Author Topic: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!  (Read 4507 times)

DTown

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That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« on: October 22, 2013, 01:24:10 PM »
About a year ago I lived close enough to work that I could ride 7mi down a bike trail to get to work. There were even showers to clean up after getting messy from the ride in. I commuted by bike one or two times per week. Unfortunately, my lease was ending and in order to find a cheap place to live I had to move further away (12mi of stoplights, ugh). A few weeks ago I've taken a new job and timed it just right so I could find new dwellings at the same time, and now I live 4.5mi from work! Perfect! Parts of the route are a little rough, but for the most part it's pretty easy. I've also lost my showers, but the ride is short enough that I can get cleaned up in the restroom. Our office is pretty casual anyways.

Even though I have a cheap-to-drive car ('99 Corolla), running the numbers says this will save me around $800/year. It also counts as training for all the crazy outdoor things I do. I'm officially a bicycle commuter!

I'll also join the monthly cycling challenge.

How much do you save by bike commuting instead of car commuting? Anyone else trying to get started as the weather is getting colder?

KatieSSS

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Re: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2013, 01:28:51 PM »
Way to commit! I am going to do the same in the spring, which is the amount of time it will take me to save for a decent bike ($300-400). I know, I know, I could get a cheaper one off of Craigslist or Ebay, but with all the bike stealing in DC I don't exactly trust I won't be buying an already-stolen bike. Plus, since I'm a beginner rider (except for when I was a kid), then I feel like I'll need a little help starting out.

Looking forward to joining you in the spring - good luck!

Tiamat

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Re: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2013, 10:57:14 PM »
Keep me inspired!  Yay!  I was doing good riding at least 3 days to work this Fall. Then I got sick. For 3 weeks!!  This is week 4. I'm not sick but just making sure I'm better. Next week I'd like to commit to 2 to 3 days rain or shine, heat or cold.

DTown

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Re: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2013, 09:50:55 AM »
It was very hard for me to keep up my motivation today. It was in the mid 30s, overcast and sleeting this morning. It's supposed to warm up a bit this afternoon, but still be wet. I don't really have all the gear I need to ride comfortably in this kind of weather, and I was really close to just driving - I had a side errand I needed to run anyway. Then I started thinking "HELL NO! You've committed to riding every day that is even remotely possible, now DO it!" So I did :)

It actually wasn't that bad. I really need to get some panniers that can fit a laptop so I can stop riding with a heavy backpack.

PindyStache

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Re: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2013, 02:29:42 PM »
I hear you DTown, I rode for almost a year with a backpack before relenting to fairly-Mustachian-purchasing of panniers. They are so much better... spare yourself and get them today--and then use them for the next decade+. Once you figure out the clothing situation you should pretty much be comfortable whenever. Just enjoy the wide open trails!

Nothlit

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Re: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2013, 03:17:43 PM »
I've been slowly getting into bicycle commuting as well over the last few weeks. So far, in a good week, I'll bike 3 out of 5 days. I'd like to get that up to 5 out of 5.

I've found that while I have been hesitant to spend money on this endeavor ("what if I don't end up sticking with it?"), there have been a few purchases that have made it that much easier for me to take the bike (and harder to find excuses not to take it). Those were: lights, rear rack, pannier/trunk bag, fenders, mirror, retro-reflective ankle straps, and a synthetic base layer. A couple more purchases (mostly visibility/safety related as it is going to be darker a lot more in the next few months), and I hope I'll be set for a good long while: high-visibility jacket with retro-reflective elements on front, back, sleeves, and cuffs (important for cars to be able to notice hand signals at night), and some retro-reflective tape to put in various places on the frame. I may also upgrade my lock, as the one I bought several years ago with the bike is kind of crappy. If I really stick with it through the depths of winter, I might buy studded tires depending on how well-plowed the local bike path is (I've never had reason to notice until now).

My commute is 6 miles one-way, so it depends on how you calculate the cost of driving, but if you assume the standard reimbursement rate of around $0.50 per mile, I'm saving $6 a day by bicycle commuting. If I biked every day, I'd save on the order of $1500 a year. I'll probably end up saving even more than that because I'm more likely to bring my lunch or eat in the less expensive cafeteria at work when I bike, vs. driving somewhere to buy lunch. (Facepunch for that weakness, I know.)

It's nice to know there are others out there just getting started, and also braving the fall/winter elements! :)

Tiamat

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Re: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2013, 10:05:11 AM »
*Sigh*  I'm about to leave for work. On my bicycle too.  The temp is in the 30's.  I am very low tech. My bike is  old and a beater; I don't wear special cycling clothes. I'm wearing the pants and shirt I will work in, and a hoodie over that, with a scarf and fingerless gloves.  That's not what bothers me though. What bothers me, is how exhausted I am at work at the end of the day and realizing I still have to cycle home. In the morning it's easy. At the end of the day I am SO tired, and the realization that I have to pedal home, which is more difficult because it is more uphill than the commute in.. And it's not just psychological. It's a harder ride home and I can feel that I have much less energy than I had in the morning. I am much more tired.   I try to commit to 2 or 3 days a week.  But that commute home is the hardest part.

Tiamat

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Re: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2013, 08:27:07 PM »
It was very hard for me to keep up my motivation today. It was in the mid 30s, overcast and sleeting this morning. It's supposed to warm up a bit this afternoon, but still be wet. I don't really have all the gear I need to ride comfortably in this kind of weather, and I was really close to just driving - I had a side errand I needed to run anyway. Then I started thinking "HELL NO! You've committed to riding every day that is even remotely possible, now DO it!" So I did :)

It actually wasn't that bad. I really need to get some panniers that can fit a laptop so I can stop riding with a heavy backpack.


Hey, kudos to you DT!

DTown

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Re: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2013, 01:43:18 PM »
@Tiamat, how long is your commute? My energy level seems to be about the same as when I drive, maybe a little more. However, I have a desk job. It's possible that the excessive tiredness you're experiencing is because you aren't eating enough. I have to eat an extra meal because of biking, and my commute is relatively short.

shiverbaby007

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Re: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2013, 08:02:23 PM »
" you can't ride tour bike to work, you'll freeze to death" that's why we all have thermals :) therefore
This quote works.
" people who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are already doing it"

Tiamat

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Re: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2013, 10:09:05 AM »
@Tiamat, how long is your commute? My energy level seems to be about the same as when I drive, maybe a little more. However, I have a desk job. It's possible that the excessive tiredness you're experiencing is because you aren't eating enough. I have to eat an extra meal because of biking, and my commute is relatively short.

Interesting idea. I'm overweight, so I'm guessing that eating more than I am now will not help. In fact, riding my bike doesn't seem to make me lose weight. It brings down my Blood Pressure and I feel great afterwards though, and of course, I save gas, so it's worth it..  I do NOT have a desk job. I have a very high energy job (working with high need children and then doing physical labor in the form of sweeping, mopping rooms and other general maintenance work before it's time to go home. I get off at 5:30. Usually around 4, I have to start pumping myself up to it so I'm not too unhappy to be getting on the bike and leaving at that hour. If I've driven my car, I'm exhausted too.  But when you are exhausted you don't mind getting in your car. When you know you have to start pedaling up some hills and you are exhausted it's a lot of psyching yourself up for the trip.  Sadly, my IPOD and MP3 players are no longer working for music on the road. They were a big help.

onFIRE

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Re: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2013, 08:48:30 PM »
I am gearing up for my first winter bike commuting too.  It's a short ride-10 to 15 minutes depending on how late I am ;-)  but I am on my feet for an 8 hour shift and don't get done until 8 PM.  In winter (in WI) that is going to be pretty harsh.  I just got a front light but need one for the back and maybe some better clothes.  Work pays me back $20 a month for bike gear if I bike regularly enough.  So far motivation hasn't been too hard but I'm interested to see how I fair when the snow starts flying.

NinetyFour

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Re: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2013, 06:37:33 AM »
I don't need any help staying motivated to commute to work by bike or on foot (it helps that I don't have a parking pass, and so would have to buy a day pass for $3 for a vehicle--no thanks). 

However, I am trying to work up the motivation to bike to and from the ice hockey rink (with hockey gear).  I just bought a BOB trailer and attached it to an old bike I have.  Problem #1, the rear brake is rubbing quite a bit against the rim, and I'm not sure how to adjust the brake.  Problem #2, I play hockey this Tuesday night--right when some nasty rain/snow is supposed to arrive.  Yuck.  On the bright side (pun intended), I bought some wicked lights and an very excited about using them.

http://www.cygolite.com/products/metro360.html

http://ecom1.planetbike.com/3070.html

Lina

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Re: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2013, 06:58:59 AM »
@Tiamat, how long is your commute? My energy level seems to be about the same as when I drive, maybe a little more. However, I have a desk job. It's possible that the excessive tiredness you're experiencing is because you aren't eating enough. I have to eat an extra meal because of biking, and my commute is relatively short.

Interesting idea. I'm overweight, so I'm guessing that eating more than I am now will not help. In fact, riding my bike doesn't seem to make me lose weight. It brings down my Blood Pressure and I feel great afterwards though, and of course, I save gas, so it's worth it..  I do NOT have a desk job. I have a very high energy job (working with high need children and then doing physical labor in the form of sweeping, mopping rooms and other general maintenance work before it's time to go home. I get off at 5:30. Usually around 4, I have to start pumping myself up to it so I'm not too unhappy to be getting on the bike and leaving at that hour. If I've driven my car, I'm exhausted too.  But when you are exhausted you don't mind getting in your car. When you know you have to start pedaling up some hills and you are exhausted it's a lot of psyching yourself up for the trip.  Sadly, my IPOD and MP3 players are no longer working for music on the road. They were a big help.

I think you are doing a great job. Keep bicycling and I can guarantee you that it is getting easier with time and you will have more energy. I have much more energy since I started exercising and lost weight. First I realized that my clothes where fitting much better even though I wasn't losing weight and after some adjustments to my meals I also started losing weight. Bananas are a great way to get some energy when energylevels are low.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2013, 01:54:10 PM by Lina »

scottydog

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Re: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2013, 11:09:08 AM »
One trick that helps for me when I have low energy is to just accept that I'll take it easy and ride a lower gear than usual.  It doesn't seem to make much difference in my overall time - granted, I'm not timing myself with a stopwatch - and it makes the ride more enjoyable and even fun.  There are a couple of very quiet streets where I'll sometimes play a bit and just enjoy the feeling of riding my bike.  Even if it's slow, I get to enjoy something that the car-commuters are all missing out on.

I also found that it was easier to deal with lower-energy days after I started riding every day.  Before that I would skip some days depending on the weather or how I was feeling.  Now when I get home after an especially tiring day I find myself thinking, "Damn I'm tired... and I just finished a half-hour bike ride on top of that! Awesome!"

Nudelkopf

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Re: That's it! I'm biking to work from now on!
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2013, 01:34:00 AM »
One trick that helps for me when I have low energy is to just accept that I'll take it easy and ride a lower gear than usual.
I do this too. If I'm tired, I'll ride on the footpath (which is allowed)(and there are never any pedestrians). It takes longer because I can't go as fast, and it's slightly less convenient, but it means I can concentrate a little less and ride a little slower.