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May 24 2010

New Bike Commuter

I know that as some of us that are just starting to try commuting by bike to work (or just cycling in general), it can sometimes feel daunting.  Some thoughts that my come to mind are:

  • Can I ride the few miles to work? (Yes, but it may take time to build endurance.)
  • Do I need special equipment? (No, but it may help for long rides or in inclement weather.)
  • How do I deal with the hills? (You drive can down them and ride from the bottom of the hill.  Over time ride up the hills part of the way and walk part of the way – you will soon be walking less and riding more.  Since we live in the Seattle region hills are a given.)

Nicholas C., a colleague of mine, signed up for our Bike-To-Work Team this year.  Over the past few weeks he planned his route, tuned his bike, and rode in for the first time this past Friday!!  Today he rode in again and it was a bit easier — it was great to see his enthusiasm — and is an encouragement to many of us.

Congrats Nicholas!

IMG_9463 (1024)

Nicholas' First Bike Commute

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2 comments

  1. Chris Huynh

    I’d started commuting last July, 09. I couldn’t take the hills so I drove down the hills and park my car at Park & Ride near Lake Washington Blvd. I started with 5 miles flat for two months with my old mountain bike. Along the way, I’ve built some leg muscles. Then decided that I can do this full time. I bought a better bike and start climbing. I’s not easy at first but then it become easy as daily routines.

    I started simple and learn as I go. Summer is good time to start. It gives me time to learn about the weathers & clothings. Safety is my first and formost concern. It determines the roads I takes, the shoes, clothes, etc. I wear. And it’s in my mind on the road 100%. Find a route that’s safe & less traffic. Wear visible clothes. Learn from your colleges & friends.

    It takes as musch physical as mental capacities to maintain the course. No special equipment required. Start with what you got and learn & improve as you go.

    The journey has alot of risks as well as opportunities. For me the opportunities are out weighted the risks.

    Good luck. Hope you’ll enjoy it.

  2. blueneck

    Commuting by bike is a lot about attitude. I used to do a 58mile round trip from Sammamish to Kent and back. It seems daunting, but if you bike it and think of it in phases it’s less so. Then there’s the question of gear – watch what people wear; see how other people do things. Can you take the bus part way? Are there showers at work? Is there a bike locker at work? Will it be good weather? These days, my commute is 38miles round trip. I don’t always do 38 – sometimes it’s 25, 10 or even 5. I ride the bus, sometimes I’ll drive to a park and ride. A small route change can be invigorating.

    Don’t let the weather stop you. Yeah – it does rain here in the Northwest so get a jacket, fenders, lights, rainpants, and shoe covers. And there are hills – look at them as challenges to be won. Don’t give up; ride and walk if you need to. Sir Edmund Hillary didn’t climb Everest without perseverance – he worked at it and so can you (it’s not the same thing, but you know what I mean) :) Soon, you’ll be going up those hills and not even be thinking about it.

    And like Chris says, it’s about opportunity. For me, it’s health, decreasing my carbon footprint, saving money and not fighting for parking, doing my small bit to decrease our reliance on foreign oil, and of course those fun impromptu sprints with other cyclists as I’m going to or from work.

    Some humor with apologies to Churchill’s amazing speech:

    We shall ride on to the end, we shall ride like those in the Tour de France,
    we shall ride through drenching rain,
    we shall ride with growing confidence and growing strength, we shall ride around Mercer Island;
    we shall ride along Alki Beach,
    we shall ride near Renton air field,
    we shall ride on bike paths through fields and in the streets,
    we shall ride up hills and never surrender

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