Staying the Course

On a cold, foggy Monday morning in December, particularly if it’s the first day back after a 10-day vacation, the temptation can be great to accept the offer for a lift to the train station. And if you’re a car-lite family that does at least some driving, and your teenagers have been home from school on Thanksgiving break so you’ve been hauling them around in the car far more than usual, it’s easy to think, “What’s the significance of one more car trip?” It’s at times like these that it’s important to remember every trip counts, that even though one car trip and one person are not going to save the planet, these little choices often lead to bigger choices that can lead one far astray from their intended destination.

11 Responses to “Staying the Course”

  • Duncan Watson says:

    You are a good man Alan. I was coughing up a lung this morning and decided that the extra 15 lbs of gear and generally crappy feelings I was experiencing deserved a break from my bike ride in. I hate that brittle feeling I get when I feel sick.

    I will bike the rest of the week though.

  • Donald says:

    Thanks for the encouragement Alan. It was tough climbing on the bike this morning but knowing that there are others going through the same thought process and deciding to brave the fog and cooler temps makes it a little easier to keep riding.
    Sacramento, CA

  • Erik Sandblom says:

    Another thing to pep you might be this: Imagine if someone were giving you a lift, instead of you driving yourself. Would that affect your thinking? I think a lot of people want to control their own mobility.

    I seldom need to ride a long distance, but when I’m sick and it’s cold I usually just bundle up and take it real easy. If I’m late I just tell people it’s because I’m sick. So being sick is an excuse for me to do everything strictly on my own terms, and that in itself makes me feel a lot better.

  • Jonathan says:

    I live in North Dakota. This morning it was 10 degrees (F) with a -5 degree windchill. I biked to work and on my way home hit the hardware store to pick up some more holiday lights. It’s sunny and 17 degrees now — I’m tempted to go out for a longer ride this afternoon. You just have to dress for the weather…

    I discovered your blog last month and love everything about it. I agree, every little bit of effort does add up to a much greater whole. Keep it up.

    Hope you’re enjoying the Civia; I’m looking forward to trying out their new “Loring” in the spring.

  • tdp says:

    I gave into temptation ~

    This foggy morning half way in to work I though, “I could have ridden, why did I drive instead?”

    I didn’t have to drive my son in and it it wasn’t that wet out but I gave in ~

  • Alan says:


    Oh I was tempted, believe me. The Tule fog can be pretty scary around here and sometimes it’s difficult to know how dangerous it is until you’re out on the road. Fortunately, it sounds as if it’s going to be less dense as the week progresses… :-)


  • Adrienne says:

    I find, for myself, that if I ride because of the environment, that I frequently ride resentful. These days, I try to remember how good I feel when I get to work if I ride and use that as incentive. Some days it is more than I can do to ride the 25 miles, or even a very abbreviated 10 mile ride with more train time later in the morning, and I refuse to feel guilty about it. My goal is always to reduce my driving by 80% of what it would be without a bike. Anything above that is gravy. No guilt, no forcing when I just don’t feel it.

  • tdp says:

    We live on an island in the PNW corner of the PNW so it is often wet and foggy (and wet). More and more here I find the isolation comforting and love the damp foggy days. Riding in these conditions are not necessarily spiritual but at times can be introverted and reflective.

    Unlike me this morning, my wife chose to ride into town through the fog and was treated by the sound of fog horns in the distance which have been on again off again since last night.

    It’s been one of those weeks and I wish I had ridden.

  • Scott Wayland says:

    Hey, Alan: I went through a similar struggle–though short lived. I did my once-a-week mega commute the 45 miles down into the Central Valley (most days I bike/bus). I knew the first part would be amazing and beautiful. The hills are turning green from the recent rains and the air was clear and sharp. But I knew I was facing tule fog in “the ditch.” I hate riding through that stuff. But I sucked it up and consoled myself with the sure beauty of the early stretch. Well, I was rewarded as the fog retreated ahead of me as I progressed, and I only flirted with the edges of it! I only had to wipe my glasses off a few times.

    The day got its revenge, however. I got a nasty flat–a big ass nail as long as my pinky jammed into my rear tire and actually stuck into the inner rim such that I thought at first I might need pliers to get it out. Ugh. About twenty minutes later I was on my way, but, man, that was the nastiest puncture I’ve ever had.

    But, overall, the ride was more than worth it. I never regret getting out, even when conditions are kind of nasty. It just feels good.

    Keep up the good fight.


  • Chuck says:

    This morning will be my first time bike commuting after a week long vacation. There’s a part of me that is lazy and would like to take the car to work but I so miss my daily bike ride. My ride is through the very early morning desert. I get to watch the sun rise and see things awaken and come to life. Thanks for the great post.

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Knowin’ When to Fold ‘Em says:

    […] wrote earlier this week about staying the course and choosing to take the bike, even when offered a lift in the car at 6am on a cold, dark, wet […]

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