A Note to Everyone Else

If you’re not currently riding a bicycle for transportation, this note is for you.

We do an awful lot of preaching to the choir around here. It’s only natural; any website dedicated to a specialized subject is going to attract people who are interested and involved in that subject. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but ultimately we hope to reach out and inspire those who aren’t riding their bikes for transportation to consider giving it a try sometime.

While chatting among ourselves, we often talk about the many benefits of bicycling:

  • Improved health – Even a short commute of 5-6 miles roundtrip provides 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise
  • Lower transportation costs – Replacing a car with a bicycle has been shown to save upwards of $7000-$8000 per year
  • Reduced environmental impact – If 1 out of 10 car commuters switched to a bike, CO2 emissions would be reduced by 25.4 million tons per year
  • Reduced dependence on foreign energy sources – Eliminating one automobile can reduce gasoline consumption by more than 500 gallons per year
  • Reduced road congestion – Fewer cars on the road means cleaner, quieter cities and safer neighborhoods for our kids
Do you remember that feeling of freedom you experienced when riding a bike when you were a kid? The feeling of the wind on your face and the road buzzing by beneath you, the smells of cut grass, warm asphalt, and honeysuckle drifting through the air?

Any or all of the above are excellent reasons to take up bicycling for transportation. What we don’t often talk about are the things about bicycling that keep us out there day-after-day, month-after-month, and year-after-year.

Do you remember that feeling of freedom you experienced when riding a bike when you were a kid? The feeling of the wind on your face and the road buzzing by beneath you, the smells of cut grass, warm asphalt, and honeysuckle drifting through the air? Have you ever experienced coming around a corner on your bike and seeing a deer or a coyote in the road, with that split second of startled recognition as your eyes met? Did you ever ride you bicycle all the way across town, further than you’d ever gone before under your own power, exploring strange neighborhoods as if you were on an expedition?

Here’s our big secret: those aren’t just memories, you can have those experiences right now. We bicycle riders have many experiences such as these on a regular basis. All you have to do is get out there and ride your bicycle every day with an attitude of adventure. And there’s no better way to carve time out of your busy schedule for bike riding than to ride your bike for transportation. What else could be simpler and provide such a huge payback in so many ways?

So think about joining us. Think about riding your bike to work. Think about replacing a few car trips per week with a bike ride instead. Be bold and even think about giving up your car completely. And whatever you do, little or big, know that it’s good for you and the world around you, and more importantly, know that you’re gonna’ love it.

20 Responses to “A Note to Everyone Else”

  • Chris Heidel says:

    Thanks for the reminder to ride for fun. I have a great toolin’-around-town bike with “flat foot technology” (i.e., both feet are fully on the ground when I stop), and it has been great. I need to air up the tires and get out. Summertime!

  • HowardBollixter says:

    Nicely said. It would make a great newspaper editorial as well, reach more people. It still amazes me when I see what is probably 95 out of a hundred cars with only one person, tooling around town. You want to shake them, say Wake Up!

  • Don’t Forget to Bike for Fun! | Libra Fitness says:

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  • zoomzit says:

    Great post. I’d like to say that I commute by bike because I “ought to.” But I really do it because I love it. I think we will get farther if we talk about what a joy biking is, rather than guilting people into it as if we are reminding them to eat their broccoli.

  • Doug R. says:

    I agree with Libra fitness, we should use attraction rather than promotion to biking. It is simply fun and great transportation too.

  • Roland Smith says:

    Well said, Alan!

  • Nipper says:

    Great piece writing! I cycle everyday, have done all my life but I still get those moments of wonder when I see something I would have missed cooped up in a car. It is that memory of the childhood freedom we first gained by cycling to far distant places, that still remains fresh every time we jump on a bike. I still remember how aged 14 I would cycle off every evening across the Somerset levels to meet my friends; my parents left far behind.

    I am 36 (with 2 children) and have never felt the need to drive a car.

    Being an everyday cyclist I have encouraged…cajoled…guilt tripped…harassed many car drivers in an attempt to get them on a bike. NOTHING WORKS! I am now convinced that the only way to get car drivers to stop making the short journeys, we all as a society need them to stop making, is to make it more difficult and expensive to drive. We need massive infrastructural change to slow down cars… speed bumps, winding roads, indirect routes whilst also taxing the hell out of them. We need to build safe direct cycle routes. This will bring about the necessary modal shift, they have done it in Copenhagen! It is no good people cycling on a couple of fair weather days a year, we need a cultural shift.

    BTW Thanks for such a wonderful blog; so many really great posts and such magnificent photography.

    Nipper ( Ukulele Revolutionary)

  • Fritz says:

    I’ve run into a handful of people who say they get around by bike because it’s the right thing to do, but they actually don’t like it much. I was astounded the first time somebody told me that.

    But I think all in all most people who try biking discover they really enjoy it, and I think it’s important to remember that joy of cycling.

  • Trisha says:

    So true! The benefits are nice, but I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t so much fun. Thanks for spreading the word. :)

  • Bill Lambert says:

    On May 17 I started tracking the CO2 I’m not emitting by riding my bike instead of driving, and I’m up to 553 lbs saved. That’s only commuting 2-3 times a week by bike. The CO2 savings is a bonus – I bike because I love it.

    I am sure that your blog is helping to convince people to begin riding, and those who do ride, like me, to ride more. Good job!

  • Eric says:

    It has been a great few weeks of riding. My schedule has lighted up and I have been able to do some riding to get around town. Last Friday I did almost 30 miles just running errands for the day. I started the morning with a ride to a meeting at sunrise and ended the day with a ride home from the Nature Valley Grand Prix pro bike race at sunset.

  • doug says:

    after an annoying week, a week full of work and stress and maybe the daily bike commutes are just getting me down, i love going on “the ride.” i spend the whole week planning it, studying the map, plotting the route.

    and then, on friday, my day, i take to the road and it’s just me, my bike, and the universe. riding dozens of miles into the wooded farmland folded into the glacier valleys, along dirt roads over the rim of the valleys, waterfall, mossy rainforests. every stress melting away into the hum of tire on the rough chipseal or slippery gravel.

    oh man. what a feeling to pull away from home on a friday morning to spend the next seven hours exhausting myself.

  • Carolyn Ibis says:

    I have never owned a car. I can drive, but prefer not to. I have been commuting by bike for 18+ yrs, and have no plans to stop.

    I retired my old commuter this year and got a new Hybrid one in Feb. I already have racked over 1000 kms on it! Recently, someone tried to sell me a car, but I told them that I did not need one, as I have a bike to get around, and I told them the mileage that I have on it, and their jaw dropped!

    It’s definitely hard to make someone try out bike riding, but if they see that it’s an enjoyable experience, then they might just try it. I always make sure that people see that I have fun on it! Big smiles, etc.. So darned proud of it!

  • Pete says:

    I love that my commute to work requires zero $ in gas and only human metabolic carbon emission. I love that I spend $0.00 on insurance and $0.00 on car payments each year. I love that for the price of an oil change I can trick my ride in some cool way, that even a MAJOR repair is likely to be under a hundred bucks, and even if the whole thing is stolen I can come back at under four figures and have a first class ride. I love that my bike is simple enough that I can “Sheldon Brown” my way through any mechanical difficulty.

    Most of all I love that before I have to work or do errands, I get to ride my bike.

  • placid casual says:

    this is brilliant. it captures just what i’ve been trying to get across to my fellow employees who DON’T take part in our bike to work events.

    do you mind if i base my next rallying call on this?

  • Alan says:

    @placid casual

    “do you mind if i base my next rallying call on this?”

    Please do! :-)

  • placid casual says:

    mille grazie

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