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  1. #1
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    How tough was it to begin to commute

    I can not motivate myself to bike into work. I want to do it so that I can save money on my train fare $115 a month. I would have to bike about 15miles round trip. I guess I go to bed to late to get up and get going in the morning. So what has made others to finally get up and get organized and motivated. I think once I get use to it I will be fine hopefully? Maybe not?

  2. #2
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    When I started I made it a point to ensure that everything that would be needed for the next day was laid out the night before.
    - lunch made
    - bike ready
    - clothes laid out

    That way all I needed to do was wake up, brush teeth / put contacts in, put on clothes, and grab the bike on the way out the door without having to think. I've got a shower at work and usually have some fruit and a 1/2 bagel with peanut butter for breakfast the moment I walk in to work.

    When I started commuting, I started in the winter (in Calgary...brrrrrr). That was the benefit of laying out everything the night before. By the time I woke up, put on all my riding clothes, and got the bike out the door there wasn't much that would make me turn around by that point so I would always end up riding in (the one time being a lazy b@stard has worked out in my favor ).

    Anyway, to answer your question of what made me finally get up and get organized and motivated to ride I'd have to say it was the fact that I did the "organized and motivated" part of the equation the night before so that all I'd have to worry about in the morning was the "getting up" part.

    Also, it might be a good idea to spend Saturday this weekend testing out your proposed commuting path so that you have no excuse on Monday not to ride in.

  3. #3
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    For me, commuting to work in NYC is faster than the train or a car so the savings in time and cost to commute is totally worth the sweat and perceived danger of bike commuting.

  4. #4
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    Not so tough. I just made sure it was comfortable, that meant having spare clothes in my bag to change into so I didn't feel sweaty all day. For longer commutes I used a rack and bag (Topeak) to avoid sweaty back. For my shorter commute now I just carry a pack or camelbak (depending on whether I am going riding after). Commuting to work/school does kind of set you up for the day, gets you feeling invigorated and you are wide awake by the time you arrive. If it rains it is not so invigorating, so good to have a full set of dry clothes waiting for you - and a towel!
    Just do it, spend the money saved in the first month on your bike commute set up, after that just keep saving. With petrol prices going through the roof NOW is the time to get pedalling.

  5. #5
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    Take the plunge. If you are like me, you will enjoy both ends of the ride so much you will want to ride to work as often as you can. You can also incorporate the commute into your training if you are so inclined.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by x-ker
    When I started I made it a point to ensure that everything that would be needed for the next day was laid out the night before.
    - lunch made
    - bike ready
    - clothes laid out

    +1

    This has been the key for me as I need to get up at least an hour earlier to do the 17 miles to work. Very good suggestion.
    I'm here for the OT

  7. #7
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    My motivation and rewards:
    1) Health and fitness. I don't commute to train for RAAM or anything like that. Just to keep fit so I can take care of my newborns.

    2) Being green. Even if I only ride once a week, I'm still saving more gas than if I drove everyday. Every little bit counts. It's forced me to think about other ways to be kind to the environment. I like knowing I got there and back under my own power.

    3) Although I only have 3, many people would say that's an excessive number of bikes. Riding it to work justifies the expense/obsession!

    4) It clears the head. I used to get all ramped up during the car ride to work, anticipating all the crappy things that might happen. It's too much effort to get out the door at 6 am and pedal my arse off for 39 minutes so there's no time to ruminate about the day. The trip home clears the head. I used to spend hours talking about work. Now I come home, shower and just relax.

    5) I think I sleep better. I've lost weight, eat a little better and feel better.

    6) It baffles and impresses the folks I work with.

    Go for it. Pack your gear the night before or bring it there in the car during crappy weather. I bring my clothes and food for the week on Saturday. Get fenders (just rode thru torrential rain and they really helped), lights and a rain coat. That's it.

  8. #8
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    Try to look at as fun and having a chance to avoid the frustration of driving. Also, if you're commute is anything like mine you end up getting there just as fast and feel a lot better. No more sucking down coffee first thing when you walk in the office. Besides all that you're saving money and getting in shape.

    Honestly the first couple weeks are the toughest. Your body will adjust.

  9. #9
    NormalNorm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobonli
    6) It baffles and impresses the folks I work with.
    LOL....most of people i work with think ive lost my license and the others think im just plain crazy.

    I try and commute as much as i can(9 years). Not always easy. Living in Canada,3 kids and working 3 shifts can make it hard. Once you get in the commuting "groove", its easy. You feel so refreshed.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic300
    I can not motivate myself to bike into work. I want to do it so that I can save money on my train fare $115 a month. I would have to bike about 15miles round trip. I guess I go to bed to late to get up and get going in the morning. So what has made others to finally get up and get organized and motivated. I think once I get use to it I will be fine hopefully? Maybe not?
    Finding a "motivation" to commute is a personal thing. But what I've found is if you are just doing it to save money, you won't stick with it. Though it can be a great starter! I don't have that incentive though. My commute is 10 miles round trip, my car gets 34 mpg. That works out to about $1.67 a day at current gas prices, and that's even considering tire wear and oil changes every 3 months or so. I can't even buy a coke at the local mini-mart for that!!! The thing that motivates me is, I love to ride! I love bikes. That's what motivates me, a love of the sport. I look at it as doing something I love to get to the shop every day. Besides, what good is a shop rat that doesn't ride!? Not much in my estimation. But that's just me. Another motivation for me is that, even though my little Honda gets 34mpg, if I do drive it all week every week, I'm dumping 190lbs of CO2 into the atomosphere. So that's 190lbs that I won't be contributing this year! So I'm doing my part, small as it is. But as a previous poster said, every little bit helps.

    The savings are a good starter motivation. Stick that $115 a month in the bank and save it for some upgrades, better bike, or whatever. From there you'll eventually find other reasons to keep it up, or you'll quit. Think about fitness, you'll be getting good exercise without really having to set aside time to do it, just the extra time that it takes to do the commute. Think about riding over all. Do you like to ride? Then make it fun. That's what riding is all about. You can enjoy a beautiful day just as easily on a commute as on the trail. Granted, settings are a bit different, and you can't afford to "get into the day" as much as if you were off road, but it's still there. Do you like a challenge? A daily commute can be every bit as challenging as a trail ride, in a different way of course, but still a challenge. The crux of the whole problem is, you have to start to find your motivation. Like I said, the savings in train fees is a good starter. But to find the motivation to keep at it will require you to ride! So get started, start saving, the rest of it will fall into place.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  11. #11
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    As Squash said above, don't look entirely at savings.

    When I started earlier this month, my first motivation was saving money. Then I made the 34 mile round trip and realized how awesome I felt. I felt relieved of stress, I felt the rush of adrenaline, and the excitement of accomplishing the trip. So not ONLY am I saving upwards of $8/day in gas, I'm getting more ride time, great exercise, and I'm having a blast.

    If you treat the bike commute as FUN and not a money saving necessity, you'll be fired up and addicted within the first week.

  12. #12
    PCC
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    I just made a decision one day to try riding in to work. I had a route figured out in my head already but needed to try it. The next day I drove to work but brought a complete change of clothing with me as well as my bike lock. I left that stuff at my desk. The next day I rode my bike to work, parked it in my desk, grabbed the clothing and took a shower. After getting out of the shower I took the bike and lock to the back door and locked it up with the other bikes.

  13. #13
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    I found coming into the city once the weekend before I planned on starting to commute and bringing in a set of work clothes (that I then took to the local cleaner each week) and drop off a few supplies for cleaning up made the rest of the commuting experience totally enjoyable and got rid of a lot of the worries about sweat and appearance. I joined a local gym nearby and would make an occasional workout part of the weekly routine before work, but mostly used them for a locker and shower.

    Living in DC it was faster and *way* more fun than taking the train and I always felt better having biked to work on the coldest or hottest days than I ever did in a taxi or train.

    Try one or two days a week and then see what happens from there.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ducpilot
    I found coming into the city once the weekend before I planned on starting to commute and bringing in a set of work clothes (that I then took to the local cleaner each week) and drop off a few supplies for cleaning up made the rest of the commuting experience totally enjoyable and got rid of a lot of the worries about sweat and appearance. I joined a local gym nearby and would make an occasional workout part of the weekly routine before work, but mostly used them for a locker and shower.

    Living in DC it was faster and *way* more fun than taking the train and I always felt better having biked to work on the coldest or hottest days than I ever did in a taxi or train.

    Try one or two days a week and then see what happens from there.
    True dat. I used to commute from Vienna to Arlington and could actually do it faster on the W&OD trail than I could via car or metro. Even now that I'm on the streets driving is only minimally faster than biking.

  15. #15
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    Looking at my budget and seeing over $300 a month in gas.

    Looking in the mirror and seeing 40lbs of extra ballast...I almost gouged my own eyes out.
    Phillipians 2:3-8 "...but (Christ) made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant..."

  16. #16
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    Motivation is everything. For me, it is fun. You see the neighborhoods differently, catching smells and views that aren't possible in car. People will chat you up, most dirvers are friendly and courteous. My colleagues are jealous, and are disappointed if I don't show up sweaty from cycling. It is very quick for errands around town. In general, it is relaxing, fun, good exercise.

    On the downside, it has not saved me a dime. Although gas expenses are down, I'm indulging on upgrades on the bike, buying extra liquids at the far end of the ride and my car is a hybrid anyway (50+ MPG on highway). On the more downside, I'm profiling drivers. I avoid drivers with cell phones, especially hausfraus with kids in the back, and I avoid old people.

    I punched the trunk of a geezer's Cadillac yesterday when he did not yield into traffic. I was in the bike lane, with cars on my left. This guy comes from the right, dives into traffic and slams the brakes. So I slammed his trunk. Freaked everyone out, but the guys could've killed me. I had already slowed down so I could drop behind him. Whew! So bike commuting is not always fun and relaxing.

  17. #17
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    Maybe you could figure out a "half-commute" to try it out with. Bike to work, take train home. Take train to work next day, bike home. I guess you'd need a place to leave the bike. I dunno how the train thing works but I used to do it by driving my older car with bike in it and leaving car parked overnight and just doing one-way commutes. Another way is just try full commutes just 1 or 2 days a week and try to work your way up.

  18. #18
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    David Bryne does it, so can you!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roeland
    Motivation is everything. For me, it is fun. You see the neighborhoods differently, catching smells and views that aren't possible in car. People will chat you up, most dirvers are friendly and courteous. My colleagues are jealous, and are disappointed if I don't show up sweaty from cycling. It is very quick for errands around town. In general, it is relaxing, fun, good exercise.

    On the downside, it has not saved me a dime. Although gas expenses are down, I'm indulging on upgrades on the bike, buying extra liquids at the far end of the ride and my car is a hybrid anyway (50+ MPG on highway). On the more downside, I'm profiling drivers. I avoid drivers with cell phones, especially hausfraus with kids in the back, and I avoid old people.

    I punched the trunk of a geezer's Cadillac yesterday when he did not yield into traffic. I was in the bike lane, with cars on my left. This guy comes from the right, dives into traffic and slams the brakes. So I slammed his trunk. Freaked everyone out, but the guys could've killed me. I had already slowed down so I could drop behind him. Whew! So bike commuting is not always fun and relaxing.
    I agree about the old people. I know it sounds mean but they are worse than all the cell phone, kids screaming in the back, 6,000 pound SUV's put together. The few really close calls that I've had were all old people. They seem to have absolutely no concept that bikes are even on the road at all. I've had them outright run a light at a trail crossing, sit right in the middle of a bike lane, nearly drive right over me when I'm there in plain sight. Beware of Town Cars and old Buicks!

  20. #20
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    I manage a bar in the entertainment district downtown. Driving was always a pain, finding parking, and then going to your car after work and finding someone had hit it, or fallen into it, or even better puked on it. I don't work your standard 9-5, so riding home at 3 or 4 in the morning was always the thing that held me back. After the first month, it was just habit.

    I tried just to avoid parking and car issues, taking mass transit and using cabs to get home, but thats about 20 bucks round trip. Carpooling also worked for a while, but because of the ways the nights can go, sometimes schedules don't quite line up. Biking is just easier across the board. Also coming home after a night of dealing with bar goers a 30 minute ride is nice for the mind.

    I will say that the "motivation" for me in the start wasn't really there. It was more just trying something to see if it worked for an alternative transportation. After commuting for about 6 months now, every day I ride is better and better. Now 3 other employees have started commuting, which helps push us all to keep riding.

  21. #21
    Brackish
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    Hahaha, when I started bike commuting I was too poor to afford a car or even bus fair and I had just gotten a job as a bike messenger. So every morning I hauled my ass out of bed, rode 8 miles to work, rode for a living all day and then rode 8 miles home. Yeah, that's some motivation. I lost like 40#s in the first three months!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic300
    How tough was it to begin to commute
    Not tough at all. After all, it's just riding a bike when all is said and done.

    Playing in traffic on a bike (you are traffic after all) is fun.

  23. #23
    Get your popcorn ready!
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    I haven't started commuting yet (Starting my kids camp where I am a counselor in about a week from this coming Monday) Anyways last year at this camp, all counselors had to wait for the buses to leave, our parking lot is at the top a hill and about 50+ buses are in front of us. I would wait around10-25 minutes daily just to get out of the parking lot (lol kids can take a while to get on their bus). On top of the long wait, when I did get out of my camp there was a long 4 mile road that everybody went on and it is only one lane. To make everything worse there are 2 other camps on the same road right up that street. So if they got out before us, not only did we have to wait for our staff and buses to get past the lights on this road, we would have to wait for their buses and staff. It was always bumper to bumper! My motivation will be to be able to get exercise during this period and get home quicker! Plus I hope riding my bike in the morning will help me be more energized for my campers in the morning and will also show a good example of exercising since kids are getting it less and less these days.

  24. #24
    Arnold
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic300
    I can not motivate myself to bike into work. I want to do it so that I can save money on my train fare $115 a month. I would have to bike about 15miles round trip. I guess I go to bed to late to get up and get going in the morning. So what has made others to finally get up and get organized and motivated. I think once I get use to it I will be fine hopefully? Maybe not?
    For me it takes pretty much the same time to ride to work as to drive. Getting away from traffic is what motivates me most (and of course saving $$$ on gas) + I also like riding and enjoying the outdoors.

  25. #25
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    I started commuting by bike 3 weeks ago. I work 4 days a week and bike 2 of them. My round trip is 28 miles and the return leg is at 11pm. It took a few trips in my truck to figure out which route I thought was safest (riding at night was my biggest concern). The first couple of times I was a bit nervous riding in traffic and at night. I've become used to it and will start riding 3 days a week. I didn't ride today and really missed it. As others have stated, it's nice to not have to deal with traffic. (saving money on diesel fuel is nice)

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