might convert them to our way of thinking. And that puts us in on the ground floor of this huge money-making scheme.

Do I win the prize for the most verbose comment ever?