This week's coffee talk has to do with perceived barriers to commuting, why don't more Colorado cyclists use cycling for more than just a recreational experience? Coffee talk discussion gives me the chance to rant and you a chance to fire back with your 2 or 4 cents.
This past Tuesday I broke the rules, while on business travel to Milwaukee I elected to not get a rental car but instead commute from hotel to office by bike. It was only a little over 2 miles on what I would consider a fair road, should have been easy, right? Not exactly.
The first obstacle was finding an actual bike to ride. In Boulder and Denver we have bike sharing in most of the business districts and many of the big hotels have complementary bikes for the patrons to use, so for someone to attempt this here would seem like a no brainer. In Milwaukee there is no bike sharing program and there were no complementary bikes at my hotel. There was also no bike shop within a ten mile radius, where I could rent a bike. So, I had to appeal to a co-worker to lend me his bike. Bike in hand, I thought this is going to be great, my 100th day of commuting by bike to work this year will take place in Milwaukee! But obtaining a bike wasn't my only obstacle.
Of the 3 days in Milwaukee, I commuted 2 times, weather on day 3 was beyond terrible. While I've ridden to work in Boulder on some extreme days (remember my recent commute using snow chains on my tires?)but horizontal rain was definitely not in my plans. There were no showers at work, but not a huge deal as it was only 2 miles. Bikes were forbidden inside the building, so I had to lock my colleague's bike to what appeared to be a bike rack bolted to the asphalt conveniently located next to the company's back-up generators. On my 3 days at this 300+ employee campus I was the only known cyclist. While I didn't ride all 3 days, hey 2 outta 3 ain't bad!
My stats from WorldCommute.com
This adventure really made me appreciate what the Boulder/Denver area has to offer cyclists, we really do have it made, true that there is still plenty of room for improvement but relative to other parts of the country it is still pretty darn nice. But why don't you see more cyclists commuting to their destinations?
Why don't we use our bikes for more than just racing, training and playing
No, I'm not telling you to go sell your car(s), cut the cable and go off the grid, just choose to make 1 trip a week that you would normally do by car but do it by bike? That may include riding to work, with your kids to school, to the grocery store (or liquor store), post office, etc. Have you heard of the Cliff Bar 2 Mile challenge where they state 40% of U.S. urban travel is 2 miles or less and 90% of those trips are by car!
Top excuses for not riding your bike for living purposes
- Live too far from work Don't ride to work, pick something else like grocery store
- No showers at my work Either slow down and don't get so sweaty or use some of the new products like Action wipes for that very reason.. or do #1
- I don't have a commuter bike or any bags Plan ahead, take your work clothes the day before to work. If $$$ is the issue then Community Cycles can show you how to make practical panniers for less than $15.
- There's no safe route to get to work. The route you drive to get to your job might not be the safest, but it probably isn't the only route. Find an alternative route that may be less efficient, but could be very pleasant and safe... or consider #1
- Doesn't fit into my training schedule If racing is your job then I agree, so those 8 paid riders reading this are exempt
You already love cycling, hence you're on this website, so increase that passion in a way that is more rewarding than buying solar panels or getting an electric car