In only one week I am going to have a job that is less than 5 miles from my home. This means I am going to try to start biking to work and with that will most certainly come the excuses. This list comes from the book Bicycling Magazine’s 900 All-Time Best Tips and I am hoping it will inspire me to skip the excuses and bike to work.
1. Excuse: It’s not safe to ride in rush hour traffic. Solution: Try back streets or secondary roads. You may have to ride a few extra minutes, but this may be enjoyable.
2. Excuse: I can’t afford a special commuter bike. Solution: Use your present bike or a used “beater”. It doesn’t need to cost much as long as it is reliable. A basic mountain with its tough wheels and upright riding position is ideal for riding in city streets.
3. Excuse: I have to dress nicely for work and can’t stuff my good clothes in panniers. Solution: Drive to work one time per week and drop off all your nice clothes, then bring home the dirty clothes.
4. Excuse: I don’t have a place to shower after arriving. Solution: To clean up, use a deodorant soap and washcloth at the sink. Or, douse a washcloth with rubbing alcohol and wipe yourself down. This cools your body while killing odor-causing germs.
5. Excuse: There’s no secure place to store my bike. Solution: It may not seem so, but check for a storage closet or out of the way corner somewhere. Or stash it with an acquaintance who lives nearby,at a bike shop, or at another business nearby that accommodates cyclists.
6. Excuse: I like to sleep, and I’d have to get up earlier if I rode my bike. Solution: An extra few minutes of sleep aren’t nearly as refreshing as a brisk morning ride. And your evening ride home will leave you relaxed, so you’ll sleep more soundly. Quality over quantity.
7. Excuse: Due to my work schedule, I’d have to ride home in the dark. Solution: Wear light-colored, reflective clothing, attach lights and reflectors, and use a route that is lit by streetlights.
8. Excuse: I don’t like riding int he cold/rain/snow. Solution: Don’t commute by bike on nasty days. But you may start looking forward to your daily rids so much that you invest in a wind jacket, rainwear, tights, mittens, balaclava, booties, thermal socks and the like.
9. Excuse: My commute is too far to ride. Solution: Consider cycling only partway. Drive to within a reasonable distance, park and ride the rest. Maybe you can even take a bus or train to where your bike is stashed.
10. Excuse: I live too close to work to make the riding worthwhile. Solution: Take a longer, more scenic route either going in or returning home.
11. Excuse: People will think I’m weird if I ride a bike to work. Solution: These days, your coworkers will probably admire you because of your healthy and environmentally friendly choices. Who knows, maybe you will you inspire your coworkers to bike with you.
I hope that this list helps you think of ways to make biking to work a possibility for you. All of my previous excuses were listed here so now I really have to suck it up and just do it.
For more biking tips, check out this book:
Pavelka, Ed.. Bicycling magazine’s 900 all-time best tips: top riders share their secrets to maximize fun, safety, and performance. Emmaus, PA: Rodale :, 2000. Print.