Why Do You Bike Commute? Why Don’t You Bike Commute?

The pile at the door before work

We often get asked why we ride and we occasionally ask others why they do or don’t. Other than the usual (“it’s great exercise!”or “the weather sucks”), our insight into the matter has been lean. One thing I sort of remember from grad school (way back in 2007) is that sample size and makeup play heavily into the data returned by these adhoc surveys. To get better results, we’d need to reach beyond our little-ol’ personal network.

Luckily for us, superstar local bike blogger Kent Peterson has done just that. He invited his rather large readership to answer the why questions, going so far as dedicating a separate post for each.As of this count he has pretty good numbers: 47 comments in the “Why don‘t you bike commute” post and 60 in “do.” That ratio, massively in reverse of what you’d see in normal society, obviously reflects that his readership is a butt-load of bike commuters.

Accordingly some of his doers cover major distances and their stories serve up a hefty dose of inspiration. Heck, even a large number of his don’ts are actually people who want to ride but have pretty good reasons for not bike commuting. A torn calf muscle is a good excuse in my book. So is a being a service technician who needs a van full of equipment and parts while covering an entire metro area.

Digging deeper, I found a few of iffy excuses that we might be able to do something about. For example, Bill says he’s worried about the security of his bike at Whole Foods. Heck, Bill, I can totally relate to that. I’ve blogged about crappy bike parking facilities at least three times. Whole Foods, of all companies should do a better job with their bike parking. You should contact them and share your concerns.

And at least commenter “Wreck” is honest:

“I like to sleep. With a hour commute each way that means waking up around an hour or two earlier.”

My favorite wisdom thus far comes from commenter “The Scarlet Manuka” refuting a roommate’s fear that punctured tires and thrown chains will make them late for work.

“[That’s] Not often my experience – it’s usually a combination of laziness and optimism that get me to work late.”

So true. Riding helps me to arrive at work fresh, ready, and often late. For me, the idea of bike commuting is a relaxing way to start my morning. I don’t feel the same pressure to get out of the door as I do when driving. I take my time. And I think I’m more productive during the day because of it.

So, once again what I really want to know is, how about you? Why do you or don’t you commute by bike?

Feel free to post here, but please add to Kent’s Do and Don’t datasets, too. That way we can all learn something.


8 responses to “Why Do You Bike Commute? Why Don’t You Bike Commute?

  1. On the lateness issue:

    I’ve found that having to take a bus as part of my commute (stupid 520) helps quite a bit in making me ‘on time’ to work. Although my workplace doesn’t really care when I’m at my desk, it does help for keeping the rhythm.

    Now that the weather’s getting nicer, it looks like there’s going to be lots of rides across Mercer Island in my morning commute.

  2. I don’t, although I’d like to. I’ve been enjoying reading your blog!

    My reasons? Well, for one, I don’t have a bike and haven’t prioritized getting one since my last one fell apart. Mostly I am a stay at home mom to a three year old and one on the way and while I yearn for one of those bikes with the trailer setups, I find myself being afraid for our safety. I do know that’s silly, but my brother was in a biking accident a few years ago plus I come from a very bike-unfriendly town, so it’s hard to get over those prejudices. I am looking forward to when the kids are older and we can all go biking, but just find the idea of doing it right now with little ones plus hauling our crap around to be a really daunting prospect.

  3. I do commute everyday. It is mainly because finding parking in DT Portland is really hard. I have 2 spots but I give it to my assistant manager and my other team members. i only live 2 miles from my store so it was great. I started in August last year and my starting weight was 285. My BP was way out of control. Without any real dieting my weight is now 245ish and my BP is 100/80. I freaked out when the nurse told me my BP. i had her recheck it 5 times to make sure. I’m a big guy. I have been since high school football. I used to be a big time bike rider but then lost it when I moved to Portland from San Jose, Ca. Now that I’m close to work and really embrassing the DT lifestyle and green lifestyle, I ride everywhere. I purchased a xtracycle a few weeks ago partly due to this site. I love Anna’s bike. I put Albatros bars on when I saw yours. I have a brooks green special b17 that I got here in town. I am getting new pedals today and I hope to get some otherstuff soon. It has taken over my life. I’m looking to go to UBI the bike school in Ashland, OR. I want to build frames and be a bike mechanic. No more corporate life for me. Thanks for the great site. Keep up the good work.

  4. I normally commute. I fractured my wrist in August on my way home from work. Well, I wasn’t cleared to bicycle until October. You can’t believe what you lose. Then winter came and it was dark and I was afraid of breaking it again, because of crashing into something I couldn’t see. Then it started to get lighter so, I
    would bus in and bike home. Daylight savings time is just around the corner! Let’s face it.
    Driving is so joyless. I hate it.

  5. I have really enjoyed reading all of your remarks. I’m glad that I stumbled across your site. I’m really looking forward to the time when I can start riding my bike to work.

  6. I am your typical hyperactive college student/collegiate cyclist and I have found that bike commuting is the fastest way to get around in college, especially when your ccollege is spread around 4 campuses and 2 cities (go Rutgers-New Brunswick!). I also found that commuting is a great way to get in some recovery miles after a long weekend of racing. So in short, I do bike commute b/c

    It’s fast, It’s fun, and I get to show off my hairless legs in the summer 🙂

  7. On the lateness issue:

    I’ve found that having to take a bus as part of my commute (stupid 520) helps quite a bit in making me ‘on time’ to work. Although my workplace doesn’t really care when I’m at my desk, it does help for keeping the rhythm.

  8. My job is 43.5 miles from home Will take me 4hrs 32 minutes to get to work My start time at work is 6:30am I love to ride my bike to work just getting up at 1am I am not crazy about

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