Getting Started - Commuting by Bicycle
  November 13, 2019 Login  

Current Articles    |   Archives    |   RSS Feeds    |   Search

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Getting Started - Commuting by Bicycle

by Garner Woodall at 8:24 PM EST   comments
Categories: General, Commuting, Getting Started

The goal of this article is to offer advice and assistance to those who are either interested in starting to commute by bicycle, as well those who already ride to their jobs, but are seeking new tips and insights. Because there are so many types of bicycle commuters, I will try to cover as many aspects of bicycle commuting as I can. This will largely be inspired by my own experiences, so the topics and tips are by no means exhaustive. I have broken up this article into different topics so that the reader can better assess what is pertinent to them based on their own experience and interests. This is cafeteria-style. Pick and chose what’s right for you.

Benefits of Commuting:

Economics: If you already are commuting by bicycle, you probably don’t need me to highlight the benefits. There are so many reasons to commute by bicycle; it’s hard to actually make a complete list. Certainly near the top of the list as I write this in the summer of 2008 is the price of gasoline right now – a national average of $4.40 per gallon. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to give as little money to Hugo Chavez and the Saudi royal family as possible. When it costs over $60 to fill my little Volkswagen Passat, you know driving is expensive. To make it worse, most industry experts are saying that these high gas prices are not likely to go away, and in fact may even get worse. A recent New York Times article put it more succinctly that I can, "In 2003, the average suburban household spent $1,422 a year on gasoline, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By April of this year — when gas prices were about $3.60 a gallon— the same household was spending $3,196 a year, more than doubling consumption in dollar terms in less than five years.” So over a year ago, the amount of money the average household was spending on gas was enough to buy a professional quality racing bike. The same money could buy a modest yet more than adequate commuting bike, and leave plenty of money left over for accessories, clothing and beer money. . .lots of beer money.

While one can avoid driving to work by using public transportation where available, this is costly as well. A one-way trip on the subway where I live is now around $2.50 depending on your destination. Better to take that money and buy a latte to get you going when you arrive at your job. There is even legislation pending in the US Congress to offer some kind of tax credit or other economic incentives to people to ride their bikes to work. In short, there have simply never been stronger economic reasons to commute by bicycle.

Health: This is of course one of the biggest benefits to commuting by bicycle. I am always amazed when I see people sit in traffic to get to their jobs everyday, and then go run in place on a treadmill in an effort to stay fit. If you can easily kill two birds with one stone, why shouldn’t you? You’ll also save money on that health club membership, by the way. Of course, as with any exercise program, it is best to consult your physician before you begin commuting if you have any concerns. That being said, your health will be best served if you ride safely. This topic will be covered in much greater detail later in the section on safety.

Environment: Maybe you’re an earthy tree hugger and maybe you’re not. Either way, the environmental benefits of cycling are hard to deny. When riding a bike to work, the only greenhouse gas you are likely to emit into the atmosphere is the odd fart. While the actual manufacture of bicycles and some of their accessories (for example, tires) involve methods that are not so earth-friendly, they are by comparison nothing when compared to what goes into the manufacture and operation of an automobile.


Subscribe via RSS or daily email
Previous Page | Next Page

  Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy  Copyright 2008-2013 by VeloNation LLC