why don't your coworkers commute by bike?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    why don't your coworkers commute by bike?

    I found this article today, and it got me curious.

    Why Won't Your Staff Bike to Work? - Yahoo! Small Business Advisor

    I could shower at the university gym if I really wanted to...but my commute isn't long enough to make that worthwhile...and my morning shower helps wake me up. It'd be quite a drag to get up and know that I wouldn't be getting my shower for at least another half an hour.

    parking is important, I gotta say. I'm okay right now, since I have room to bring my bike into my office. but I know guys who don't and they risk having their bikes confiscated by UPD by locking them up to a railing underneath the carport in our building (the carport is a loading/unloading zone for vans and work trucks and is part of our building) when there is a fairly nice (uncovered). rack available that's at least somewhat close to one of the entrances.

    I have had jobs before that had routes I really didn't like, but where I am now, the routes available to me aren't bad. One job had a longer route (maybe 12mi or so) that was pretty, but the lanes were narrow and speed limits relatively high and I had a lot of close calls on a rather small number of rides.

    Another I had many years ago was mostly fine, except there was a choke point that sent me over a VERY busy bridge over the freeway with entrance/exit ramps. I encountered more than a few aggressive drivers also in a pretty small number of rides.

    And those are things an employer just can't fix.

  2. #2
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    Out of 11 in my office:
    5 live more than 25 miles away.
    2 that live w/in 25 miles drop their kids off at daycare/school on the way and pick up on the way home
    1 is vocally anti-exercise, even after having heart surgery last year.
    1 has talked about it a little bit and has asked me bike questions from time to time
    1 commutes maybe 1 day a week on average (he used to commute almost daily until he got a new car); he does ride a lot, but more early morning/weekends/charity rides
    1 (me) commutes 3-5 days on average.

    So probably the same reasons as everyone else -- inconvenient, too far, don't want to.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    why don't your coworkers commute by bike?
    Because they are severely overweight and felt the need to purchase absurdly large SUV's that use up 6 gallons of fuel per mile.

  4. #4
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    Few reasons:

    1. Some jobs require the ability to be mobile in an suburban environment. Can't respond to things in a timely manner on a bicycle like you can on a motorbike ot auto.

    2. Shower / professionalism... some jobs and businesses demand a specific level of professionalism that isn't inline with the side-affect of bicycling to work.

    3. Money... contrary to popular ideas, commuting by bicycle costs a bit of money, especially in crazy midwest climates. Some mornings it is 5deg. Some mornings it is 78deg w/ 85% humidity. Some snowy. Some rainy. Takes a lot of gear, which = a lot of money.

    4. Culture... some urban and suburban areas do not have a bicycle culture. Thus motorists make it prohibitively bad to commute.

    5. Geography... no bike lanes, long, busy, straight roads will high speeding autos, monster hills... etc.. all are a real problem for many people.

    I am sure "hardcore" bicyclists would classify these issues under general cop-outs. However these are realities of different global and economic spaces. Just because something works in Portland, Amsterdam, Wuhan or Warez, does not mean it will work in Oklahoma City, Weil Am Rein, Tokyo, or Barnaul. Same with the gal that does customer service vs the gal that is the CFO at a bank.
    - The only thing that keeps me on a bike is happiness.

  5. #5
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    None of them are as cool as me.



    I think it mostly comes down to weather for the ones that are close enough. And distance for the ones that might do it but they live too far away.

    We have a few prime candidates that live within 5 miles but I haven't convinced them to try it yet.

  6. #6
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    most can afford not to. the folks that work with me that ride, mostly drive to work and keep a spare bike in their cube/community bike for lunch/after work rides.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Addict View Post
    Because they are severely overweight and felt the need to purchase absurdly large SUV's that use up 6 gallons of fuel per mile.
    hmmm what about the 4'10 90lb suv drivers. or the severely overweight prius drivers. or the folks that would rather drive their bmw and have a cup of joe on the way to work, or the guy that prefers to ride his motorcycle in, or the folks that work different hours and dont like riding highways in the dark......

    or you can just call everyone else fat and lazy.

  7. #7
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    Most of my coworkers live within (guessing) 3 to 7 miles of work. Perfect distance. It's the weather, and the overwhelming idea of making the transition that scare them off I think. They are worried about the dumb little logistics that we have all fitured out and don't think about: transporting clothes, sweating, cleaning up, carrying stuff, running by the store on the way home, etc. It's just the idea of making the transition that scares people...that and dealing with bad weather (but shoot, even if you drive on the bad weather days, you'd be a 80% bike commuter most years). People are creatures of habit.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slozomby View Post
    or you can just call everyone else fat and lazy.
    I was only referring to most of MY coworkers.

  9. #9
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    They either think you have to be a superhero or a nutjob to bike to work.

  10. #10
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    When I worked in an office I worked with about 10 people. Of those 10 5 lived within 5 miles of the office, 3 lived with in 2 miles. Their office is near the University so bike paths abound. One of them lived literally 2 blocks from the office.

    I was the only one that rode regularly, one other guy occasionally rode. I live 10+miles from the office.

    Their excuses were: too much work, have to take my kids to school, how would i get my 1000cal mocha every morning, I don't like to get sweaty.

    Essentially the fact was that it was too much work to do so, even though they all could have used the exercise, with one suffering a minor heart attack during my time there, and they all had nothing really keeping them from doing so except laziness.
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  11. #11
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    I always wonder why actual "bike people" don't commute to work by bike.

    If you look at this forum, for a lot of people a bike is just something that you load onto the back of your car/truck, drive to the trailhead, hit the trails with for an hour or two, load back on your car/truck, and then drive home.

    I also know roadies who race home after work (by car, of course), to pick up their bikes to drive their bikes somewhere to go riding on their bikes.

    And then there are people who happily ride around with their kids on the weekends.

    Like Commuterboy says, I think it's just habit? A bike is a sport/hobby and is not transport - they wouldn't x-country ski or surf to work, so why would they bike?

    edited to add: my building has ~400 people. I ride everyday regardless of weather, another guy hits maybe 90% for the year, and another guy does maybe 75%. In the summer a few extra bikes will show up from students and fairweather riders.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    I always wonder why actual "bike people" don't commute to work by bike.
    Same here. I also wonder why bike people drive to group rides. We have a road ride that goes out on Wed nights. I'll ride to work in the morning, ride the 6 miles to the group ride, ride with the group (sometimes right past my office again) then ride home. Most of these people live within 5 miles away and bring their bikes on cars. The excuse is usually "didn't have time" but between the load and unload the time difference is probably only 10 min.

    I find it hard to drive to the trails too.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    Same here. I also wonder why bike people drive to group rides. We have a road ride that goes out on Wed nights. I'll ride to work in the morning, ride the 6 miles to the group ride, ride with the group (sometimes right past my office again) then ride home. Most of these people live within 5 miles away and bring their bikes on cars. The excuse is usually "didn't have time" but between the load and unload the time difference is probably only 10 min.

    I find it hard to drive to the trails too.
    Me too. I can't remember the last time I drove to my local trails to ride. The last few times I've driven, I've gone for trail work. But I have showed up for trail work on my bike at times, too. The road portion is a good warmup, and I'm ready to go as soon as I get there. I'd really prefer to only drive to trails that are worth a full day (or more) trip.

  14. #14
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    I try to commute everyday but now I have to go to school 40 miles away 3 times a week. What I do is try to bring my bike to work and ride home so that I can ride back in the morning and get my commute in. I am a lot happier when I can commute. Cant wait to graduate this summer. I have also started to take the train with my bike. The train station is only a mile from school but after class i have about 45 minutes to waste so i ride the trail that parallels the tracks for as far as I can.

    I work in an office of 6 and two of the 6 live with 2 miles of work. I am trying to convince them to ride but they dont ride bikes outside of work either. the others are older women who dont like exercise and me who lives 12 miles away and rides as much as I can as stated above not so much lately. but I do get about 11 miles in everyday at lunch.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    I always wonder why actual "bike people" don't commute to work by bike.

    If you look at this forum, for a lot of people a bike is just something that you load onto the back of your car/truck, drive to the trailhead, hit the trails with for an hour or two, load back on your car/truck, and then drive home.

    I also know roadies who race home after work (by car, of course), to pick up their bikes to drive their bikes somewhere to go riding on their bikes.
    Yep, some people just look at riding as their sport or hobby, and it doesn't cross over into transportation. I find it ironic on RBR that lots of people seem to almost despise "commuter miles," as though they are different from group ride miles or whatever. And as far as mountain biking goes, I fall into that same category -- even if the trails were 5 miles from my house, I'd load the mtb up in my truck and drive there. I just don't like to ride it on the road for some reason.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    Most of my coworkers live within (guessing) 3 to 7 miles of work. Perfect distance. It's the weather, and the overwhelming idea of making the transition that scare them off I think. They are worried about the dumb little logistics that we have all fitured out and don't think about: transporting clothes, sweating, cleaning up, carrying stuff, running by the store on the way home, etc. It's just the idea of making the transition that scares people...that and dealing with bad weather (but shoot, even if you drive on the bad weather days, you'd be a 80% bike commuter most years). People are creatures of habit.
    Most of that is true; we are creatures of habit, and just do what we've always done. Which probably means driving a car. That's the same reason that, when they start up a new mass transit system, it takes a couple years to get full ridership and utilization out of it.

    But the truth is, it is inconvenient to commute (even for those of us who do it). Just in the last month, I've had 3 emegencies where my commuting created (or would have created) a problem for me. I'm a lawyer by profession. About 4 weeks ago, I had to file paperwork on an emergency hearing in a courthouse a county away -- found out about it when I got to work, and we needed to have something filed by the end of the day -- and as luck had it, my paralegal was out and none of our usual runners were available. My poor wife had to come pick me up. The second, one of the partners fell ill and needed me to cover a hearing for him. Fortunately, I had enough time to ride home, put on a suit, and get to court, but if the hearing had been a couple hours earlier, I'd have been in trouble. The third, just last week, I happened to drive for other reasons, but my daughter started throwing up at school and my wife happened to be on a field trip w/ our son at the zoo. If I had driven, she would have been stuck in the nurse's room for an extra 30 minutes while I rode home and changed, and then drove to her school to get her.

    As it pertains to employment, my employers are generally ok w/ me riding to work, but won't have a lot of patience if it gets in the way of my duties. Plus there's the general annoyances of forgetting necessary clothes items, not being able to stop at the store on the way home, etc.
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  17. #17
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    Interesting article. I'm going to school right now, and there are bike racks right in front of the building where I have most of my classes. A few people drive, some from very far away, a few people ride bikes, and I think most take the bus. Certainly the bus stops are always crowded. Some drivers park in the neighboring shopping center and walk about a half mile.

    My mother's office makes an effort to be bike-friendly. And fitness-friendly in general. They're in downtown San Francisco, so car ownership is very difficult for a lot of employees. I picked up some work for them one summer making some high-design bike racks.

    They have bike racks inside the building, some inside the office. The inside-the-office ones are as secure as the company's servers. There are one or two showers. There's both a company car full-time and a ZipCar membership, since one's not always enough. They actually have a company bike too, although it's a coaster brake cruiser and I found it very disconcerting to ride when I tried it. I think they don't do any of the latter things on the list, though.

    I'm at five bikes now, which is slightly embarrassing. Oh well, N+1. Since college, I've usually had a commuter bike. All my post-college commuters have been relatively inexpensive bikes that I can ride without being committed to special clothes or shoes. I think sometimes when people discover how nice it is to ride in lycra and with clipless pedals, they forget that they don't really need those things to ride a bike. They build up so much overhead around riding a bike that it stops being worth the trouble. Especially for miles that are legitimately crappy as training. Obviously some of this wouldn't apply to someone who lives relatively far from work and can do their route without a lot of interruption. I've always had urban commutes, though, and also use my bike to run errands. So it's not really practical for me if I have to wear funny clothes and change my shoes, and I don't really care to spend all day in cycling shoes either. Sometimes can't - this hasn't applied lately, but sometimes I have to wear work boots at work.

    I think bike companies are somewhat culpable too. They're businesses, so I don't have a big conspiracy theory or anything. But when they see the concept of bike commuting as an opportunity to try to sell someone a $1000 hybrid, it's not too hard to see why the idea that bike commuting saves money can be a hard sell to a person who already owns a car.

    The Dutch Bike thing is interesting to me. I've been to Amsterdam and I've seen what the Dutch ride. They're rust buckets. Most of them, anyway. I think in idealizing Dutch Bikes and selling them for really high prices, that segment of the industry is "doing it wrong" too. At least, to some extent - any time there's a pedestrian version of something, there's a luxury version.

    I think what people need to get and keep getting convinced away from is the idea that all you need to hop on a bike is a bike you maybe already have mouldering away in the garage. Obviously I've also decided to have a separate bike, but that's because I've managed to avoid having a crappy one to press into service. In any case, I think that if it's going to be mainstreamed, Costco and Target may be a part of it, in selling bikes that are better than the Walmart ones and cheaper than the Trek Lime.
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  18. #18
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    I work for a large auto manufacturer. I bike 16 miles one way to work 3 or more days a week. The rest of my co-workers don't because most of them get free cars to drive. I don't so I don't drive a car to work if I can help it. It's pretty funny to see people's faces when I tell them who I work for and I ride my bike to work.

  19. #19
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    I should say that there's really only 2 reasons that I bike to work:

    - A few years ago I got a job that was about a 2mi walk from home. I worked there for 3 years, and after that there was no way I was going to go back to the frustration of a daily drive.

    - And while I was working there my now-wife basically forced us to get bikes. I totally didn't want to, and didn't know what we would actually use them for, but she won. Little did she know what a monster she'd create.

    But if either of those things hadn't happened I'd probably be driving to my current job.

  20. #20
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    30 miles each way for me on roads that would just about guarantee a collision at some point. I got really excited one time when I realized I could bike ~3 miles to the commuter rail and then ~6 miles from the rail to the office. Then I realized the Boston commuter rails won't allow bikes during commuting hours. Like from 5am-10am and 3pm-7pm.

  21. #21
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    I have a 12 mile one way commute @ 1930 (almost always after dark or dusk) then again at 0600 (still dark or just after dawn), when most of my co-workers found this out there were a lot of questions and stuff then the usual excuses why they don't ride to work. There were the I don't have the time or the energy, the MUP doesn't go all the way to their neighborhood, yadda, yadda. The best was how the bike they had, (if they had one), wasn't good enough to commute on. I'd then laugh since the first bike I commuted on was a $90 Walmart "mountain bike style" bike (which is now thankfully in the trash where it belonged from the get go), then a $250 Schwinn hybrid also from Walmart (which I still have with upgraded derailleurs, wheels, etc. and rides great as a emergency back-up bike, and helped me to loose best part of 90#'s), before buying my Motobecane that stands double duty as both commuter and recreation, but when I tell them that and say that if they want to ride to work then they'd just do it, they mumble something and wander away.
    The ridiculousness of cycling clothes increase exponentially in relation to the distance from your bicycle.

  22. #22
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    My coworkers don't ride to work because I'm crazy?

    Haha, well, that's how some of them see it. Mtbx has it right though: a lot of people that I ask say that they can't...like physically can't do it...the weird thing is most of the organization that i work for is under 35 and not hugely overweight...

    Sometimes I think it's mostly fear. As much as I'd like to think I'm a superhero...it just isn't true!

  23. #23
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    I do not see distance as that big of a deal as long as the terrain is relatively uniform (flat, open bike lanes). As the terrain varies (hills and automobile density) distance becomes a bigger issue. This is why many American cities with a bicycle commuter culture are next to a water frontage. Generally the terrain is flatter + over time they have developed their urbanized areas with bicycles in mind, thus have dealt a little with automobile density issues.

    Another thing brought up above worth mentioning is the general American lifestyle... go,go,go. People tend to have very busy schedules. I know when I drive, I plan out where I am stopping along the way. Rarely do I drive home directly from work... usually I stop once or twice inbetween. Bicycles force the person to not only change the way they motivate around their spaces, but how they run their lives. They are forced to slow down their schedule. Frankly, most people... even cyclists... do not like this and cannot do it regularly. Your lifestyle has to fit the culture.

    If you want to read more about city planning vs bicycle culture, a good place to start is to google "urbanization of suburbia". How metro areas are conceived and evolve through time is an important factor in bicycle adoption.
    - The only thing that keeps me on a bike is happiness.

  24. #24
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    Not sure if this has made the list, but my co-workers that live close towork are far to out of shape to ever consider riding their short commute too and from the office...
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  25. #25
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    I don't care about why my co-workers don't bike to work. It's for me, but it's not for everyone.

  26. #26
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    Much of the time, I actually see a lot of the stuff I do on my way home as another argument for riding my bike to work. Nothing makes me feel smug like doing a bunch of stop-and-start errands and not having to find parking each time.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    The main complaints are not enough road shoulder to feel comfortable on, or too much kid shuttling. One person has a back problem and is waiting for a recumbent to materialize in his garage.

  28. #28
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    because they are lazy candy-asses

  29. #29
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    In the city where I work we have a decent bike lane system. In summer some co-worker living close by commute by bike.

    My general observation is that people are terrified of sweat today. They are really scare of bad odour.

    Honestly, I'm a bike addict. With two baby twins at home and with a fairly long commute (I mix car & bike) I wouldn't get any other chance to sit on my bike.

  30. #30
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    There is exactly 3 people out of my workplace that ride. One is some kind of hardcore christian who rides a crappy mountain bike with a milk crate strapped on it. The 2nd lives 6 km from work and rides in nice weather. I'm the 3rd. I just started regularly a month ago, but rode to work a few times over the past ten years on my mtb. I have an old road bike with a pannier that I ride.

    Why don't my co-workers commute? lol, lol, lol

    My work place is full of very unhealthy overweight people. A good 1/3 smoke. There's probably 100 people working there. Very redneck, very conservative. Definitely not cyclists. They do ask me a ton of questions, and seem amazed that I'd ride 1 1/2 hours every day back and forth to work.
    occasional cyclist

  31. #31
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    I live an work in San Francisco and have a 4 mile commute. I work in a department with about 20 others. Only 4 of us live in San Francisco. Only one other rides 1.5 mi to work, one takes the bus, and one drives 5 mi. Everyone else is about 20 to 100 miles away -- yes we have one guy who drives from Folsom on a daily basis and even that is subsidized at $100/mo with commuter check.

    Everyone else drives even though the number one complaint I seem to hear is that there isn't enough parking. I wonder if that has anything to do with my employer subsidizing parking to where it's $100 for one year compared to $250-300/month at market rate.

    I asked about the bicycle commuter benefit and the answer I received makes hell no sound nice.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jseko View Post
    Everyone else is about 20 to 100 miles away -- yes we have one guy who drives from Folsom on a daily basis and even that is subsidized at $100/mo with commuter check.

    20 miles is really pushing it for a bicycle commute. From Folsom to SF every day? That`s got to be a driving nightmare!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post

    20 miles is really pushing it for a bicycle commute. From Folsom to SF every day? That`s got to be a driving nightmare!
    I don't know how he puts up with it because that's like having another job. I think he gets $100 commuter check for it be he still complains because his out of pocket costs went way up because it commuter benefits were previously capped around $200/mo rather than $100.

    Aside from the few of us in SF, the next closest person is in Burlingame. Most everyone is around 30 miles out, San Mateo, San Lorenzo, Antioch, San Ramon, Freemont, etc. There are a few out by Livermore and Antioch too.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by OmaHaq View Post
    Few reasons:

    1. Some jobs require the ability to be mobile in an suburban environment. Can't respond to things in a timely manner on a bicycle like you can on a motorbike ot auto.

    2. Shower / professionalism... some jobs and businesses demand a specific level of professionalism that isn't inline with the side-affect of bicycling to work.

    3. Money... contrary to popular ideas, commuting by bicycle costs a bit of money, especially in crazy midwest climates. Some mornings it is 5deg. Some mornings it is 78deg w/ 85% humidity. Some snowy. Some rainy. Takes a lot of gear, which = a lot of money.

    4. Culture... some urban and suburban areas do not have a bicycle culture. Thus motorists make it prohibitively bad to commute.

    5. Geography... no bike lanes, long, busy, straight roads will high speeding autos, monster hills... etc.. all are a real problem for many people.

    I am sure "hardcore" bicyclists would classify these issues under general cop-outs. However these are realities of different global and economic spaces. Just because something works in Portland, Amsterdam, Wuhan or Warez, does not mean it will work in Oklahoma City, Weil Am Rein, Tokyo, or Barnaul. Same with the gal that does customer service vs the gal that is the CFO at a bank.
    I will agree with all but #3; THAT'S a cop-out. I don't make a lot of money (below the poverty level, in fact), and I have all the cold-weather gear I need. You don't HAVE to buy Showers Pass and UnderArmor to ride in adverse weather. Believe it or not, a little judicious shopping at f'n Wally will get you all of it.
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  35. #35
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    Re: #3, it's a bit of money to get set up but it quickly pays for itself. Right away, when I started commuting I quickly tired of screwing around with a small pack and bungies on the rear rack so I bought a pannier. The $32 was paid for in the 1st week I didn't take the car.

    As for gear, I have stuff I wear when I ride recreationally. I have a Shower's Pass jacket so of course I'm going to use it commuting.

    I work outside so I get to wear shorts when I want so I also bought a pair of knickers to wear riding, or for work. My work clothes wear out, so owning knickers for work isn't really a riding/commuting expense at all.

    My commuter is a $35 1985 Raleigh road bike. Of course I upgraded a few things on it but certainly didn't need to spend the 400 or so that I did. I could have spent $50 and it would have been perfectly fine.

    I have to admit I don't commute in rain or snow, it just isn't fun for me, but owning a car is a huge expense. The average car owner spends $10k on depreciation, insurance, gas etc. If I keep on commuting as much as I have in the past month (540 km) until october I'll have saved 700 bucks in fuel just going to work. Less km on the odometer means I can own the car a bit longer before its worn out.

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    you're not saving money that's easily visible if you continue to own a car while bike commuting. your only savings there are fuel costs, reduced maintenance, and the even more difficult to measure decreased use that increases the usable life of the vehicle.

    the REAL savings occur if you don't own a car (or own fewer cars for a family). in that case, you eliminate a monthly payment, you eliminate or reduce an insurance payment, you eliminate the maintenance costs of the auto, you never have to pay to park the car you don't own in the city, you never have to pay to drive the car you don't own on toll roads.

    Most new car payments are at least in the $200-$300 range. My not-terribly-expensive Honda Fit is $290/mo. If you come to the table with a lot of cash or a better trade-in than I had, you might get lower. But many are higher than that. Sticking with the $300 number, that's $3600/yr saved. Not counting gas, maintenance, or insurance.

    Even with my expensive commuter build of around $1500 and the maintenance for it (low - it's a SS) and the clothing (none yet - I usually wear street clothes or outdoor stuff I already have), I don't come remotely close to the cost of the car. Even if I bought a couple of nice cycling jackets (let's figure another $400 for that) and another $1000 for other things like reflective vest, dedicated commuting helmet, winter gear, summer gear, wicking t-shirts, etc., it is STILL less than ONLY the car payments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    you're not saving money that's easily visible if you continue to own a car while bike commuting. your only savings there are fuel costs, reduced maintenance, and the even more difficult to measure decreased use that increases the usable life of the vehicle.
    I completely agree but I also think you're seriously undervaluing fuel costs these days
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikojan View Post
    I completely agree but I also think you're seriously undervaluing fuel costs these days
    that depends on your car, your route, and how often you ride in instead of driving.

    for me, with my car and my commute, if I drive EVERY day (and home for lunch), I still only have to get gas every 3 weeks, and a full tank of gas doesn't quite cost $40 yet (usually less than 9gal per fillup).

    that won't be the same as someone driving a 13mpg SUV 40+ miles daily.

    which is why I didn't go into more detail on how much that can save you.

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    Cost-per-mile for a car is a bit tricky. You can always look it up and get someone else's estimate of course. I just Googled it and found 19c for a large sedan. I have an SUV now, and had a truck before, so I imagine it ran a bit higher.

    At a 12 mile round trip to my previous job, that's $2.28/day. No wonder nobody rides the bus in my city!

    Leaving out car insurance, something I think I spend less on by commuting by bike, it takes three or four months for one of the $100 bikes I was riding for a while to pay for itself. Add in pay parking, and things speed up again. My real reason is that I find it more pleasant than driving in traffic, even when the weather sucks. I actually enjoy it most of the time!

    My city has plenty of fair-weather commuters. The choice of a week in May as bike-to-work week seems really good to me. It's a lot easier to get into it when the weather is mild.

    I think a lot of people have an old hybrid or something mouldering away in the garage. I'm quite enamored of my current commuter bike, which is purpose-built for this sort of thing, but I think that's another way that people get turned off. If all it takes is pumping up the tires on an already-owned bike and riding it in to work, I think it's a lot easier to get people to try it.

    For what I want from life right now, which includes spending the weekend with my fiancee 90 miles away twice a month, recreational mountain biking, and some racing, I don't find it feasible not to own a car.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    that depends on your car, your route, and how often you ride in instead of driving.

    for me, with my car and my commute, if I drive EVERY day (and home for lunch), I still only have to get gas every 3 weeks, and a full tank of gas doesn't quite cost $40 yet (usually less than 9gal per fillup).

    that won't be the same as someone driving a 13mpg SUV 40+ miles daily.

    which is why I didn't go into more detail on how much that can save you.
    Wow thats insane, I drive a volvo xc90, fill up $100 and its gone by the end of the week. What car do you drive?
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    There are 3 other people who either CAN ride or HAVE ridden to work besides me. One stopped for the winter (wuss, lol, I kid, cuz he has precarious health), another is riding now. . .on a BSO that he not only has set up incorrectly (and doesn't really care), but duct-taped a towel to the seat. SMH. . . . The 3rd is my co-worker, the only one around who out-ride me (22 yrs. younger, and a masochistic beast!), but has to commit his time to his child and a burgeoning enterprise on his own.

    The rest are all pretty much just BLOBULAR.
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikojan View Post
    Wow thats insane, I drive a volvo xc90, fill up $100 and its gone by the end of the week. What car do you drive?
    You Americans simply drive way too much. I have a 2003 Mazda MPV, which has to be as much as a pig as your Volvo. It weigh 3800 lbs and has a 200 hp V6. Gas up here is $6 a gallon and I highly doubt I burn more than $2500 a year in fuel. I drive about 10,000 miles a year. I definitely get nearly two weeks out of 64 litres of gas. Just so you know, I only started commuting 1 month back, so the numbers I'm giving are real, averaged over the past two years.

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    LOL, I'm an American and I drive about 4000 miles a year.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    You Americans simply drive way too much. I have a 2003 Mazda MPV, which has to be as much as a pig as your Volvo. It weigh 3800 lbs and has a 200 hp V6. Gas up here is $6 a gallon and I highly doubt I burn more than $2500 a year in fuel. I drive about 10,000 miles a year. I definitely get nearly two weeks out of 64 litres of gas. Just so you know, I only started commuting 1 month back, so the numbers I'm giving are real, averaged over the past two years.

    Drew
    1. I'm not American, I'm canadian.
    2. They dont have the same mpg, my volvo averages around 14/15 combined while the mpv gets 18.
    3. What do you mean drive too much? Do you expect me to take 1 train and 3 bus stops to get to the closest park near me (kelso)? I dont drive too much, I drive enough.
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    LOL, I'm an American and I drive about 4000 miles a year.
    yeah, yeah, I was generalizing. We canucks drive too much too, just not as much as you yanks (excepting bike commuters of course)

    My point was that fuel costs are not as much of a cost as other things. I'd doubt it's more than 1/4 of the total yearly cost of car ownership up here. The average canuck drives 15,000 km a year.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    yeah, yeah, I was generalizing. We canucks drive too much too, just not as much as you yanks (excepting bike commuters of course)

    My point was that fuel costs are not as much of a cost as other things. I'd doubt it's more than 1/4 of the total yearly cost of car ownership up here. The average canuck drives 15,000 km a year.
    If you're a canuck then how can you possibly fault me for 'driving too much'? A trip to the cottage in muskoka is like a 4 1/2 hour drive. I work in toronto and am commuting from oakville, thats an hours drive each day and another back. You should know this, canada isn't exactly know for its large, condensed metropolitan areas...
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    I sometimes work Saturdays now, and when I get the chance (as in waking up on time :P) I will commute. Man, it's a totally different experience commuting on the weekend. Less traffic and none of that crazy morning rush hour drivers you see beginning on Monday. Totally relaxing, not to say that my ride during the weekdays isn't relaxing. Definitely more relaxing than driving. And speaking of which, I save very little to absolutely nothing on gas because I have a hybrid that blows away Prius drivers. It's a first-gen Honda Insight. It's a fun car to drive and I love seeing how high of an MPG I can get with each tank. But I love riding my bike! Impresses the hippie chicks.

    Edit to add: I fill up about every two months

    Back to your squabbles :P

  48. #48
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    Wow, that thing is hard on gas then. I get over 600 km in the summer highway on 64 L. I get as bad as 400 km per 64 litres in the winter city driving. Your gas bill is nearly double mine, so it's either miles driven, poor economy, or you have a lead foot, or any combination of the 3.

    I've given my details, how many km a year to you drive?
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikojan View Post
    Wow thats insane, I drive a volvo xc90, fill up $100 and its gone by the end of the week. What car do you drive?
    I drive a Honda Fit and the office is 4mi from my house. The gas tank only holds 10.5gal or so. I drive in when I'm too lazy to bring my lunch on the bike or I've run out of shelf-stable food in my office supply. And on days I really don't want to make the steep climb up the hill out of town.

    I would go longer than a fillup every 3 weeks, except that I have to make the occasional longer trip well outside of the town I live in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    Wow, that thing is hard on gas then. I get over 600 km in the summer highway on 64 L. I get as bad as 400 km per 64 litres in the winter city driving. Your gas bill is nearly double mine, so it's either miles driven, poor economy, or you have a lead foot, or any combination of the 3.

    I've given my details, how many km a year to you drive?
    Not sure but...

    80km to toronto from oakville and back x270 (give or take a few days) + trips, etc (10k+/-) = 32k? Work covers the cost of gas though so I'm more stressed about the environmental impact than the financial

    someone check my math im sure I messed up somewhere
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  51. #51
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    I'm not faulting you at all. I'm not trying to save the planet either. We all make choices that's all. I know 3 people that commute over 3 hours a day by car. That is their choice, and I'm fine with that. I'm just saying that you choose to commute/drive as much as you do, and if you are burning the gas that is your choice. My neighbour Steve has been commuting to Malton then Brampton and now Oakville for 15 years + . He's a highly skilled engineer with lots of money. Using his skills/connections/money he could either relocate his career or his family. He chooses to do neither.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    I'm not faulting you at all. I'm not trying to save the planet either. We all make choices that's all. I know 3 people that commute over 3 hours a day by car. That is their choice, and I'm fine with that. I'm just saying that you choose to commute/drive as much as you do, and if you are burning the gas that is your choice. My neighbour Steve has been commuting to Malton then Brampton and now Oakville for 15 years + . He's a highly skilled engineer with lots of money. Using his skills/connections/money he could either relocate his career or his family. He chooses to do neither.
    Unless Bay st firms decide to relocate to oakville, I dont have that option
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    I just bought groceries... stupid grocery store is closing. It was just under a half mile each way to go there, so I either stopped on my bike on the way home or walked or ran there.

    I'll get over it. There's one that's close to my route home, and only a bit over a mile away by bike. It's just annoying because now I need to plan ahead (gasp!) to buy groceries.

    Suburban, or even low-density urban sprawl is lame.
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  54. #54
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    Since you've got a subsidy from work you have nothing to worry about except for the waste of your time behind the wheel, and wear and tear on your car. I'd never ever commute btw, since I drive for a living already. It's bad enough when you're getting paid for it.

    As for people in general (Americans and Canucks) don't ***** about the cost of gas if you choose a lifestyle that has you driving huge distances to get to work. Don't ***** either if you 'need' a H2 Hummer, but can't afford the gas.

    Nobody made you take the job, or buy the SUV.
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  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikojan View Post
    Unless Bay st firms decide to relocate to oakville, I dont have that option
    Of course you do. You could move to the city or find a different line of work. Not saying you should, but there are always options.
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  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    You Americans simply drive way too much.
    True, for the most part. But not true for all of us, like AS says. I don`t use much either, <6k miles per year at over 30 MPG, even in the winter. Usually over 35 MPG in the summer.
    Quote Originally Posted by nikojan View Post
    1. I'm not American, I'm canadian.
    ??? Canada has no globes?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    ??? Canada has no globes?
    "Does Canada not have any globes?"

    No, we cant fit them in our igloos. However thesauruses are another story.
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    Dallas isn't very biker friendly during rush-hour. I'm about to start commuting, but that is only because I go to work at 3:00p.m. and get off at 1:00a.m. Traffic is managable going in, and nil on the way home.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikojan View Post
    However thesauruses are another story.
    Ouch, point to Nikojan
    But globes should still be okay if you build the igloos around them, right? Kind of form fitting.

  60. #60
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    Just want to chime in on the cost of owning a vehicle ... you don't have to have a brand new vehicle that comes with payments. The Jeep that I refuse to get rid of cost me about 7k to buy/build into what I want, and I drive it about 3000 miles a year. If I was paying 300 dollars a month to drive it 3000 miles a year, THAT would be rediculous. But I'm paying zero dollars a month. Another problem with Americans is that we are convinced that everything has to be brand new You can get very reliable vehicle transportation for less than 3000 dollars.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    You can get very reliable vehicle transportation for less than 3000 dollars.
    I might debate that. I'd say that's a big maybe. Depends whether the vehicle was properly taken care of in the past.

    I bought a truck awhile back for $5500 that was great in a lot of respects. It was only moderately reliable, though. It had a persistent, recurrent brake problem. No shop I ever took it was able to fix it AND prevent the problem from occurring again. I don't even know why the parking brake cable was getting water contamination and freezing/seizing in the wintertime. But whatever problem I had was causing those symptoms and it was an expensive problem.

    my wife bought a certified pre-owned Jeep several years ago that has been paid off for awhile. it's relatively inexpensive to keep going for the most part, but being a Chrysler, it has the occasional electrical problem that needs fixing every now and again. so far those aren't terribly expensive to fix so the costs of dealing with those problems as they arise still doesn't approach the costs of maintaining loan payments.

    my car is nearly paid off. it has a TON of life left in it and I'll be keeping it as a daily driver for a good many years. I bought it new because most important to me at the time was long-term reliability and affordability. I get to ensure that the maintenance is kept up to maximize its lifespan.

    when it gets paid off, I do plan to buy a cheap used pickup for utility purposes. high mileage and low fuel economy will be fine because it will be getting used less than 500mi/yr most years. it will get use for some camping/hunting trips, but mostly for hauling/towing use. I plan to pay cash outright for it. I am pushing my wife to get a daily driver with 30+mpg as her next vehicle, because her new job involves work at a couple of different locations, and I will need something that can haul a deer carcass (I am moving to a situation where most of my meat consumption will be wild game), bring home a yard of topsoil, a load of lumber, or handle a visit to the garden center.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    No shop I ever took it was able to fix it AND prevent the problem from occurring again.
    That's the other piece of the puzzle. I do my own maintenance (another bonus to having an older car that's not run by a computer). It's the labor that's expensive... parts are mostly cheap.
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    Well most of my coworkers are just fat and lazy. Most of them would rather drive to mcdonadls thats only 4 blocks away go threw the drive thru and sit in there car. We get an hour lunch. I ride a mile home take my dog on a mile walk eat lunch, usualy make a sandwich, and back to work with a few minuts to spare. I have one co worker who runs out of breath walking from her desk to the bathroom 50 feet away. I do have two co-workers who also comute. One guy is 67 crusin away on his 60's 3speed. Another on her spify bianchi and univega. I know I'm only a mile away, but I moved closer. It used to be 18 miles one way, mostly on a bike path tho. I used to make that trip on my custom 72 stingray muscle bike HAHA.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    I do my own maintenance (another bonus to having an older car that's not run by a computer). It's the labor that's expensive... parts are mostly cheap.
    Oh, yeah- I remember maintenance from back when I had a Jeep. For the last nine years I`ve had my $3400 Toyota, so maintenance pretty much amounts to changing the oil every 10 months or so. IT`s tough, but I do manage that myself

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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    That's the other piece of the puzzle. I do my own maintenance (another bonus to having an older car that's not run by a computer). It's the labor that's expensive... parts are mostly cheap.
    I can do cookie-cutter repairs on older vehicles or basic jobs. So what the shops did was exactly what I would have done if I had a place back then to do my own work. What I needed was someone to look outside the cookie cutter repair box and figure out WHY that problem happened 3 times in 2 years...once it happened twice in a winter. And when the cable seized up, it often resulted in the complete destruction of my rear brakes.

    I pressured the shops hard about it, too. I was told on more than one occasion to do things that made no difference.
    1. "You should be using the parking brake every time you park the vehicle" (I already was...didn't help)
    2. "You shouldn't use the parking brake unless you really need it" (my driveway was on a steep hill and I did need it)
    3. "You should be replacing this cable every year" (that made no sense...no car I ever owned before or since needed that kind of maintenance)

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    ^^ did you ever figure it out? water getting in the cable housing and freezing? Rust? I'm intrigued....

    And Rodar...har har. The Jeep is pretty bulletproof. But if I was to get something else, it would be a $3400 Toyota.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    ^^ did you ever figure it out? water getting in the cable housing and freezing? Rust? I'm intrigued....
    all of those were what caused the brakes to seize. but no clue why water was getting into a brand new cable and housing and mucking up the works in less than a year. I even told one shop to grease the cable really well with waterproof grease when they installed it. didn't make a difference.

    after the third brake job, I traded that POS in for the Honda Fit I drive now. and I've used the parking brake daily since I bought it in 2007 with nary a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I can do cookie-cutter repairs on older vehicles or basic jobs. So what the shops did was exactly what I would have done if I had a place back then to do my own work. What I needed was someone to look outside the cookie cutter repair box and figure out WHY that problem happened 3 times in 2 years...once it happened twice in a winter. And when the cable seized up, it often resulted in the complete destruction of my rear brakes.

    I pressured the shops hard about it, too. I was told on more than one occasion to do things that made no difference.
    1. "You should be using the parking brake every time you park the vehicle" (I already was...didn't help)
    2. "You shouldn't use the parking brake unless you really need it" (my driveway was on a steep hill and I did need it)
    3. "You should be replacing this cable every year" (that made no sense...no car I ever owned before or since needed that kind of maintenance)
    Subarus will do about the same thing...

    They have a drum brake inside a disc brake for the emergency brake (cable actuated)...

    The rust can build up inside the drum and toast the brake...(even if you use it...or don't use it)...

    Solution for Subaru's put the E brake on when backing up a couple of times a month..seems to help dislodge the crud build up....and keep the cable free...

    My 1999 Subaru did it after 214,000 km...the fixed worked and it is still going fine...

    Maybe on some cars you have to clean it out by hand...


    My point the internet has all sorts of fixes for cars, that can save a bundle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Subarus will do about the same thing...

    They have a drum brake inside a disc brake for the emergency brake (cable actuated)...

    The rust can build up inside the drum and toast the brake...(even if you use it...or don't use it)...

    Solution for Subaru's put the E brake on when backing up a couple of times a month..seems to help dislodge the crud build up....and keep the cable free...

    My 1999 Subaru did it after 214,000 km...the fixed worked and it is still going fine...

    Maybe on some cars you have to clean it out by hand...


    My point the internet has all sorts of fixes for cars, that can save a bundle.
    on my truck, the cable actuated the main rear brakes, which were drums. the problem was in the cable. if I caught it early, it was cheap enough. but the problem was that I usually didn't catch it early (I usually caught it in wintertime, where I wouldn't notice the extra drag on the wheel actuated by the parking brake because the wheel could slide on snow or ice, and then I'd go to a patch of dry pavement after a time and then the wheel would start turning under partial brake and smoke the drum) and it would cause problems elsewhere. I did google and I found others with that truck having the same problem, and I did not find anyone who managed to find a real fix for the problem.

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    Ridin' Solo

    Late this afternoon at work I got an email that went out to over 7000 employees inviting us to join the 2012 Get Up & Ride National Bike Challenge. I signed up for our "team" on endomondo (kind of like the greenlightride.com we use here) and entered today's mileage.

    So far it says I am "Riding Solo" on our "team", but on the plus side I have 36 "points", saved $7, and 15lbs of CO2. I guess I'll have to enter my weight because otherwise it says zero calories burned which is uninspiring.

    The email came out after 4:30 when a lot of people leave, but I hope I will not be riding solo for long. I will report back on any additional teammates or exciting prizes. Ironically the email for this "National Challenge" came from some healthcare subcontractor with a " .ca" (Canadian) address, which I believe is still a separate nation.

  71. #71
    mtbr member
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    Why don't my co-workers commute to work? Laziness. I constantly offer to ride in with them or re-work my route to help them try it because if they tried I know they would be hooked. But they don't because they are lazy.

    And I don't say that to insult anyone. I was lazy by not commuting to work for so long.

  72. #72
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    People are addicted to their cars. They are completely baffled why I would choose to commute by bike. Distance is a problem for some, but in general we are better off than most with weather and bike facilities, except for a shower.

    If the cost of driving a car reflected the damage that it does to the environment, people would find alternatives.

  73. #73
    Teen Wolf
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    Because not everyone has a passion for cycling. I do, therefore commuting is something that I enjoy.

  74. #74
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    My coworkers are just not bike people. As for me, I have to be at work at 7am. And im just not willing to wake up early enough to ride 19 miles to work. The commute home wouldnt bother me much but you have to do it both ways or none.
    2010 Giant Yukon FX
    Pure XCR Wheelset/Geax Saguaro Tires/Tubeless
    Bike Weight Lost: 2.48lbs (1124g)

  75. #75
    Teen Wolf
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    I forgot to add, a lot of people have families that make commuting quite difficult. I for one, would not be able to commute if my wife was not willing to take care of the kids in the morning. Each kid has a different place they need to get to each day. I can't help out if I'm biking. So my ability to commute is 100% on her, and her understanding that commuting is something I want to do. I imagine a lot of family people have similar situations.

  76. #76
    Clyde on a mission!
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    I always wonder why actual "bike people" don't commute to work by bike.
    For me it's a combination of things.

    I sweat a lot when riding and I can't just jump straight into a shower after the end of a ride and be done. Even with a shower it takes me roughly an hour to get back to my normal temperature and my boss would probably frown upon me walking around in my underwear for an hour or so before getting dressed for work. Even a pretty relaxed ride gets me hot, add a bit of headwind and my head is red as a lobster for the cooling period.

    Secondly I'm not much of a morning person, taking the car allows me at least half an hour extra under the covers.

    On top of that I hit the trails 3-5 times a week for 1-2 hours each time so I don't really need the commute too.

    What I really want is a coworker that lives close by, that way we can carpool, I put the bike on the rack in the morning and he/she drives my car home after work while I ride back.

  77. #77
    jrm
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    They live in the burbs

    have families and choose to drive, van-carpool or take BART. A lot of um are gym rats too. All though riding in Oakland is getting better then say 10 years ago, there's still a negative stigma surround it filled with stories of bikejackings, and accidents.


    Thing is we have secure bicycle parking IN the building, locker rooms and bikes for quick rides available to us yet regular bicycle commuters like my self only make up about 5% of the total building population.

    Just recently a handful of us have been getting together for weekend rides around the bay area. We'll piece rides together using BART and ferry bridges and well known food and brewery stops. The group profile includes rank and file as well as mgmt types. It been a lot of fun and i hope it continues.

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