6 Lame Excuses for Not Becoming a Bike Commuter: TreeHugger

This post comes from the excellent Treehugger site.  This is an excerpt. Find the full story, with cool pics, and lots of other interesting stuff at 6 Lame Excuses for Not Becoming a Bike Commuter (And How to Get Over Them).

If any of these six excuses are holding you back from bike commuting, it’s time to get over it.

1. You’re carrying too much stuff.

A chic messenger bag, a high-tech pannier, or just a classic basket can help you carry everything in style, and even leave room for you to stop on the way home and pick up those last-minute groceries.

And if dropping the kids off at daycare is part of your daily routine, then bring them along on the bike: Invest in a carrier, and then unhook it and leave it at the daycare provider until you’re back to pick them up in the afternoon. They’ll be happy to skip the rush-hour traffic, too.

2. It’s raining (or hot, or humid).

We know you don’t want to show up at work looking all bedraggled from a commute in wet weather, or from biking through humid city streets on the steamiest summer mornings.

But this problem is easily fixed with a few simple adjustments: First, you need the right gear. Look for breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics that won’t leave you soaked (or smelly), and durable, waterproof jackets that will keep most of the water away (like Runshade shirts from Patagonia and the Lightbeam hoodie from Nau).

It’s also a good idea to stash a change of clothes at your desk (or in your gym locker, if that’s nearby) for days when you didn’t check the weather before leaving the house — and toss in an extra stick of deodorant and a hairbrush for everyday use.

3. It’s snowing.

While winter cycling brings up some of the same issues as wet- or hot-weather riding (like wearing something that you can change out of when you get to work so you don’t end up in those ice-crusted pants at your 9 a.m. meeting), it also offers challenges that are all its own.

You need riding gear that’s warm but still breathable — check your local fitness store for cold-weather workout options — and a bike that can take on salty, icy, snowy streets (a mountain bike is often better than a road bike in these situations).

4. You don’t want helmet hair.

No one wants to have helmet hair at work, but there are ways you can deal with it. There’s the $470 collar helmet from Hovding, which only inflates on impact, but you can also try a low-maintenance hairstyle; keep a stash of products at your office; or plan to hit the gym and shower after the commute but before going into work.

5. It takes too long.

Depending on where you live (think bumper-to-bumper traffic, extra time needed to find a parking spot), cycling usually takes longer than driving. It may take longer than public transportation, too, but that depends on how close you live to the bus or train station and how reliable your city’s service is.

The physical side of things also means you can cut down (or totally eliminate) your daily card sessions at the gym. Just imagine: Instead of going from a stuffy office to a boring treadmill, you could let the fresh air and sunshine rejuvenate your spirit. Doesn’t that sound a lot better?

6. You’re scared of traffic.

Taking the proper safety precautions — like using signals and lights, riding in bike lanes, and following the traffic laws — lets drivers know where you are and what you’re doing, and that makes them able to give you the space you need to ride safely.

This is also the kind of fear that only goes away with plenty of practice — so look over these 10 tips for cycling with traffic, study up on the rules of the road, buckle your helmet and get out there. You’ll be so glad to be no longer stuck in those morning traffic jams that you’ll be more confident in no time.

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4 thoughts on “6 Lame Excuses for Not Becoming a Bike Commuter: TreeHugger

    • I’d love to see one of the peddle bikes you see in parks adapted to seat two adults and two children. You could have both parents cycling and the kids behind, sort of like the first cars but with wheels so those with kids (and stuff) could get around by bike.

  1. 5:It Takes Too Long.
    My rule of thumb is, within the city/suburbs, it takes about twice as long to cycle. So, if it’s a ten minute drive, it generally takes twenty minutes to cycle. However, during peak hour it CAN be quicker to cycle.
    The thing I love so much about cycling is that I always wish it would take Longer. So often I arrive at my destination and just wish I could keep going … Especially in peak hour traffic. How often have you felt like that in a car ?

    • If I’ve got time in the mornings I ride an extra section on my way to work as I do sometimes feel like I’ve just got going when I arrive at work because the commute isn’t all that long, about 5kms one way. The car trip takes about 7 minutes as I love close to work but even on that short distance I run into traffic at several spots. When we ride on the weekends we can get to about 22km round trip on the cycleway, out past the airport and into the edge of the city to get to a new outdoor cafe for a quick stop and then back.

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