Author Topic: Finally biked to work!  (Read 6712 times)

wild wendella

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Finally biked to work!
« on: May 07, 2014, 09:26:30 AM »
Twice so far.  I'm aiming for once a week, which may seem pretty lame to those who are already doing it.  Maybe I can bump that up to twice a week.

I only live 3 miles away from work, but the roads and traffic is horrible, and I was terrified to risk my life.  I'm happy to report that it hasn't been as bad as I feared.   I found routes that are about 4.5 miles long, and put me on roads with heavier traffic only 30% of the time.  The worst issue I have is a headache and sore lungs from the fumes (I have chemical sensitivies).  I plan to try wearing a mask next time on the fumier roads. 

I only got on the sidewalk a few brief times, where there was simply no safe way to stay on the road (no bike lanes in town, no shoulder whatsoever, tons of potholes...).  One of the times I took to the sidewalk I just walked the block until I could get back to biking on the road.

Everything everyone has said is correct - you just have to give it a try.  The perceived excuses are not insurmountable.  I think I was finally pushed into action after watching James Cameron's 'Years of Living Dangerously'. 

I feel like this could be the beginning of a great habit!

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2014, 10:14:46 AM »
Twice so far.  I'm aiming for once a week, which may seem pretty lame to those who are already doing it.  Maybe I can bump that up to twice a week.

Very good job. Everyone has to start somewhere.

Good luck with the mask, I hope that helps. That's something that deters me from making the 19 mile ride to my work. The entire route would be with heavy traffic the entire way.

Sonorous Epithet

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2014, 10:40:01 AM »
Congratulations! Have you looked into alternate routes, even if they are longer? It takes some practice to retrain your brain to not look for the fastest, easiest route like you do in a car, but the quietest, safest route.

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2014, 02:28:17 PM »
Way to go!  It only gets easier the more you do it.  I actually compare biking to public speaking in that way.  Every time you do it and nothing disastrous happens you gain a bit more confidence.

The fumes are a bummer though.  I'm sure you've done this, but I definitely go a bit out of my way to avoid heavier traffic on my commute.  I vary this depending on the weather.  If it's nice outside, I take a much longer and less car filled route.  If it's raining or freezing then I take the direct route and huff fumes.

DougStache

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2014, 02:29:08 PM »
Congratulations! Have you looked into alternate routes, even if they are longer? It takes some practice to retrain your brain to not look for the fastest, easiest route like you do in a car, but the quietest, safest route.
This.  My quickest route to work is 5 miles, but my actual ride is 9.  I much prefer the route that is predominantly bike trail, to one where I'd be honked at as I block the one lane of traffic.

The more you bike in, the more tricks you will learn to make your route safer.  For example, I have a small college campus I can cut through (roads not shown on google maps) which eliminated the most dangerous part of my ride in.  Also, you may find that you have many parallel streets to choose from, and the amount of traffic on each may vary wildly, especially if they have different speed limits.

Also, nice work!  The first ride is the hardest.

wild wendella

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2014, 08:25:12 PM »
Well, I think I've found the best possible way into and out of work, but I'll definitely be on the lookout for other options.  It's definitely a circuitous route that adds about 50% distance to the shorter distance of traveling by car.   Thanks! 

BikerSaver

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2014, 08:36:52 PM »
Congratulations!
Once or twice a week is great.  I work from home now, but when I worked in an office I biked to work 4-5 days a week in spring, summer and fall.  I did drive in winter.  I loved biking.  The ride home was always so relaxing and by the time I got home, all of the work stress was forgotten.

lady brett ashley

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2014, 08:29:44 AM »
Congrats!  I've only biked to work 4 times so far (last week and this), but i've already found it to be sort of self-perpetuating.  I drove today, and i found myself being kind of resentful about it, because it's so much less pleasant than the ride.  Also, the ride is already getting easier.  Not by a drastic amount, but i can tell the difference, which is pretty cool in such a short time.

Good luck dealing with the traffic and fumes!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2014, 11:59:54 AM »
Car fumes don't bother me much, but I didn't even notice them at all until I switched to biking. I don't think I could get enough air through a mask, personally. Even balaclavas make me feel like I'm going to suffocate.

I take a super indirect route to work to hit trails instead of pot-holed streets and bad neighborhoods.

matimeo

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2014, 07:49:31 AM »
I guess I should consider myself fortunate that I live in a relatively bike friendly area and have either a bike path or bike lane most of my ride. I've bike commuted almost full time on and off over the last few years, although I did it full time in college. My ride is 5 miles each way. My biggest obstacle had been knees that go out of line, in spite of a well adjusted bicycle. I've had to be very persistent and finally found a physical therapist who fits bikes. I've been doing exercises to strengthen my legs, and thankful I've been able to make the commute for the last several months. Just hoping the knees hang in there. Stick with it, it's totally worth it. I feel awesome when I ride.

PeteD01

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2014, 09:53:33 AM »
I guess I should consider myself fortunate that I live in a relatively bike friendly area and have either a bike path or bike lane most of my ride. I've bike commuted almost full time on and off over the last few years, although I did it full time in college. My ride is 5 miles each way. My biggest obstacle had been knees that go out of line, in spite of a well adjusted bicycle. I've had to be very persistent and finally found a physical therapist who fits bikes. I've been doing exercises to strengthen my legs, and thankful I've been able to make the commute for the last several months. Just hoping the knees hang in there. Stick with it, it's totally worth it. I feel awesome when I ride.

A common cause for knee problems is riding in too high a gear. Make sure that you get your cadence above seventy. If you have been grinding high gears for a long time, it will at first feel strange. But a higher cadence is much more efficient and for most somewhere between 80 and 90 is most efficient.

matimeo

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2014, 01:13:15 PM »
A common cause for knee problems is riding in too high a gear. Make sure that you get your cadence above seventy. If you have been grinding high gears for a long time, it will at first feel strange. But a higher cadence is much more efficient and for most somewhere between 80 and 90 is most efficient.

Yes, I have found this to be true.  I have to resist the urge to pound the pedals and really focus on spinning and being in the right gear.  I wish it was like the younger glory days when I could do whatever without consequence, but I guess my knees are catching up.  I've also had misalignment issues that are mostly corrected now (I hope).  It has been extremely frustrating but I'm committed to working it out and staying on the bike.

Nancy

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2014, 01:40:46 PM »
Congratulations! I felt the same way when I first started biking: I thought it was going to be scarier than it actually is. Join the monthly cycling challenges if you like tracking your miles. Keep up cycling and have fun!

ijingle

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2014, 04:21:49 PM »
I started biking to work a few times a week for the past 2 weeks. I'm enjoying it quite a bit and plan to keep it up. It's such a joyous and invigorating way to start what would otherwise be a dull work day.

Now, I'm already launching phase 2: Biking for longer errands that I never before imagined doing on a bike. Today I biked to Target and Sports Authority to shop for a bike helmet. I was so smug as I strolled into Target and floated above all the car people with my legs still buzzing from the ride. This mustachian exercise in badassity was partly inspired by this post: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/06/24/mustache-on-the-move-am-i-really-the-most-badass-person-in-my-whole-town/

wild wendella

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2014, 12:35:59 PM »
Today I rode in for the 4th time this month.  Woo-hoo!  It even may rain this evening, but I chanced it.  My new goal is twice a week.  It does get easier every time.  I recently found a cut-through in a synagogue parking lot (not on google maps) that keeps me off the main road for a little longer.  I did have a car pass REALLY close to me the other day.  Next purchase will need to be a helmet rear view mirror.

Good advice above about downshifting to prevent knee injury.  Thanks for that!

I've immediately become an anti-aggressive driving zealot, and find myself wishing gas prices would quadruple so we could get all these jackasses off the road.  (of course, since my furnace is oil heat, that would really suck, but...)

ijingle: I concur that it is an invigorating way to start (and end) the work day.

enigmaT120

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2014, 12:18:36 PM »
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/06/24/mustache-on-the-move-am-i-really-the-most-badass-person-in-my-whole-town/

I love his bicycling posts. 

There are lots of bicyclists (and horse riders and pedestrians) in my town, but as far as I know I'm the only one who rides to or from the nearest other towns, at 9 and 14 miles away. 
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 12:20:18 PM by enigmaT120 »

avonlea

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2014, 02:51:47 PM »
Woo-hoo indeed!  You are doing great, wild wendella.

captainawesome

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2014, 05:16:22 PM »
Congrats on starting your biking journey!  I was so inspired by people on here that I up and got a bike in the middle of winter, and started riding everyday.  Probably a lot easier to start this time of year and really make it a habit.  Soon you will really be looking for reasons to ride the bike around, as opposed to opting for the car.

JT

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2014, 01:54:27 AM »
Congratulations WW!

I started exactly like you.  Once a week, then twice a week, and then my fitness improved and I WANTED to do more exercise, so before you knew it the commute was happening five times per week.

Take care on the footpaths, my experience is you have to watch out for cars coming out of their drives!

FunkyStickman

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2014, 06:45:06 AM »
Good job! You're learning what a lot of us have discovered years ago. Keep at it, it does get easier!

I, too, had my eyes opened to bad driving behavior once I started cycling. It's appalling.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2014, 11:54:58 AM »
A common cause for knee problems is riding in too high a gear. Make sure that you get your cadence above seventy. If you have been grinding high gears for a long time, it will at first feel strange. But a higher cadence is much more efficient and for most somewhere between 80 and 90 is most efficient.
I've been wondering the same thing.  80-90 seems really fast for me (I find I'm usually around 60), but maybe I'll take it down a notch.

PeteD01

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2014, 12:34:29 PM »
A common cause for knee problems is riding in too high a gear. Make sure that you get your cadence above seventy. If you have been grinding high gears for a long time, it will at first feel strange. But a higher cadence is much more efficient and for most somewhere between 80 and 90 is most efficient.
I've been wondering the same thing.  80-90 seems really fast for me (I find I'm usually around 60), but maybe I'll take it down a notch.

80-90 is not going to feel right in the beginning. Keeping it solidly in the 70s at first is a reasonable initial goal. After a while you can take it a little higher. Eventually, once your aerobic conditioning has improved, you'll most likely settle somewhere in the 80s. There is going to be a sweet spot for you somewhere but you need to actively pursue the issue - not obsess about it,  just be conscious of it.

Hedge_87

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2014, 01:56:05 PM »
First of I just want to say good job on starting to bike to work. I'm new too. Last week was my first full week of bike commuting. I've had to do a few changes in my route as well. My biggest problem was trying to find the roads that where smooth. our town has lots of old brick roads that are pretty rough to ride on. I've found a way where I can add only 4 block lengths distance and actually get to work faster because of 2 less stop signs. Of course thats the quick way ;) friday I added an extra 2 miles to swing out through the park on my way home just to relax before the holiday weekend lol.

William

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2014, 05:34:07 PM »
When I decided to start biking to work I just said to a colleague, "If I'm here, it means I biked here".  Kept me accountable.  The excuses are many.  But so are the drawbacks from not biking.

Congrats on beginning!

wild wendella

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2014, 12:41:06 PM »
Finally biked to the store!  It was a lovely day Sunday, and my husband suggested I bike to the store to pick up some things we needed for a dinner, while he watched the pipsqueak.  I did not attach the bike trailer, which seemed like it would be excessive and bulky, but just brought my huge backbacking pack and filled it to the brim.  I was totally surprised that it worked, and I didn't need to call my husband to pick up the groceries!  I was able to carry:

- half a gallon of milk
- 8 ears of corn
- mini watermellon
- two tubs of hummus
- 12 eggs
- 6 kiwis
- mayo/relish
- bag of chips
- blueberries/tomatoes
- misc other things. 

This pack was seriously heavy, but it was honestly not an issue biking with it.  Totally shocked that this works.  HAHAHAHA!  4.4 miles round trip.  no biggie.

okashira

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Re: Finally biked to work!
« Reply #25 on: July 08, 2014, 12:58:04 PM »
Finally biked to the store!  It was a lovely day Sunday, and my husband suggested I bike to the store to pick up some things we needed for a dinner, while he watched the pipsqueak.  I did not attach the bike trailer, which seemed like it would be excessive and bulky, but just brought my huge backbacking pack and filled it to the brim.  I was totally surprised that it worked, and I didn't need to call my husband to pick up the groceries!  I was able to carry:

- half a gallon of milk
- 8 ears of corn
- mini watermellon
- two tubs of hummus
- 12 eggs
- 6 kiwis
- mayo/relish
- bag of chips
- blueberries/tomatoes
- misc other things. 

This pack was seriously heavy, but it was honestly not an issue biking with it.  Totally shocked that this works.  HAHAHAHA!  4.4 miles round trip.  no biggie.

Awesome!