When faced with the blue waters of a lake do you plunge right in and adjust to the temperature with a huge shock, or do you dip a toe and then decide to wade in a bit at a time?
Or maybe you’re a developing skier. At the top of a blue square or black diamond do you point your skis straight down, or do you cautiously schuss from side to side to eliminate as much of the painful gravity as possible so you get down safely in your own way, knowing that someday you may shoot straight down the hill at top speed?
This series is your cautious wade into the inviting waters of bike commuting, to mangle a metaphor. Inspired by 30 Days of Biking I’m going to see if I can post at least one item a day that will educate, encourage, support, or inspire (and all without giving you that terrible shock when the cold water hits your belly button).
For those of you who are already riding some of this will be old hat but I hope to give you new ideas for ways to increase your comfort, safety and style.
Honestly, it doesn’t actually take 30 days to get started as a bike commuter—if you have equipment already it’s more like 30 minutes—but I’m running with the concept as my own personal challenge on top of 30 days of biking (which is fun, not work).
Step 1: Decide you’re going to do it. Pretty simple, really, but you can think about it a long time and never actually make a formal decision. As more than one someone has said, a goal without a plan isn’t a goal–it’s a dream.
Stick the words “I’m going to bike commute” on your bathroom mirror. Make “Prep for bike commuting” an Outlook task with a daily reminder. Write something about it on the fridge. Put it in a place you will see daily to help you keep moving forward. (Quick tip: If you have a stainless steel fridge you can write on it with dry-erase markers.)
Step 2: Enlist a friend to come with you. As with any new endeavor, you’re more likely to stick with it if you tell someone and have some moral support (and someone to hold you to your best intentions).
It won’t seem so scary if you’re not alone. And you’re inspiring and encouraging your friend, too!
Step 3: Enjoy this! You’re embarking on the rediscovery of childhood joy and freedom. Celebrate it.
If you already ride with confidence on weekend recreational outings you can skip some of the information in upcoming posts but not necessarily all. Your weekend bike is most likely not equipped for commuting, for one thing; choosing a route through traffic isn’t the same thing as heading out to quiet country roads or separated trails; and dressing for a ride to work doesn’t have to involve Spandex and full kit unless you want it to.
Ready to gear up? Let’s roll!
Posts in our 30 Days of Biking Blogging Inspiration & How-to Series for Sept. 2011 30 Days of Biking
- 30 Days of Bike Commuting: You Can Do It!
- Why We Ride/Resolve to Ride–A Blogspedition
- Preparing to Commute by Bike: Get the Worry out of the Way
- Buying a Bike for Commuting: Some Questions and a Blogspedition
- How to Bike Commute: Getting the Gear Together
- Bike Commuting 101: Carrying Stuff
- On a Roll with Wilma Flanagan
- 30 Days of Biking: Week One Report
- Ride with your Community: SpokeFest Rocks!
- There and Back Again: How to Pick your Bike Commute Route
- Intro to Bike Commuting: Route Selection Part 2
- More Bike Commuting Route Selection Tips: Part 3
- Thinking Like a Driver vs. Thinking Like a Bicyclist
- Biking as Downtime and other Musings on Overproductivity
- 30 Days of Biking: Week Two Report
- On a Roll with Katherine Widing
- I Shouldn’t Assume
- Falling Down on Your Bike. It Happens. To Grown-Ups.
- Pretty Handy, Gloves. The Blogspedition Assumes You’ll Get ‘Em.
- What to Wear for Your Bike Commute? Clothes.
- How to Get a Dropped Bike Chain Back On, Grease-Free
- 30 Days of Biking: Week Three!
- It’s All in the Attitude
- Things I Now Do on My Bike Without Having to Think About It
- Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Risk and Trust
- More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Friendliness and Openness
- Even More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Tolerance, Humor, and Persistence
- Bicycling Rites of Passage, Spokane Style
- Dear Reader, I Chicked Him
- 30 Days of Biking: Final Report!
- If you’re already riding, what really pushed you into getting started? Share it here to help someone else.
- If you’re not riding yet, what’s holding you back? We may be able to help!
We’re Here for You!
- Are you going to ride every day in September, or take one step every day toward getting your bike commuting started? Tell us in the comments and we’ll send good vibes your way!
- If you’re on Twitter, tweet your intentions with the #30daysofbiking hashtag. Include us via an @BikeStyleSpok tag & we’ll tweet encouragement your way every day.
- If you’re on Facebook, go to the Bike Style Spokane page, find the update where this post will be linked, and tell us you’re going to go for it. We’ll give you a thumbs-up every way possible and so will everyone else on the page.
I did my first day last week and did 2 days this week. 6.5 miles each way and one AWFUL hill on the way home. Next week, my goal is to do it EVERY day. It’s both harder and more fun than I thought. I have basically no cardiovascular strength right now but I keep telling myself that it will get easier if I stick with it. I rode in today and am hoping to get in a short “hobby” ride over the holiday weekend.
Sticking with my bike commute is finally starting to wear off on my teenage boys – they are seeing me fully commit to something and see it through. My older boy even agreed to take a ride around the neighborhood with me today. Now, that makes it all worth it!
Wow! Can’t believe I stumbled on this and it was written today! I am just beginning my own personal 30 days! I’m someone who’s thin and healthy but with no fitness or athletic background whatsoever. I’m blogging about it at http://www.citygirlsworld.com but I will be checking here daily for inspiration. I can really use it!! Thanks so much for this.
You’ll be happy with yourself if you go through with the bike commute! Even if you’re pretty far from work I know a few people who drive part way (or take the bus/train) with a folding bike and then ride the rest. Still saves you gas and gets you some exercise!