Author Topic: Convincing SO to bike to work  (Read 6202 times)

NumberCruncher

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Convincing SO to bike to work
« on: February 18, 2014, 12:51:14 PM »
So, we both have bikes, but haven't made the push to commute by bike. Right now we carpool as his office building is right on the way to mine, and we have one car.

The biggest thing stopping us is guilt - no joke. It's not really a fear of being hit by a car, necessarily, but a fear of getting in the way of cars/blocking them - "I like efficient systems. I don't want to make an efficient system less efficient."

There are no bike lanes on the way to work (3 miles for him), and some roads are fairly narrow. The speed limit is about 35 mph the whole way.

Any suggestions? I see it as kind of a "be a pioneer! Make them see the need for cycling infrastructure!" but he's not buying it.

ketchup

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 12:53:20 PM »
One fewer car on the road probably makes the system more efficient.

griffin

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 01:15:06 PM »
I would argue that this is faulty logic, in that the current set up is inefficient to begin with! Just because car commuting is easier doesn't mean it is more effecient. First off, there is the technical definition of efficiency: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_performance#Energy_efficiency; to quote:
Quote
A human being traveling on a bicycle at 1015 mph (1624 km/h), using only the power required to walk, is the most energy-efficient means of transport generally available
BAM! Science. It also encourages people to live further away (ineffecient), let their bodies go out of shape (ineffecient) and traffic jams/parking spaces also arise from how large cars (ineffecient!!).
Of course, I have no idea where you live but have you tried checking for alternate routes to work? Although there still may not be bike lanes, there may be less frequently used roads?
It might also help to think of it like this. A car travels at 35mph on the roads to your work, so it takes 5.17 minutes to travel 3 miles. A bike, at 15mph takes 12 minutes to travel 3 miles. Assuming a car gets stuck behind you and cannot pass you for the entire trip, you've only inconvinienced them by 6 minutes. This seems like a pretty small price to pay for a healthier, cheaper and greener lifestyle! Plus, who knows, you may raise awareness in your community. Bike on!

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 01:22:45 PM »
In the interest of marital happiness, I suggest you make your case then leave him to it. Some things can't be forced.

If the issue is that YOU really want to bike, go for it. He'll need to find another carpooler or take the slow lane for his portion of the drive.

somepissedoffman

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2014, 01:27:47 PM »
50 points to Griffin(dor)!

windawake

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2014, 02:08:30 PM »

avonlea

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2014, 02:17:28 PM »
If there are no alternative routes, like griffin mentioned, perhaps you might like to try this:

Is there a time frame during the weekend when the roads to your SO's office have light traffic?  If there won't be as many cars out (especially the important going-to-work-or-school kind), you two might feel less guilty about being on the road at that time.  After having a trial run, you might decide that you want to try commuting when regular traffic is out or you might decide not to commute.  Either way, at least you will know that you had given it a go.  But, yeah, like others have said, only do it together if SO is really open to that suggestion. ;)
« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 02:20:36 PM by avonlea »

tfordon

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2014, 02:29:15 PM »
Seems like the easiest solution is to start biking without your husband.  Be the change you want to see.  You won't slow down traffic that much, and the easiest way to convince your SO of this is to start biking yourself.

If your work schedule is flexible, try biking when there is less traffic to start.  It is less scary for a novice commuter, and cars can more easily pass you.

Congrats on only having one car btw.

TrMama

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2014, 02:33:47 PM »
As mentioned, lead by example. Just start riding yourself and don't worry about your husband.

This is the approach I've taken and he did finally get the message. In fact, I think he's ridden more days than I have this month.

CrochetStache

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2014, 04:09:00 PM »
Get a Tandem Bicycle! Even more efficient than 2 bicycles :) My husband and I love ours and so much more fun than riding separately. It would get BOTH of you riding instead of just trying to convince him ride by himself.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2014, 04:20:56 PM »
Don't be guilty about holding up traffic. Being able to carpool is nice, but think about the extra health benefits and stress relief of biking in.

That said, I certainly wouldn't ride abreast on the narrow roads, so maybe you'd lose some conversation time. That's bikehole behavior ;)

Edit: plus, I've ridden on some narrow, narrow roads and I held up cars by maybe five seconds? Take the amount of lane you need to be safe, ride predictably, hand signal. Behave like a (slow) car with flashers on.

NumberCruncher

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2014, 06:56:19 AM »
Thanks, internet!

Yeah, I'm thinking leading by example is the best course of action.

Besides, if I start biking to work, he'll have to drive, walk, or bike too - and he hates driving.


b4u2

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2014, 07:35:23 AM »
On the bright side at least you are carpooling and not driving separate.

SunshineGirl

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2014, 08:55:13 AM »
How about baby steps - walk or bike or use public transportation one day per week for the next month. Three miles is a fairly easy walk.

griffin

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2014, 11:45:33 AM »
Also it may be a given but an investment in lights/a helmet/some-brightly-colored-vest-thing definitely pays off in the long run, especially on busy roads. Safety first!

phred

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2014, 12:46:18 PM »
Your intended route does not seem the safest because of the narrow roads.  The speed limit may be 35, but I can picture some fool, late for work, blasting down the hwy at 45-50 with the sun in his eyes, and engaging his cellphone to explain why he'll be a few minutes late.  Even at the speed limit, many will try and squeeze by you.  Try it on an early Sunday morning; see how it goes.

If the morning sun will be behind you change the scenario to picking up his kids at childcare, etc

NumberCruncher

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2014, 12:56:19 PM »
How about baby steps - walk or bike or use public transportation one day per week for the next month. Three miles is a fairly easy walk.

He has walked it before - but there are very few sidewalks along the way - one of the reasons I've been trying to push biking.  I definitely like the idea of baby steps! - I'll need it since I've got a somewhat hilly 6 miles and am not exactly a picture of fitness at the moment.

Also it may be a given but an investment in lights/a helmet/some-brightly-colored-vest-thing definitely pays off in the long run, especially on busy roads. Safety first!

Definitely! Got lights (front and rear) on the bikes, safety tape on the bikes and helmets...should be good.

In this weather, next bike accessories purchased are going to be fenders!

Your intended route does not seem the safest because of the narrow roads.  The speed limit may be 35, but I can picture some fool, late for work, blasting down the hwy at 45-50 with the sun in his eyes, and engaging his cellphone to explain why he'll be a few minutes late.  Even at the speed limit, many will try and squeeze by you.  Try it on an early Sunday morning; see how it goes.

If the morning sun will be behind you change the scenario to picking up his kids at childcare, etc

It's true - there is some amount of risk. There are a few different routes we can go, but any route has a few scary bits :-/   We'll definitely do a trial run on the weekend to see how it goes and try to map out the safest routes.

Though...it might be safer during rush hour...lots of traffic = lots of cars not going very fast.

phred

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2014, 01:00:39 PM »
Rush hour is the worst time: lots of frustrated drivers just waiting to blast ahead, drivers passing when not enough room, attention elsewhere (tasks at work, chatting with carpool, and so on), everyone in a hurry.  I ride on major roads, but never during rush hour

Weedy Acres

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2014, 05:42:07 PM »
How about an experiment to test the "holding up cars" hypothesis?  Ride your bikes one day and time how long cars have to slow down before they can veer out around you.

There are a couple stretches of 35-40 mph relatively-busy roads (main roads in a small town) that I ride on, where cars have to veer into the other lane to pass me, and it's not too common that they have to wait for cars coming the other way to pass before they veer out. 

TreeTired

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Re: Convincing SO to bike to work
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2014, 07:16:27 PM »
If you can't ride without blocking cars during rush hour,  I would emphatically say,  DON'T DO IT!

People get very tense on the way to work, and consistently blocking commuters invites road rage.  When I was in my 20s I rode my bike to work in Washington D.C.,  mostly down Connecticut Avenue.  On the way to work it was mostly down hill and I didn't hold people up because I was riding fast.  On the way home I rode  - and this is the way I always ride on a busy street  -  as far to the right as possible (watching out for doors opening from parked cars).   Whenever I ride on a busy street I don't take the entire lane that I am legally entitled to.   I ride as far to the right as possible, hugging or staying to the right of the white line.  I remain aware of cars behind me, and if I create a slow parade of more than 2 or 3 cars I will pull over and let people pass.

I have very rarely almost gotten into fights with stopped cars, but I hope I am never stupid enough to pick a fight with a moving car.   

And my reply to those pointing out that cyclists legally are entitled to the road and the entire lane,   I do not want my tombstone inscribed with,  "I had the right of way"
« Last Edit: February 19, 2014, 07:18:02 PM by NC_MJ »