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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.