RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—May marks Bike Month, with this year's National Bike to Work Week kicking off today. That might not mean much to you if you spend your daily commute within the air-conditioned confines of a vehicle sipping coffee, but before you make up some lame excuse about how biking to work is a nice concept, but would never work for your situation, read on.
First, consider the benefits of a bicycle-based commute. If you bike to work, you won't only burn off last evening's excess calories, but you'll also be able to carve out more "me" time, reduce air pollution, and save money on gas. (Seriously, don’t we all want to cut back on energy use after the Gulf oil spill disaster?) And whether it's the threat of sweat or a long commute that seems like a bike commute barrier, a few expert tips may convince you that commuting by bicycle is easier than you think. Bicycling magazine's Deb Cosgrove offers these easy routes around common bike-commuting excuses.
There's no place to park.
If you have to lock your bike out on the street you can pair a U-lock with a chain and padlock. Your bike will be unattractive to thieves because they'll need several tools to break the lock combo. But first, make sure there really isn't a secure indoor location you can use. Your employer may have a closet or storeroom that fits the bill.
I don't want to be sweaty at work.
Cosgrove says the sweat factor is generally overrated. "If you showered before leaving, you should be fine," she says. If there are no showers available at your workplace, keep baby wipes and deodorant at work to freshen up if you need to.
It takes too much time.
Depending on the length of the trip, your bike commute could actually save you time, Cosgrove says. "Transportation groups have done studies that show commuting by bike to work under 3 miles is actually faster than by car," she say. Trips of 5 to 7 miles take about the same time as driving. And keep in mind that your commute counts as exercise, freeing up time in the evenings and weekends for other things.
Published on: May 17, 2010