Sunday, February 24, 2008

Why Do You Commute By Bicycle?

Over the years I've learned some interesting things from the comments folks leave on this blog, so I figured I might as well ask a couple of questions here and see what answers you come up with.

In this post the question is:

Why Do You Commute By Bicycle?

Use the comment section to post as much or as little as you'd like about why you commute by bicycle. If you don't commute by bike, please go to the companion post Why Don't You Commute By Bicycle? and comment there. If you sometimes commute by bicycle and sometimes don't, feel free to comment on both posts.

Thanks.

84 comments:

JimD said...

I commute by bike because it is way more fun than driving.

-JimD

lynnef said...

What Jim said.
-Plus I can eat more.
-Gets drivers getting used to seeing more bicycles (yes, I am making it safer for those who don't ride much)
-Uphill both ways (builds character)
-Modeling correct and considerate road usage (translation: I stop at stop signs, signal turns, etc)
-Because I CAN

Vik said...

When I do commute by bike it is because:

- its fun
- great exercise
- I can eat whatever I want
- I like riding bikes
- saves me some $$$ on gas and maintenance
- sitting in my truck for 45mins each way to work is almost entirely wasted time [except I can listen to music]

Things that make bike commuting possible/easier:

- wide shoulder on the highway I need to travel
- transit available 25kms of my 50km commute to save me time or give me a break
- my company has change rooms and showers I can use + plus they don't care precisely when I show up and storing a bike in my office is cool

Steve said...

Simply because I like to ride bicycles. The commute is 4 tenths of a mile, which is wasteful to drive. But I ride to the store, to the baseball field I coach at and most places within the town. It is more convenient than driving. Maybe one of my students will see me and ride also.

Steve in Central CA

Anonymous said...

Because it is more fun and easier than driving... plus bike parking is free, and food is cheaper than gas! One of the big reasons we chose our current house was its location 1/2 block away from a good rail-trail and 1/2 block from a good bus line, so when it is snowy or icy or we just don't feel so good we can hop on the bus. When we moved we sold one car, and now only fill up the gas tank of the other one about once a month or so.

Julian.

Kevin Montgomery said...

I think I initially loved the idea for all these environmental reasons (the health ones are sort of lost on me since I already riding *hours* a week to train).

However, I live 2 miles from work. The time difference en route is minimal. Most of all, I hate fighting for parking.

Craig A said...

I ride for a number of reasons:
-It is fun
-My 13 mile commute from Elmira to Corning,NY takes little if any more time than riding the transit bus(My non-bike alternative)
-It is way less expensive than a car (for long distance trips my wife and I rent or borrow a car)
-I get fat(ter) when I don't
-I see and experience a lot more en route.
-I can interact with people I encounter
-50 is right around the corniner. If I don't do things to take care of my health, I won't have it as long as I'd like to
-that 13 miles takes too long to walk

Les said...

i don't own a car. biking is thousands of dollars cheaper per year than driving. (even riding the bus is much cheaper than driving.)

Biking doesn't take much longer for short distances and you don't have to look for parking. Sometimes, biking is actually faster than driving.

If I need to go a longer distance, i take a folding bike on public transit. Bike-on-transit is much faster than transit only. Ride bike to train station, train to other station, bike to door of where i'm going. There are fewer transfers and it's much faster than walking the end bits.

Also, at the end of a bike commute, I feel less stressed and happier than when I started, something that never happened when I drove a car.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a car ;~)

Hi Kent!!

Clifford

Evan said...

All of the other benefits aside, a lot of it my reasons are financial. I consider a car part of my rent. In the bay area, the balance point at which it's cheaper for me to have a car and drive in is so far away that it just doesn't make any sense to have one, since it would up my commute to more than an hour each way.

Living in the city, I could just take transit, but over my short commute, there's no time difference, so that's another chunk of money that I can pocket.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that I love to ride, but in big cities, I tire sometimes of all the high-minded rationalizations that get hauled out to justify riding. For me, and I suspect for a great many people who don't realize it, it also makes a great deal of sense financially.

danomite said...

I ride my bike to work for many reasons:
-I am more mentally alert when I get to work after cycling in
-It lets me wind down at the end of the day
-Cycling and driving take about the same time on a typical day, but I never get stuck in traffic on my bike

GhostRider said...

Because it's a blast!

I can eat whatever I want, I don't have to hunt for expensive parking like my coworkers, I get a spot of exercise, I save money by not burning up gas, etc. But the most important reason is because pedaling a bicycle puts a bigass smile on my face!

Mike said...

Because I live .4 miles miles from where I work, .3 miles from the grocery store, .35 miles to the post office, .5 miles to the pizza place, .3 miles to the hardware store, .1 mile to the doctor's office, .5 miles to my son's school, .2 miles to where my wife works.

We made the commitment to work where we live and live where we work.

brian said...

Hmmm...where to start?

First, it's cheaper. It allows to be a one car family, and that car gets minimal use as it is, because we live in a walkable section of town. It also forces me to work more locally. I could certainly commute more than my current 15 mile round trip, but more than that cuts into time I should be spending with my family (I left a job at the beginning of 2007 because the office was moved 20 miles away).

The ride also provides a nice way to wind down at the end of the day. I have more energy once I'm home since I've already gotten an hour or so of exercise.

And, of course, I enjoy riding my bike. Even in the middle of the winter, it's generally a joy to be out.

Oh yeah, the eating thing too :-)

Nickie, Anthony, Samuel, and Anders said...

I first started biking for transportation, as it dawned on me one day the full extent of the cost of driving, between time worked to cover costs, gas, insurance, repairs, general upkeep, and time working on them.

Years later, my wife and I decided to go car free due in large part to learning about the depth of the problems we face with peak oil and global warming, and having two young children that we care deeply about. Consequently we decided to be part of the solution for their generation's sake.

The cost savings, great fitness level, pure enjoyment, different pace of life, are probably the biggest day to day drivers at this point.

WheelDancer said...

I commute for a lot of reasons starting with a chance to enjoy the outdoors everyday and it gives me a base workout twice a day that is just part of my day. I also find it to be a great stress reliever, in fact on very stressful days I just imagine myself to be on a long layover on a day-long ride.

Harry H said...

I don't think I want to tell the main reason I do it because then EVERYONE will want to. But the reasons I will tell you are:

-It's a hoot to ride a bike.
-Sights, smells, and the road are more enjoyable from the cockpit of a bike.
-I get odd looks from my co-workers when I ride in the rain/terrible weather.
-More reasons to wear wool.
-Opportunity to get more miles in for longer rides i.e. Randonneuring.
-There is no better reason to go for coffee than to say I need to take the bike out for ride to make sure the tune-up id good.

Anonymous said...

I love riding my bike.
I like getting exercise doing everyday activities.
As quick as the bus or driving.
Save money on parking.
Treat myself to a baked goodie when I get to work.
My teenaged daughter uses my (former) car to go to school.
Save the planet.

Art in Seattle

James Bigler said...

I don't do it for environmental reasons. I just like to ride my bike. It is my favorite part of the day. Plus I hate sitting in traffic. So it is really a win win situation for me.

Anonymous said...

For fun and variety.
Because I hate wedging the truck into a parking spot.
Because I'd miss the hemisphere of space that surrounds me every morning
Because it gives me time outside, and I've gone from considering all but a couple weeks to be either too cold or too hot to considering *only* a couple of weeks a year too cold or hot.
I've grown to appreciate the weather. All kinds of weather. Snows, freezing rains, downpours, and gentle summer days too. It's kind of a neat way to see things.
Howard

Ralph Rognstad Jr. said...

I am a city planner who promotes alternative forms of transportation and development patterns that allow alternatives to the car. Unfortunately we have a minimal bus transit system, although they have put bike racks on the buses that are well used and ridership is rising. I live less than a mile from work. I have lights and fenders, so I can ride most days even though it is wet or I have to work late. When there is snow or heavy rain, I usually walk. I also park my bike in a rack on a covered loading dock right at the office. When I drive, I have to park down the block and cross a busy street.

Tai-po said...

Because it makes me less grumpy...and this time of year every little bit of help counts!

Tai

Hank said...

It's a twice daily workout--nine miles one way. It's healthy. It's fun. Hey, why join a fitness club when you can go outside? It promotes hygiene since I have to shower twice a day. It saves gas and wear on my car. It makes me feel superior to the drivers who keep seeing me over and over on their way home. Don't they ever wonder, "Hey, if he can ride a bike as fast as I'm driving through traffic then maybe I..."?

Jim Laudolff said...

The hills and valleys of Puget Sound Land are gorgeous.

Driving makes me cranky.

I hope one person out there will see and second-guess their auto-centric life.

because I am smarter than yeast. Great blog Kent, well worth reading.

matt said...

not owning a car makes the decision pretty simple. so i either bus or bike to work.

plus you get an excuse to be late now & then ("had another flat on the way in...")

Greg said...

1) Cause it's fun to ride
2) Cause it makes me feel me feel hope for the future (if I can get to work in a sustainable way, maybe others can)
3) Cause it's a good excuse to buy more fun bike gear (note that the bike gear in question is sufficiently low carbon that (3) does not give you an excuse to make fun of me for (2). (2) alone, however, may be sufficient for that :-)

So in summary:

1) Fun
2) Fun
3) Fun

Is it any mystery that cyclists like their way of getting to work best?

http://bikeportland.org/2007/05/08/study-says-bicycle-commuters-are-happiest/


(Make it safer and I'd do it all the time...)

Gene said...

My personal reasons for commuting by bicycle:

*I don't spend money for gas/bus/parking.
*I exercise every day.
*The exercise makes me feel better.
*For short trips (less than 2 miles) it takes about the same amount of time.
*I can park closer to my destination entrance.

nollij said...

Like so many have said,

• IT'S FUN!
• I get exercise which:
- means I can eat more
- means I feel better when I get where I'm going
- keeps my weight down
- keeps my endorphins up and chases away the blues
• It's cheaper that driving or transit (which SUCKS in my neighborhood)
• No parking problems
• I see things I would totally miss in a car
• I get to have experiences with people on the street that I wouldn't have in a car
• Ground Scores
• Opportunities to meet people
• Challenges peoples conceptions of what cyclists should like like and ride
• Gets drivers used to dealing with cyclists as legitimate road users that respect the laws and DEMAND their rights (I signal, stop at signs and lights, AND TAKE THE DAMN LANE WHEN MY SAFETY DEPENDS ON IT!)
• I never regret taking the bike, but I almost always regret taking the car
• The more-often-than-not sh*t-eating grin plastered on my face, especially when I pass and repass the same speeders that go from red light to red light at full throttle, wasting their brakes, fuel and disposable income.

Anonymous said...

I like bikes.

Mehtul... said...

Mainly because it is fun but I also leave less of a carbon footprint.

Ryan said...

I commute by trike but I think that counts even though I have an additional wheel.
- It's fun.
- I don't have to take the car.
- Quick
- Fun
- Encourages others to ride
- Demonstrates to the city that the lanes/paths are used
- Fun!

mnultraguy said...

All of the reasons listed above, but the main reason is it the right thing to do!

pleasantcemetery said...

I used to think about this alot but cycling is such a part of what I do. It would be like asking me why do I drink water? Now that I have a new job, my job entails riding my bike around cleaning houses, so I have to. I like riding because it's fun passing cars.

Anonymous said...

'Cause that's the way I roll. It rules. For even more in this vein, see: http://tinyurl.com/2o3wcu Definitely significant how often"fun" comes up in these discussions. How many people have "fun" driving to work? Val

Sal Laughter said...

I like to bike. It's kind of like flying, like soaring in a dream.

~s.

Anonymous said...

To paraphrase Jonathan Richman

I walked by the Stop n Shop
Then I drove by the Stop n Shop
I like that much better than walking by the Stop n Shop

Joe said...

Kids, and we don't even have any! A friend's kindergartener rides the first half mile behind me 4 days a week. And, our next door neighbors--4 and 6 years old--wave excitedly anytime they see me come or go on the bike.

When our own kids some day get old enough to ask, I want to be able to tell them I gave an honest effort to keep the world beautiful for them.

MzunguEriki said...

I started to commute to save money and for exercise.



8 years later it so I pollute less, it is easier, faster, and less stressful.

Hopefully in the future it will be becuase everone does it.

Joseph said...

I commute by bike over all of these choices {walk, bus, drive, motorcycle} for these reasons, in this order:

- Fastest
- No time looking for parking
- The most fun
- Less aggravation in slow traffic
- Exercise
- Cheap

Jay Bazuzi said...

1. The tandem trailer was the only way I could convince my then-4-year-old to go to preschool.

2. I needed the exercise, badly.

3. It's fun.

4. I could leave when I want to vs. taking the bus.

5. I like the idea of living in an area without cars; I am taking it one step closer.

yesh said...

I ride because:

- My general gatitude increases exponentially with every mile I ride.

- Starting my day off this way generally keeps my spirits up for the duration of a mundane workday.

- better health and all that jazz

- Running 7 miles with a backpack full of work worthy clothing slows me down and makes me cranky.

Thanks for the great blogging!

Cody said...

I thought I'd phase my response based on the three places ive lived and commuted in, secifically what made it easy or hard.

1. Murfreesboro, TN. Very little city planning for bicycles, but the furthest I ever lived was 7 or 8 miles away. I split time between riding and driving when I lived that far, mainly because I had just bought a new bike and there was not any indoor secure parking. As far as functional bike lanes, there were none. There was a half mile of "bike lane" but I never knew it to be cleaned the whole time I lived there. I did get several flats from it. Commuting by bike was not popular since there were must have been more than a thousand parking spaces by the time you counted all the satalite lots.

2. Pittsburgh, PA: No bike lanes, but it was/is very common to see students and others commuting by bike. There is basically no parking at Pitt/ Carnegie Mellon so you have to find another way in. The bus system is not good, and there are some VERY dedicated activists making Pittsburgh a cycling town. BikePgh and FreeRide, a co-op, have made it easy to get riding. Some secure bike lockers, but I was never worried about it since I was able to lock up outside the building I was in, and honestly, there was something that was more expensive that was not locked as good as my bike. Cycling was the logical choice for most students, including me, to get around.

3. Arlington, VA (Washington DC): DC has a good public transportation system, but cycling still makes more sense to me because it doesnt take as long. It usually takes less time for the to get where I'm going. I am 2.5 miles from school, but I usually take a 8-10 mile route on one of the trails to get here. Cycling planning is good, there are some things to be desired but everywhere has that problem. Most Metro stations have bike lockers.

If I commute only by bike for a month it saves me 60-120 or so in Metro fees, depending on how I get around. Thats alot of bike swag in the end.

Andrew said...

It's sooooo much less stressful than public transport OR driving! My commute is about 10 miles into the center of Boston, which would requires about 15 mins of walking, 30 mins on a bus, and another 30 mins on the subway. Door to door, it takes me about 45 mins on the bike - and I feel so much better when I get here!

Al said...

- It's faster than taking the bus (for an 8 mile trip, that's at least two bus transfers and lots of waiting in traffic with the autos).
- It's more fun that riding the bus or driving a car, sometimes it's stressful, but it's a different kind. And the fun part over-rides the stress part every time.
- I don't have to have a gym membership.
- It's much cheaper than driving
- I like the fresh air, any time of year.

runawayscreaming said...

- It's a way to get exercise.

- It keeps me from trashing the city and the planet and I enjoy the planet.

I live downtown in Vancouver (the other Vancouver - the one in British Columbia). The Vancouver BC motorists are very aggressive and dangerous and there are no bike lanes. Cycling in Vancouver is definitely not good for your mental health but driving is probably worse and possibly just as dangerous.

Robert Higdon said...

It wakes me up more than that first cup of coffee ever will.

Anonymous said...

In the beginning, I rode because I could no longer afford the rising cost of gas. Then I realized I was also saving money on gym membership, plus my daily exercise was now so much more fulfilling than the gerbil-like actvities of stairs and treadmills. Only then did I start to realize that it was so much easier and more convenient than I ever realized. I think the people who list out the reasons (rain, hills, wrinkled clothes) that they can't ride are self-justifying until they actually dip their toes in, and then the mindset change begins...

Shanybu said...

...to be the change I wish to see in the world.
...because it makes me feel 12 years old
...because I dig the students on my university campus doing a double take when they see this old bag flying by (I'm 48:)
...to show that you can be a professional, dress "office appropriate", and still be a cyclist
...because bikes are much more interesting than cars
...because bike commuters are much more interesting than car commuters

Waz - Melbourne -Australia said...

2.1km from Home to the Railway station

4km from city fringe railway station (Richmond) to another city fringe office (St Kilda Road)

Folding bike - because I can still get on crowded trains.

Health- ok 12 K a day isn't going to make me super fit but at least I arrive at work feeling awake.

$- Much cheeper than a 2nd car

Time - faster than training all the way into the city (city loop) and then tram-ing out along St Kilda Road.

Fun - I feel happier on my bike

From Richmond I can also choose something that stops at my station on the way home - If I got on in the city I would probably have to change anyway.

mb said...

I wrote this for a survey on a forum a few days ago. Thought I'd share it here.

Location: Singapore

1. Why?

I started because I needed the exercise, and I did not want to set aside time just to go to the gym. So why not combine the commute with the exercise? Then it became a daily thing which I did because it was fun. Then I started to ride everywhere else.

Then I gave up the car because it did not make sense financially to own and maintain one since I was riding so much. It costs three times more to buy a car in Singapore compared to the US, and twice as much to run because of parking fees, congestion pricing and petrol prices.

My family uses public transport on weekends or borrow a car from the extended family.

I currently ride about 170 km (100 miles) a week.


2. How far?

Home to work is 7 km (4.3 miles) each way through very heavy urban traffic.

For commuting elsewhere, the average distance is 10 km to 20 km. Singapore is a very small country, an island state that is 42km long and 23km wide, although it has many km of urban roads.


The Bicycle

1. What type/brand/style?

I own three bikes. A 2006 Specialized Hardrock mountain bike fitted with slick tires for road riding, a Dahon Curve 16-inch foldable, and a Dahon MU P24 foldable.


2. Why you picked that bicycle

The Hardrock was a good deal at the time. Also the upright riding position and disc brakes made it good for all weather riding in the urban traffic here. So I kept messing around with the components till it is the mutant commuter it is today. I ride it most days. It has a rigid fork (took out the shocks), fenders, and 27 speeds.

The three-speed Dahon Curve is for days I need to go for meetings (either the distance is long and/or I don't want to show up sweaty) or to meet the wife after work, because it is very good for mixed mode commuting. I ride it to the subway station and fold it up, take a ride to my destination station and then ride again. I avoid taking pain-in-the-ass feeder buses or walking to the stations. Most of the stations are not at my doorstep.

The Dahon MU P24 foldie is meant for the wife to ride with me on weekends. We throw the two foldies into a cab or a borrowed car and we ride at the beach (wife not good enough at riding to take to our streets yet). It is likely to be my next all-round commuter because of the 24-speed gear range.


Risks/Experiences

1. Motorists

Riding on the roads here can be scary. Motorists here do not give way to cyclists in general though it is improving a little. Buses and trucks are the worst. This drives cyclists to ride on the pavement which is technically illegal though the law is rarely enforced. Pavement riding is unsafe for pedestrians and also for riders, but riders see the motorist situation and lack of bike lanes as a bigger danger. I ride on the roads but with great caution. You need to be a very defensive rider and have your wits about you to ride in Singapore traffic. Which is also why my bikes are lit up like Christmas trees and armed with an airhorn.


2. Road condition and weather

Singapore does not have seasons. We only have year-round heat and humidity. Average temperatures here during the day is 30 degrees celsius. Our humidity is usually above 90%. The November to December months are the monsoon months with heavy rains. I pack rain gear (lightweight jacket, rain pants and rain boots) in case of rain, but you can ride all year round in Singapore, pretty much.

Sweat is your only obstacle which can be overcome with showers at the workplace, or just packing a change of clothing.

Roads are mostly flat, hardly any hills. And the roads are generally well maintained by the government.

There are some bike paths, called Park Connectors but they are meant for linking parks together and are currently not designed for commuting into the city.


3. Other cyclists

Besides the roadies who train in packs on weekends, and mountain bikers who use the few trails here, there are local commuters like myself (rare breed), and then the foreign workers. The influx of foreign blue collar workers from India and China has meant an increase in bicycle commuters here. Most local bicycle commuters were either foolhardy folk like myself, or aunties on their way to the wet market.

Many foreign worker cyclists (and many local ones, I might add) ride on pavements, or against the flow of traffic, with no lighting, and with general disregard or ignorance of traffic rules. It is a big public safety issue.

The country's planners do not see cycling as transport, but as recreation and for getting about in the neighbourhood, often citing our warm weather as the reason that cycling will not take off here, and hence there is no infrastructure or public education for bicycle commuting.

This is probably unsustainable as more and more foreigners depend on cycling as a cheap means of transport.

Rising car ownership costs and a public transport system that is currently stretched especially at peak hours also mean that locals are looking for alternatives.

noc said...

Because I feel like it!
God Bless America

B safe out there,

noc...

"What's your conscious choice?"

Michel said...

Maybe I need to fill both blogs.

I do commute by bike 8.5-9 months per year. Because...

- I like (and need) the exercise.
- With an interesting but sometimes stressful job at one end and a family at the other end, I need the time to relax.
- Because I save a bit of money.
- No difference timewise. Cycling 17 km takes me 50 minutes in the morning and 60-65 in the evening (more traffic and less interesting one-way streets, slightly uphill, against dominant wind, more tired...). Give or take a few minutes, it takes me the same amount of time if I drive or take the bus. Driving is of course faster if I'm totally outside rush hour (i.e. past 10 a.m. or 7 p.m.) and bus is slower outside rush hour

Unfortunately, I have to cross a major bridge, which is closed to cyclists and pedestrians when there is too much snow. Otherwise, I might cycle through Winter, especially during storms (i.e. too much traffic slowdowns), although 17 km each way might be a little too much. Since I go against traffic, the bus is pleasant as I'm often alone.

As a bonus, I used to have a 3 km commute each way. Overall I appreciate the longer commute as it gives me more time to relax and an opportunity to "train" under all weather conditions. Now I know what works for a 60-minute storm!

On the other hand, I sometimes did my former 3-km commute on foot (especially when children were much younger). When I walk, I can look at houses, gardens, etc. and really feel the neighbourhood; when I bike, I can't.

My cycling commute is half urban, half sub-urban, with about 45 signals along the way (30 of them in the first 5 km).

veloben said...

The weekends are too far apart not to commute.

Takes no longer than by car and clean up and suit wearing is no big deal with some planning. Haven't ridden lately due to the snow, but feel like a wimp when I see another commuter out in the weather.

Marrock said...

Because I get better mileage from a 2-liter of Mt. Dew than a car does from a gallon of gasoline.

Tom said...

It's more fun in any weather. While folks are cussing and scraping I'm having a good time and feel great once arriving at work. "When DO you drive your car", one asks? Ditto for when do I buy gas? One of the best things is making eye contact and meeting others on my ride, waving to the metro drivers and talking with other commuters. A great way to start the day and unwind and stay healthy. Biking is life....and a great way to feel alive both physically and socially.

Anonymous said...

a) I love the ride
I live in the suburban fringe of Tokyo and ride to school on small backroads and riverside trails through an intersting and bizarre mix of agricultural lands, coppice woodlands, and resedential plots. I love the morning sunshine even in the winter and the considerate drivers. Also enjoy plotting and trying new routes and learning more about the place I live.
b) I need the fresh air and exercise.
c) It saves money.
Travelling to school by bus/train runs upwards of 8$ roundtrip and I hate being trapped in a bus (especially when I have to stand and lean my head to the side the whole way because the ceiling is six inches too low)
d) I love my bike
I'm constantly amazed by the efficiency and beauty of the bicycle. Sometimes when riding, it occurs to me that I am actually powering this thing by myself and I'm amazed with the speed and effeciency, especially as I swoop down the big hills.
e) Just trying to do my small part.

Emily said...

I don't commute to work. Instead I do utility biking for groceries, library books, and just about anything else.

Why? Well... I can't walk 10 miles fast enough to get anything done at the other end. Often, the bus doesn't go where I want to go, when I want to go. Plus, the bus is about twice as slow as my bike for short trips. Biking and walking are fun for me if I want to go places. Driving isn't.

The bike also lets me carry more than I can on my own, and my bike isn't even rigged for serious cargo. It won't let me carry as much as a car will, but usually a car's cargo capacity is wasted anyway. It's not like I need a vehicle that will carry 300lbs of cargo... 50lbs does just fine most weeks.

Fritz said...

I do it 'cause I like it. Beside that, I'm cheap.

Colin said...

Riding my bike and not having a car is like getting a $5,000 - $10,000/year raise for having fun. Plus, when I arrive at work I'm awake and alert - that's another $$$/year I don't have to pay $tarbuck$

urei545 said...

I began commuting as a way to avoid a three year traffic jam that split my city in half. I continue because of the air, because of what I have a chance to see and because of the rhythm. I'm a lesser person when I can't ride.

gwadzilla said...

I commute by bicycle because only an idiot or an asshole would drive the three miles into work

it would take longer to drive and get parking than to bike

even walking is a more rational option

gwadzilla said...

and

I am too lazy to join a gym

commuting gets me on the bike

I extend my rides home

the bike is my prozac

Random Menace said...

I really don't like driving anymore. It stresses me out. Biking is so much more relaxing for me.

Tim K said...

Basically I ride:
- because I'm an angry driver
- because riding relaxes me
- because cars suck
- because I took a new job for the good (12mi R/T) bike commute.
- because I love my wife and children and I want to live with them as long as I can.
- because I love my planet and want to leave some of it to my children.

But mostly I do it because I enjoy it. Is that so wrong?

Galvin K Chow said...

I started 4 years ago commuting by bike twice a week, initially because I thought it would be fun. Over the years, I've bumped it up to 5 days a week. As a result, I only have to refuel my car once every 3-4 weeks, compared to every week when I drove the car to work. The other thing is that having to fight traffic in a car sucks! I'm not stressed out over traffic when I bike in, especially when half my commute is on a paved trail. I have to admit though, that I probably wouldn't bike in to work if there wasn't a place to shower.

Tex69 said...

Kent confused me at first. I started telling why I did commute on the 'don't commute' page...

I'm sure I have nothing new to elucidate here; others tend to be far more eloquent than I. I like to commute b/c it's healthy. It's 'green'. It's the right thing to do for me and for everyone else whose air I'm not polluting. It's fun. When I don't I feel guilty and when I do I rarely have a bad ride, mundane sometimes, but rarely bad. I wish I could be a 90% guy like many in the bloggoland, but I'm not, not yet.

Dingbat said...

Why do I commute {year-round, with a toddler, in Chicago)?

Funny, we just got interviewed by one of the local TV stations asking the same thing, and they did a great job bringing out all the points that everybody mentioned here.

But it occurred to me later that it's the most comfortable way to get our daughter to her daycare and back every day! She spends less time out in the wind when it's cold, more breeze when it's hot, door-to-door (or, more accurately, inside-to-door) when it's raining. And soon she'll be big enough for a kid-back!

rar said...

Main reasons:

-Hate driving
-living a sedentary life leaves me exhausted
-I get to eat more!
-gotta get my cycling miles in (I set a goal of 4,200 miles this year)
-faster than driving (my work is only 1.2 miles away)
-save money
-planning to do some Randonneuring rides this year so all the miles I put on keeps me saddle conditioned

Kartik said...

There's a million reasons, all of which are described above. I wish more folks would try it - I think a lot would find they like it.

In this spirit, I'd like to encourage folks to check out the "Burn Calories, Not Carbon!" pledge sponsored by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (where I work): www.railstotrails.org/pledge

Anonymous said...

In good weather, it's more fun than driving. I am lucky to have a good route -- mostly flat and low auto traffic, with an optional light-rail link in the middle. My employer pays for the light-rail pass and lets me park the bike indoors by my office. If you add in the SF Bay Area's clement weather, this is a rare combination of attractions. I am thankful to have it.

I don't ignore the health, cost, and environmental benefits, but they are secondary for me. To illustrate how weak my commitment is, I don't ride when rain is likely.

Anonymous said...

I bike to work because I love being outdoors and feeling the wind in my face. I am trying to simplify my life by living what I call the village lifestyle where the orbits of my daily commutes and errands are within 5 miles of my house. I am reducing my dependence on foreign oil. It's fun for me and it saves me money. I can join with other bike commuters that share my route for safety and comraderie.

WMdeR said...

Dear Kent,

Originally, I didn't like my car commute, needed to get back into shape after college, and had just started a completely sedentary job. So I started commuting 25 mi/day, four days a week, no excuses, and exchanged wardrobes on the fifth. I enjoyed the challenge of the mundane, enjoyed watching my time in transit fall from an hour each way to an hour including a leisurely shower and changing clothes. Eventually that challenge got stale. But the riding really never did.

Then I moved closer to work (10mi r.t.) and rode in street clothes every day. Even better. I still had mental separation between work and home, a breath of fresh air and a glimpse of sky, and I didn't have to shower and change clothes twice, though I did need to start exercising separately.

Now I'm back out with 15mi round-trip and laziness, combined with a very nice car I share with my wife, had eaten into my commute time over the last two years. This year, I re-instituted a no-excuses policy and I'm back to riding 4+ days a week, plus any solo errands I have on the weekend.

But why?

(in no particular order)

Fun. Parking. Connection with the natural world. Safety (I've got better control over my bike in the snow). Fitness(though I don't exactly burn up the roads schlepping around town). The challenge of weather and bulky loads. The approbation of friends and family. The incredulity of strangers. The joy of bicycle maintenance. The humility wind brings.

Best,

WMdeR.

Brent Shultz said...

-Fun.
-Exercise/fitness.
-Save $$$ on gas/auto maintenance.
-Consume less non-renewable resources.
-Seeing my town first hand... You'd be amazed at how much more in tune with your community you can be when you aren't seeing it @ 35 MPH through a windshield.

Robin said...

-Fun.

-Refreshed for class/work.

-Waking up early is better for me anyway.

-During rush hour it takes the same amount of time to get to school but I'm not stuck in traffic.

-I get to be the fat girl thats faster than someones car.

-I get tot be the fat girl that helps the other fat girls get on their bikes. (Riding with people on their first trips)

-I can't say I'm trying to lose weight but I don't feel guilty drinking yummy beers a couple times a week if I'm bike commuting.

-If I time it right I get free breakfast every month just for bike commuting.

Kevin said...

Here in Toronto I use my electric bicycle to commute most days.

Driving a car is not an option since there is no car parking where I live or where I work. So like most people in the city I do not have a car.

After major snow storms (February was a record breaking snow month at over two meters!) I'll take the streetcar. But within 24 hours the city will have the roads ploughed bare and I'm back on my bicycle again.

Many people in Toronto have snow tires for their bicycles, but changing tires twice a year is too much like work for me.

iz said...

If you're commuting and are setting up a bike to work event, stop on by http://biketoworkweek.org and have it listed on the map there. If you're a commuter, have your blog listed there as well.

Anonymous said...

My commute takes about a hour and a half each way.

During that time I'm not my job title, I'm not a husband, I'm not a father, I'm not a grandfather.

I'm ten years old again. I've got my shiny bike and the road before me.

It's decompression. I get on the bike and I am who I am. Not what others want me to be.

Is this selfish? No, I don't think so. Most men live lives of quiet desperation. If I can ride, I do not despair.
Life is good.
gears to you....leo

Char said...

I have been biking to work since the 1980's - have had short and long commutes, and have enjoyed each one. I went car-free last Nov., and enjoy biking even more! :)

I bike commute because it's peaceful and has no stress. It's challenging some days (high winds, heavy rains, snow/sleet/ice). But then there are great days when I have a wonderful tailwind, see the moon shining over the Potomac River at night, seeing wildlife along the way, seeing beautiful sunrises/sunsets. It's A TON better than taking the subway, where you pay for cramming on trains that are delayed and break down, hearing other people on their cell phones and other conversations, etc. On my bike, I can whistle, sing, hum, and it doesn't bother anyone. I can run errands on the way to and fro. The list is endless.... :)

Charmaine

KMFA said...

For many of the reasons listed...PLUS

The look on drivers faces as I pass them during rush hour at 30 mph bunny hopping my Bike Friday tikit over expansion joints on the MOPAC bridge over Barton Creek in Austin during the morning commute.

Down With Debt said...

I bike to work because:

- I don't have a car because I sold it (saving for a cheaper one) and am trying to rebuild my credit-so paying off a $15000 loan in one year should help plus free up other monies for other bills\expenses
- I live 2.5 miles from my awesome job, so driving would be pointless
- I arrive to work ready to WORK because my blood is already pumping
- I smoke less when I bike (looks stupid to smoke while biking+dangerous)
- takes me 10-15 minutes to get to work depending on crossings at the two major intersections I pass
- Gives me cred. at work (I'm a butcher at Whole Foods for 3 years, read hippies who smoke pot and love enviromentalism)

masher said...

I used to ride to work many yeas ago and after 2 kids and 30 odd pounds added to my 6'2 frame I was ready and excited to make the 28.6km ride to and from work. At just over an hour it has become my " personal" time during the day. I ride at mid day and after 9m home so not as much traffic as rush hour. I do enjoy peoples ractions when they hear I ride as far as I do to work. Makes me feel like I am accomplishing something and the big bucks I am saving is great. DIAPERS COST ALOT...... I guess I should thank George W Bush for invading Iraq and driving up the price of gas which forced me to hop on the bike . Thank You W

Montrealer said...

It's fun.
I get exercise at the same time as transportation.
I get to see interesting things.
I arrive at work and at home in a good mood (endorphins I guess?).
It's good for the environment.
It's cheap. (I don't have a car or even a driver's licence.)
I want to "be the change I want to see in the world".

Anonymous said...

We live in Portland, OR. My 7 year old son and I ride together to his school (3 miles). I lock up his bike, walk him to class and leave to ride on to work (another 1.5 miles) when his class starts. He's absolutely passionate about biking, in any weather. We chatter away at each other during the ride. It's a great way to start the day. My wife picks him up in the van. I ride home at the end of the day. I have a stressful financial sector job and biking relaxes me. It's also nice not to send oil $ to the Middle East.

Anonymous said...

I get no kick from gassing up my car. But eating more is fun.
I started because it still felt wrong to drive around a 2500 lb. 34mpg vehicle to the library, to work, to the post office... But then it became fun... I still have my car for inter-city travel, but I will often put my bike in the back. Los Angeles is actually a very GOOD town for bikes, but the money spent on bike lanes and routes is wasted as people park their cars in them. But the weather and metro systems are good, especially the trains for cross town travel to the beach or Hollywood parties. Bike culture is thriving in LA!