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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
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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
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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.
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  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
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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
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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)

  26. #26
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    I started two months ago. Everyone at work is jealous! My girlfriend lives a few miles away, and there is a greenway between our houses, and also to work. Sometimes I don't use my car for 2-4 days at a time! When I get back in the car, everything feels weird.

    I have to lay out all my stuff the night before like others have said. I have to have multiple bags ready for different situations, etc.

    I have found if I leave at 7 instead of 730, there is WAY less traffic at the 2 intersections I pass through, where people are driving like idiots hauling ass on the way to work. At one of the intersections I just hop off and walk my bike across with the people, it is too hard to navigate between 3 way car traffic and hordes of people going to work at this particular hospital.

    I ride at least twice to 4 times a week if possible.
    'Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.'
    -Mark Twain

  27. #27
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    $2/gallon. No way was I paying that much. Selling your car also helps.

  28. #28
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    2 a gallon? You mean you started commuting then? It's 4 a gallon now...
    'Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.'
    -Mark Twain

  29. #29
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    When gas was $1.80/gallon we moved out to the boonies. Went from a 2.5 ROUND TRIP Daily commute...to 90 miles a day...at $1.80 a gallon is wasn't too bad.

    Instead of a car payment, I now have the monthly "fuel" budget.
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  30. #30
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    I started commuting a few weeks ago after finding an old road bike in the garage. At first, commuting gave me a reason to ride further than I usually would; more exercise and conditioning for trail riding. Then I realized how much gas / money I was saving by riding. Now I ride everywhere within a 15 mile radius of my house.

    It was tough at first since I was not use to that kind of continuous pedaling, but picked up the endurance quickly. I find it very enjoyable both mentally and physically (the idea of saving money and building up my fitness).

    I also noticed that I buy less when I shop for groceries since my carrying capacity is limited. Less impulse buys = saving even more money.

  31. #31
    I bought some roadies.
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    I also wish I would have just gotten an actual road bike. I've spent more money on changing my bike to be more efficient on the road, and less trail worthy.

  32. #32
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    I moved where i did so.

    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?
    I could ride the 17 mi round trip to work or take the bus which ever worked best on any particular day anytime during the year. Overall i feel better, i look better (some of us just have to work a bit harder then others..you know?), i sleep better, its exciting, and its fun to see how much beer i can
    jam into my pack when i hit bevmo on the roll home.

  33. #33
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    With gas prices the way they are, it doesn't make sense to drive everywhere! I do all my around town stuff on my bike now. Just have to plan to give yourself some extra time to get all the way across town.

    To get to work, i can get there faster on my bike than i can driving, because of where i have to park. I can ride right up to the door. So the commute is shorter and i can sleep an extra 5 minutes .

  34. #34
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    I started commuting to work about 2 months ago. With gas at $4.50/gal and driving a Nissan Titan, I needed to cut back. Another motivator for me is motocross. I really want to get back into racing my motocross bike, and riding my bike to work is a good way to get back in shape for my weekend races. I am about 30lbs over what I should body wise.

    I started with 2 days commuting to work, and have progressively moved that to 4. 13 mile round trip on my rides with a few good climbs thrown in has been good for me.

  35. #35
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    OP --
    You are stealing time from being that stuffy, responsible adult professional that everyone expects...and you are doing it on your bike! God, what could be better?!? By riding instead of driving or taking the train/taxi/bus/whatever, you are paying yourself to 'play hooky' from the 'grown-up's world'! Better than platinum-set diamonds to Ivana Trump!
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  36. #36
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    I got started when my car's radiator blew and for two weeks I had no choice (waiting for parts and timt to do the work). I had been commuting 1 or 2 days a week prior to that and then all of a sudden I had to do it everyday.

    Now I'm a 4-5 days/week commuter throughout the year. Laying out stuff the night before is huge! I get up at the same time as when I drove, i just get out the door quicker.

    It's a habit now so I don't need a lot of motivation, but I am motivated by motivating my coworkers. While, none of them have started the bike commute yet, many have come up to me to share how they've brought their old bikes out of retirement to start riding.

    Everyone seems disappointed if I drive to work now. It used to be that it would be a big deal if I rode to work, now it's a big deal if I don't. I think that my coworkers like knowing the "crazy guy that rides to work in snowstorms and rain".
    Blog

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    Just keep moving forward.

  37. #37
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    Hatred of taking the subway in rush hour is what got me started.
    I quickly found the additional bonus of stress management.

  38. #38
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    I started commuting after getting back from deployment to Iraq. It is so freeing, for lack of a better word, to just start peddling. I know it's saving me money on gas and I am losing weight. I also leaning toward getting rid of the car and buying a Ute or a Big Dummy.

  39. #39
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    I agree with Bugly, it is so freeing of the mind. To see all those angry, sad or lost people in their cars and your happy as a five year old on your bike is awesome. Of course all the others reasons are great too.

  40. #40
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    The hardest part is starting. You basically have to set a new routine for yourself and that can be hard to do. As you said the time you spend on your bike is more time that you get to be you before you have be professional guy for the rest of the day.

    I have been commuting now for about a month and really like it. I actually look forward to it and miss it when I cant ride due to weather. Beside your getting more time on your bike which always a good thing.
    LIVE TO RIDE - RIDE TO LIVE

  41. #41
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    I have not been able to commute this week due to shuttling around a 17 year old "semi-adoptee" around town before and after work.

    ...and it SUCKS!

    I was just sitting here in my cubicle singing..."I want to ride my bicycle...I want to ride my bike!"
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  42. #42
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    My commute was always relatively long, and all by car (no reasonable ridable road route)...

    150 miles round trip, 90 miles round trip, and 105 miles round trip...

    Then I got a job close to home (at a school district). I ride my bike when the kids aren't around, and this coming year I'll try it when the kids Are around I'll just come in earlier.

    Now my commute is 1.5 miles round trip if I do it by car and just under 1 mile by bike or walking. I wouldn't care if I never drove a car within a 30 mile radius again. It was easy for me.

  43. #43
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    No difficulty, just another excuse to ride . The hard part is right now, as my bike is in the shop getting a new headset installed.

  44. #44
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    We have a winner

    Quote Originally Posted by Idriver
    The hardest part is starting. You basically have to set a new routine for yourself and that can be hard to do. As you said the time you spend on your bike is more time that you get to be you before you have be professional guy for the rest of the day.

    I have been commuting now for about a month and really like it. I actually look forward to it and miss it when I cant ride due to weather. Beside your getting more time on your bike which always a good thing.
    Riding the bike is the easy part. The logistics of an entirely new routine is the hard part. The best thing to do is commit to riding every day or you will use various factors that affect the routine as a reason not to ride in on any given day.

  45. #45
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    GH is right; the surrounding routine is the big commitment. Getting up earlier, the gear, the clothing -- it takes a mindset.

    My work schedule was flexible enough that I could get the kids on the bus during the school year, gear up, and take the long, scenic route to work. Then, after work, I had all the time I wanted to ride home.
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  46. #46
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    Inspiration to Start Commuting

    Getting started is the single hardest thing to do...
    mentally saying, "I'm GOING TO DO IT!"


    I'm not talking about just thinking, "one day I'm going to ride my bike to work..." I'm talking about the mental commitment! Once you tell yourself and agree on the date, start working on the preperation as it's not going to be like you commit the night before and strike out in the morning... unless your car got stolen or the battery has decided it was dead... but that is going to be a rough way to start.

    Get prepared! Mental and or on paper go through the whole process of what you are going to need to do:
    Wake up early. I actually rode in on a weekend to see what kind of time it would take for my 19-mile one way commute.
    Eat early or prepare some food so you can eat once you get there.
    How are you going to carry cloths+shoes & food to/from work?
    How / where are you going to change once at work and clean up?
    Are you going to need lights for your bike?
    Make sure you have pump and tubes at all times.
    the list can on and on and on.. but once you start your preperation you get excited about actually doing it!

    And once you do it one day and you are worn out, take two days off and then get back on the bike, take a day off and get back on the bike. Do a couple of rides on the weekend and start the second week. Once you make it past this second week [which is always the HARDEST!] it becomes addictive! Trust me, you will see! Then next thing you know it's two months later and you are really on your way!

    Basically the money I save in gas helps cover the increased cost in gas the wife uses transporting the kids to / from school and all their activities.

    Seeing how as we Americans can not seem to NOT BUY GAS on one particular Date you can only make your own actions of protest by peddling! Yeap, it's the ultimate protest - hang up the gas pump and start pumping the peddles.

    Hope those are some helpful bits of inspiration and your commutes turn into extended rides!

  47. #47
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    I just started this summer out of necessary. I cant get a drivers license because of my vision(20/300 and 20/80) and the bus system in the area is a joke so it was either ride or not be able to get anything. But I rather bike then ride a bus or car anyways. I actually enjoy the ride ir might take longer but then I also dont have to spend time in a gym keeping in shape too.

  48. #48
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    Back when gas was over $4/gal, a friend at work was contemplating riding in. I said I would do it if he would. It was on!! My commute was about twice as long as his but knowing he was riding made me do it too. I always thought to myself: "I can't let Brian get a lead...I gotta ride or I'm really gonna hear about it!"

    For the first couple of weeks it was tough going because I was in bad shape and a 24 mile round trip commute was pretty grueling. As time went by, I upgraded some stuff on my bike to make it more enjoyable.

    That's what worked for me. Brian and I both still ride but the good natured competition is pretty well over. We now just encourage each other.

    So, find a riding buddy to keep you accountable and keep you going when you feel like quitting.

    Good luck!!

  49. #49
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    Kinda of hard to find a commuting partner at 5:30 in the morning. LOL Good thing is my work commute is only 4 miles one way.
    Eat to Live...not the other way around

  50. #50
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    I started commuting by bike mostly because I didn't have enough time to get to the gym when I wanted to. With ~ 1/2 ride each way, I get a good hour workout- and given rush-hour traffic, my commute time really hasn't changed. Saving money on gas was, and has been, just an additional bonus. To make my life easier, I pack everything the night before so all I need to do is put on my bike clothes, grab the backpack, and go.

    I'd recommend starting by deciding to ride twice a week, and then increase it once you get into a rhythm.

    Most of my coworkers originally thought I was demented for riding, especially in the winter (I'm just outside of Boston), but they've gotten used to it

  51. #51
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    I'll echo what many others have said. One thing was it was a good way for me to get an hour workout each day (my commute was about 8 miles each way, it's now 3 since I moved last year). Easing into it, and starting in the spring or fall when the weather is nice is the easy way to do it. You can ease into things like the weather getting colder and rain easier that way.

    Like others have said, having you stuff set out the night before makes the commute easier. I have my coffee, and oatmeal in their containers and stuffed in my backpack the night before, along with my clothes (and shoes if necessary) for the next day. I typically will leave my jeans and a pair of shoes at the office so I don't have to carry them back and forth all the time. From experience, keeping a spare shirt and pair of underwear at the office doesn't hurt in case you forget to pack either one. The thing that takes the longest amount of time for me is moving my headlight/taillight from one bike to another when I decide to take a different one into the office.

  52. #52
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    Not so tough at all. Even though I hadn't been on a bike in 15 years, you never really forget how. The only thing that made it tough is that I have so many hills to climb, but I'm getting back in shape pretty quick. And I live so close to work that it's almost silly to drive anyway.
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  53. #53
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    I started commuting to work in the summer. I loved it because when i got to work i had a lot more energy than i normally do. The exercise woke me up whereas i normally wake up and drive 10 minutes 1/2 asleep and i'm still 1/2 asleep until 9 or 10. It made me feel good about myself too.

    But I live in Edmonton. I've stopped commuting. I can't get myself motivated at -11. It's been a mild november so i guess i'm being a baby. But i have 2 questions for cold climate commuters:

    1) how do you get yourself motivated to ride your bike in very cold temperatures?

    2) What sort of gear do you use to bike in the cold?

    I have leg warmers and those are great for fall riding but worthless at -20. My bike shoes are mesh on the top. I only own 1 jacket and it's a huge burton snowboard jacket. Plus i'm thinking i'll need lights because in the winter it's still dark at 7:30 and the sun is going down when i leave at 4.

  54. #54
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    I've been planning on commuting to work for a couple of months but always found a reason to procrastinate. Weather, being out of shape, too dark to cycle safely with crappy Australian drivers etc.

    Then I did a test run yesterday (sunday) to figure out the best route to work without the hectic traffic and I loved it. I live in Sydney and this was the first time I got to cycle over the beautiful Sydney Harbour Bridge (with a dedicated cyclepath). Its 12k each direction with a fair few hills.

    Traffic is the most frightening thing but I guess you get used to it. Feeling pretty stiff and sore today but small price to pay. I even got to test out my tube changing skills when I got a flat. Hadn't tried the CO2 refill system before so was a bit dubious but it worked a treat. I had just put some slicks on the day before so had had some practice at getting the tires on and off the rims and in the end i was back on the road in 5 minutes.

    Just getting my brakes fixed up at the shop today and will start the commute this week. Really excited and even mapped it out on Bikely.com if anyone is interested:

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...-to-Darlington

  55. #55
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    Lately I find the more time I spend commuting the less I have to ***** about those over the top obnoxious navy ads the admins have allowed to pollute this forum.

  56. #56
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    Get Motivated- at ALL Costs

    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?
    I know how you feel. I was riding a clunky, heavy bike 9 miles(one way), and I dreaded the trip, every single day. However, I was entirely dependent on my commute- since I had a suspended driver's license, and no vehicle. I rolled the dice one day, with my last tax return and got a super-light, XC race bike. Now, I cannot WAIT to ride the thing! The huge performance rush of this bike MAKES ME want to ride it every day. Suddenly, I no longer dread my daily commute. In fact.....nine miles per trip, is NOT enough! This bike just absolutely FLIES on pavement, climbs like a billy goat on crack, and has me racking over 100 road and trail miles/week on it now! As a result- I got ALL my money back, and lost 70lbs- since I got this bike. That is better than the finest gym membership, money can buy.

    By commuting ONE YEAR- I saved so much money, I was able to pay off all my court fines, restore my license and get a used truck......to haul my bike on trail rides. And this all began as a simple work commuter......
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  57. #57
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    Ultimately you just need to bite the bullet and do it. I have a 50 mile round trip that I try to do twice a week. Just started a month or so ago, I've skipped out on the second time each week for various made up reasons, but I realize they are really just me being too lazy/tired to get up and do it. I just need to get more disciplined, which, no matter how many tricks you try, just comes down to doing it. This frankly applies to a lot of things in my life (discipline) so maybe once I get consistent with twice a week, it'll be easier to be more disciplined in other things....there's some motivation right there!
    Salvation Outdoor
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  58. #58
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    not very, 18 years ago I was fresh out of college and the TV station that just hired me didn't pay enough for me to repair my car, so I started riding.

  59. #59
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    Interesting comments posted here. I'm thinking of starting commuting, but I have to wear starched shirt, tie, and dress shoes to my job. There isn't a shower either. How do you all account for these obstacles?
    DO RIGHT AND FEAR NO MAN

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asbury
    Interesting comments posted here. I'm thinking of starting commuting, but I have to wear starched shirt, tie, and dress shoes to my job. There isn't a shower either. How do you all account for these obstacles?

    I ride to work 2 days a week. On the days I drive I shuttle in clothes and supplies and hand them on the back of my office door. Costco supply of baby wipes too. I bring in all my food for the week on Monday also so its here and I dont' have to worry about it the rest of the week.
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  61. #61
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    How far is will your?commute be?
    Go to the discounte store and buy a weeks worth of shirts and a couple of ties. have them laundered and leave them hanging at work. Then buy a box of baby wipes, some deoderant ect, keep them with the shirts and whatever else you may need.
    When a shirt is soiled, return it to the laundery.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asbury
    Interesting comments posted here. I'm thinking of starting commuting, but I have to wear starched shirt, tie, and dress shoes to my job. There isn't a shower either. How do you all account for these obstacles?
    In your case- you have to drive. Unless you are willing to use a portable steamer on your shirt and take a baby wipe "shower."
    "This is a male-dominated forum... there will be lots of Testosterone sword-shaming here" ~ Kenfucius

  63. #63
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    I have to wear a dress shirt, slacks and tie when I teach. I carry mine with me in one of the fold-over garment pannier bags for dress clothes. I have a washrag and towel and take a bird-bath if I need it when I get dressed for work in the restroom. Obviously, dont wear your nice clothes to bike- find some way to get them to the office as mentioned above, of pack them with you.
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  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobonli
    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.
    Couldn't agree more with you. Although the other benefits are there (fitness, money savings, etc) I find that my mental health is a lot better after riding to and from work.

  65. #65
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    Where there is a will, there is a way

    Quote Originally Posted by Asbury
    Interesting comments posted here. I'm thinking of starting commuting, but I have to wear starched shirt, tie, and dress shoes to my job. There isn't a shower either. How do you all account for these obstacles?
    1. I have a file drawer with dress shoes, belts, deodorant, etc.

    2. Ties roll up to avoid wrinkles and take very little drawer space.

    3. Look for a dry cleaners that picks up and delivers your laundry to/from your work place and store them in a small garment cover.

    4. The garment panniers work great... a co-worker has one, and he swears by it.

    5. PTA baths in the Mens room are the norm...sometimes have to wait in line.

    Starched shirts are you biggest obstacle...Dress pants roll up very nicely, but starched shirts are not as forgiving.

  66. #66
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    Reading this makes me super stoked for the warm weather. I'm in High School, and It's only 11 miles to school from my house. I am defiantly going to ride that when it gets warmer. I cant wait! Taking something I do on the weekends for fun, and doing it everyday! YES!

  67. #67
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    I put on some bad weight since I moved to Germany from the US. I had a commute by bike to the north end of the city, which was supposed to be my daily exercise, until I had two injuries back to back. Then came the weather, but overall, I got 50% of my riding in.

    Now I have to go to a different part of the city, further away, and more difficult to get to. The motivation there is that it's a PITA to take the bus from my area and there's little to no parking, so I might as well just ride my bike, including the long uphill at the end.

    The incentive to start is to lose the weight, strengthen my weakening legs, and avoid passing out at 11. I'm going all day from the riding. Tradeoff is how friggin' cold it is and all the major roads I have to cross. The payback is strengthening my body and feeling better all day. Plus, I save on transportation costs.

  68. #68
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    Reading this has made me start to prepare to ride into work. The main thing that has held me back at this time is the lack of roads with bike lanes, or sidewalks, or even just a wide enough road to ride next to a car. I finally figured it out, and I think I have also found a cheap road bike to use also.
    I am very excited, and I think it will be a very nice ride, thank you all for the encougragment. I will post up when everything falls into place. I think the biggest hold back right now will be the weather but hey, I have to start somewhere.

  69. #69
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    Not that hard. I got my commuter from a Home Depot type store for 88€.

    The rear shifter literally exploded one day, so now it's a single, stuck in the smallest gear in back. I only switch the front ring between the big and middle. Now I want to build an SS with discs.

  70. #70
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    It wasn't that hard to start when it became you're only way to work.

    I bought a Trek 4300 in 2006 hoping to begin a lifestyle of commuting to work and school.

    I was going to Portland State University and was living about 20miles away from campus. Needless to say I wasn't going to commute that everyday. I decided to take the light rail (MAX) and when I saw how crowded it got in the morning, I decided not to take my bike.

    I snagged a job up at a local supermarket working until odd hours of the morning in a rough neighborhood. I didn't feel comfortable commuting by bike when any given day there was at least one shooting withing a 5 mile radius of where I worked.

    Then on Jan. 18, 2009 a series of unfortunate events happened forcing me to become a bike commuter. My car (which I still owed a great deal of money on) had half of a tree fall on it as a result of a serious wind storm we had. THEN in a matter of hours my neighbor came home drunk and finished off the vehicle. My insurance company decided to total my car. I was upside down on the loan and as luck would have it, my loan was still paid off (I didn't have GAP insurance).

    Needing to find a reliable way to work I tuned up the Trek and began my commute. Work is only 5 miles away (1-Way). I use a couple of different methods to get to work. When it's dark outside (4:00am) I ride to the light rail station and take the MAX to the stop nearest my work and ride the rest of the way in. Then on my way home I suck it up and ride the 5 miles (mostly uphill).

    I never really encountered a period of not wanting to ride my bike. I need money and paying bills was my motivation to commute. Now that I am without a vehicle, I can save over $500 a month towards my future car. I plan on commuting to work until September and then I'll take the money I saved to buy a good used car, 100% cash.

    I have been overweight for about the past 8 years. I'm 5'10" and have been known to hover around 230-240lbs. The first week of riding I lost 10lbs. I haven't weighed myself since, but everyone at work and all of my friends have noticed a difference in my weight.

    So the health, financial, and boosted self esteem benefits of becoming a commuter will keep me motivated to ride.

  71. #71
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    It can sometimes be hard to get motivated in the morning. Like others have said, it helps a bunch to have everything ready to go the night before. That way there is no thinking involved in the morning and you can focus on getting out the door and on the bike. As soon as you start riding you are committed so you quickly become motivated at that point. The thing that motivates me the most is to think about the ride home. I really look forward to riding home after being cooped up all day in an office building.

  72. #72
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    Having a nice bike, is one great motivator....because it BEGS you to ride it more. The rest all falls nicely into place...until somebody steals it. So, invest in good U-locks!
    "This is a male-dominated forum... there will be lots of Testosterone sword-shaming here" ~ Kenfucius

  73. #73
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    If the money saved doesn't motivate you, think about how great you will feel accomplishing the ride each day. Your coworkers will talk to you about how you do it. My coworkers all think I'm crazy but they've watched me lose 40 lbs in the first 3 months of commuting by bike. You will feel better every day you ride instead of taking the train. Your body will crave good healthy food and you can eat delicious unhealthy food once in a while without worrying about gaining weight. If you are single, women will notice you more often and dating opportunities will arise from being in better shape. If you are married or have a girlfriend, then she will be much happier seeing you getting into better shape and it may even encourage her to start riding as well. Just riding to and from work every day will burn up the energy that keeps to up late at night and you will sleep better waking up earlier feeling energized. It's an all around good feeling to commute by bike. I'm switching from commuting on a Cyclocross bike to a Singlespeed Mountain Bike so I can hit the trails on the way home.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asbury View Post
    Interesting comments posted here. I'm thinking of starting commuting, but I have to wear starched shirt, tie, and dress shoes to my job. There isn't a shower either. How do you all account for these obstacles?
    • Baby wipe shower.
    • Pedal slower!
    • Dry cleaners near or delivering to your workplace instead of your home.
    • Talk to air hostesses; they have to have their stuff in a suitcase, but they still have to look nice.
    • Microfiber shirts and certain fabrics will not crease. Sure, they're not as high brow, but they'll do the job.
    • Finally, consider a 4-1 commute. 4 bike commutes, 1 car commute. Car in one day a week, bring all your clothes. Bike in the other 4 days. A lot of guys at Microsoft do that.
    • Bonus points: always keep a spare set of attire at work. Trust me on this one, one day you will forget.



    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic300 View Post
    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?
    Start off easy, and work your way up. Have a goal in mind for sure. Try and make a routine of it, and remove all blockers that might get in the way. If you find you hate riding in because it takes you so long to get all your clothes together, do it the previous night, for example. Pack your cycling gear so it's easy for you to just jump in to it the next day.

    Find the little things that make you happy too. Someone on the motorcycle group at work said something that rings true for cycling as well: "Do it because you love it, not because it saves you money. Grin factor has no monetary value, but is worth its weight in gold." Some people do save money in cycling, but I'm not one of them. I do feel better, I'm happier and I sleep better though, which makes it all worth it. The way I see it, I'd be drinking 4 cups of coffee a day otherwise, which means I'd be shelling out $1500 a year anyway.

  75. #75
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    One tip to get to bed earlier is to somehow shift your evening routine earlier, so that you still have time to wind down. For example I find if I make a big pot of chili and just have to zap a bowlful, that it saves a lot of time.

  76. #76
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    FORGET COMMUTING if you have to wear a shirt and tie, without a shower. Been there and done that....no thanks.

    Last job that I had to wear a shirt and tie, was when I was a Stockbroker. For me to wear a choker(tie) again....you'll have to pay me six figures.
    "This is a male-dominated forum... there will be lots of Testosterone sword-shaming here" ~ Kenfucius

  77. #77
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    I just keep the nice clothes at work, and ride in riding clothes. Wipe down upon arrival, change into work clothes. The end. Swap out the nice clothes at work every week or two when you're nearby with a car.


    I think the real question is "how hard is it for you to stop riding when you get to work?" Most days I want to just keep pedaling.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    I think the real question is "how hard is it for you to stop riding when you get to work?" Most days I want to just keep pedaling.
    Awesome and true.

  79. #79
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    The real question should be, how tough is it to look at yourself in the mirror if you don't commute. It means you are not giving your body what it needs to thrive and you are behaving like a sedentary shlub just like everyone else...

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah View Post
    FORGET COMMUTING if you have to wear a shirt and tie, without a shower. Been there and done that....no thanks.

    Last job that I had to wear a shirt and tie, was when I was a Stockbroker. For me to wear a choker(tie) again....you'll have to pay me six figures.
    There are ways to get around the possible funk of not having a shower. Granted I don't wear a suit or tie, but I do business casual wear at a lot of different client's sites around the city and I just arrange my schedule so that I arrive early, get wiped down, cool off a bit, then change well before my first meeting of the day.

    Around here I find folk are pretty darn forgiving of what someone looks like when they know he or she commutes by bike.

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by blockphi View Post
    There are ways to get around the possible funk of not having a shower. Granted I don't wear a suit or tie, but I do business casual wear at a lot of different client's sites around the city and I just arrange my schedule so that I arrive early, get wiped down, cool off a bit, then change well before my first meeting of the day.

    Around here I find folk are pretty darn forgiving of what someone looks like when they know he or she commutes by bike.
    If airline hostesses can live out of a suitcase & still look great, I think I can manage to look good with gear packed in a backpack. There are ways to store a suit & tie such that they don't wrinkle (too much) . I generally roll my clothes, and while I don't wear a business suit to work, I do wear dress pants & a collared shirt. Probably a higher standard than most of the people I work with, and I'm the only one of them that bike commutes!

  82. #82
    Keep it Simple Stupid!!!
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    Getting Started is the hardest part. Once your used to it it becomes second nature and you get into the groove of your system. A good pack, Shoes you can walk in (I run egg beaters and Shimano MTB shoes) and the stuff to fix a flat. (I recommend slime). Most Importantly don't be a weight weenie as a commuter, you want a reliable bike that is low maintenance and comfortable for the distance you will be riding.
    Steel Freak
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How tough was it to begin to commute-10042010073.jpg  

    Who cares how much gas you save, ride your bike to work because it's fun!!!!!!!

  83. #83
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    The only thing stopping me to regularly commute is bike parking availability. Even if I manage to find one, I can't get my mind off that someone may be stealing a bike part or saddle or pedal etc.

  84. #84
    Back in the Saddle Again
    Reputation: MaddCelt's Avatar
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    My beginning came out of desperation and was a last resort. My Subie blew a timing belt/head, mech who did the engine replacement is dragging feet (3 months later) and I got a loan for a car that fell through.

    I tried for a scooter, no luck. So I resorted to a bike. I checked around locally (small town, no bike shops) and I didn't have a good way to the LBR's in town. So after hearing about bikesdirect I jumped on there and bought my Motobecane.

    The weekend I got it I was house/dog sitting near work, so I rode quite a bit over the weekend, the first time in a decade at least. Later that week I did my first 10 mile commute home and thought I was going to die by either stroke or car.

    I got info on the morning express bus, so I rice 6 of the 10 miles in the morning but I had the choice of hitching rides and paying out the nose for gas and being on other peoples time, or save the $ and ride. I chose to ride as much as I could. With the purchase of rain gear today I can drop even the bad weather rides to or from work.

    I have been maintaining a pretty steady 13.5 mph average, so 50 min ride home and honestly, even tho it was a hard go at the beginning, I am glad for it.

  85. #85
    Back in the Saddle Again
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gundam168 View Post
    The only thing stopping me to regularly commute is bike parking availability. Even if I manage to find one, I can't get my mind off that someone may be stealing a bike part or saddle or pedal etc.
    It tried to get my employer to get one wall mount rack for $70 and got the excuse of not having the funds and to revisit the issue in a year. So I bring my bike into the call center and lean it against an empty cubicle. Even my sup support me on that and will back me if ever someone complains. None has as of yet.

  86. #86
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    I realized I was spending 80-100 / month on gas, plus I had nothing to do on gorgeous nice days like we've been having here in Washington. So, I went out last weekend, bought a bike from my LBS, and have started commuting by bike. Today I took the day off because I'm getting sick and thought it would rain, which it still might. I need rain gear My motivations are: health/fitness, saving money, and most importantly, FUN!

  87. #87
    I Tried Them ALL... SuperModerator
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    Invest in a good cyclocomputer. Once you see your trip times shrink and average speed increases...it NO LONGER BECOMES A CHORE.
    "This is a male-dominated forum... there will be lots of Testosterone sword-shaming here" ~ Kenfucius

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