Sep 262011

Another post on the mental attitudes that will help you with your bike commuting, in addition to risk and trust.

Friendliness. Smiling at drivers and making eye contact makes a big difference when you’re between them and their destination (although, as noted in a previous post, we aren’t the only things slowing them down and interfering with their entitlement to speed unimpeded through life and intersections).

Whenever you make eye contact you’re making the point that we’re all in this together. You’re another human being, not a speed bump to be run over.

This is also one of the great joys of bike commuting. I smile at people as I pass them and they smile back. I ring my bike bell at little kids riding their bikes and they beam (and try to race me).

I’ve given directions to I don’t know how many bewildered drivers trying to sort out Spokane’s downtown one-way streets. After all, I’m accessible because I’m on a bike. They can’t stop another driver to get help.

I try to think of myself as an ambassador for bike commuters. My job is to make friends, not enemies.

Openness to new things. This is a biggie. What will it take for you to change your mindset?

We all have our excuses about why we can’t change. I get to hear a lot of those from people overcome by pangs of guilt when I come into a meeting with my helmet and panniers.

You’re just used to driving. You have a habit. Habits can be changed.

Once upon a time our mothers all cooked with Crisco, right? Now you know about trans-fats and other scary things and you use canola or olive oil. You may not even be frying things any more. And it turned out that grilled food tastes pretty good, doesn’t it? You can actually taste the food, not the thick greasy coating.

Or maybe you’ve already started riding your bike but certain things still make you feel uncertain, whether it’s riding in traffic or riding fast down a big hill.

Can you tell yourself this is the year you’ll be open to trying new things and give it a shot? Remember, September is a great time for resolutions–it’s back to school season.

New things. Try ‘em, you’ll like ‘em.


Posts in our 30 Days of Biking Blogging Inspiration & How-to Series for Sept. 2011 30 Days of Biking

  1. 30 Days of Bike Commuting: You Can Do It!
  2. Why We Ride/Resolve to Ride–A Blogspedition
  3. Preparing to Commute by Bike: Get the Worry out of the Way
  4. Buying a Bike for Commuting: Some Questions and a Blogspedition
  5. How to Bike Commute: Getting the Gear Together
  6. Bike Commuting 101: Carrying Stuff
  7. On a Roll with Wilma Flanagan
  8. 30 Days of Biking: Week One Report
  9. Ride with your Community: SpokeFest Rocks!
  10. There and Back Again: How to Pick your Bike Commute Route
  11. Intro to Bike Commuting: Route Selection Part 2
  12. More Bike Commuting Route Selection Tips: Part 3
  13. Thinking Like a Driver vs. Thinking Like a Bicyclist
  14. Biking as Downtime and other Musings on Overproductivity
  15. 30 Days of Biking: Week Two Report
  16. On a Roll with Katherine Widing
  17. I Shouldn’t Assume
  18. Falling Down on Your Bike. It Happens. To Grown-Ups.
  19. Pretty Handy, Gloves. The Blogspedition Assumes You’ll Get ‘Em.
  20. What to Wear for Your Bike Commute? Clothes.
  21. How to Get a Dropped Bike Chain Back On, Grease-Free
  22. 30 Days of Biking: Week Three!
  23. It’s All in the Attitude
  24. Things I Now Do on My Bike Without Having to Think About It
  25. Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Risk and Trust
  26. More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Friendliness and Openness
  27. Even More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Tolerance, Humor, and Persistence
  28. Bicycling Rites of Passage, Spokane Style
  29. Dear Reader, I Chicked Him
  30. 30 Days of Biking: Final Report!

Your Turn

  • Do you smile at drivers? Does it change how you feel about them and how they behave toward you?
  • Has trying new things on your bike led you to be more willing to try new things in other parts of your life? Made you braver?
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