I’m tired of the astonishment, the surprise, even the awe. I’m tired of feeling like the worst sort of broken record, “yes, it really is enjoyable, no it’s not too cold, yes I can ride on snow/ice/wet pavement because I have studded tires”. I’m tired of it because ANYONE CAN RIDE A BICYCLE, even in the winter (the only exception being physical disability, but I think that’s assumed).
I’ve read countless articles that try to convince people that bicycle commuting isn’t really so crazy after all, but this latest find might be one of my favorites. It’s simple, personal, to the point. However, it is written by someone bicycling in Central Illinois, which doesn’t quite have the same traffic and weather as the Twin Cities. Consequently a couple of the author’s points need a bit of expanding…
1. It’s too expensive to buy a bike.
I’m glad this one is first because to me it’s the easiest to debunk. A bike? Expensive? What about a freaking car? While it is possible to spend upwards of $1000 on a bike, I got my wonderful used Bridgestone for a mere $200, with probably a total of $100 in parts switching to get it to its present state. $300 is like, 1/50th of a decent new car (I think, not being a car owner I really have no accurate concept of car purchasing). Take someone with you who knows what they’re looking at and you’re looking for, and you’ll find the perfect used bike in no time.
2. There’s too much traffic.
This one takes a while to get used to for certain, but after you can internalize the ‘I have just as much right to the road as any other form of transportation does, even in heavy traffic’, you’ll feel like a badass in no time. Be careful, and ride defensively, but know you own the road too.
6. I will inhale more pollutants from cars riding my bike to work.
In addition to the author’s point that drivers actually inhale more pollutants anyway (I would really like the link to this study, because 2-4 times more seems like a bit much), the health benefits of bicycling outweigh the detriments from inhaling pollutants NINE TIMES OVER. It’s still abysmal to get caught behind a particularly noxious truck though.
and my personal favorite:
10. It’s raining, I can’t ride today.
Get some fenders, get a raincoat, and get out there. Pack your work clothes in your waterproof bag and change upon arrival. As to the snow and below zero temperatures, which is the real potential challenge and snafu for so many (unless you’re in Portland, where biking in the rain makes you hardcore), cover your skin. Pick up a pair of goggles- this year is the first I’ve ridden with them and it’s amazing how much they increase my overall body temperature- and some long underwear and a wool base layer.
So hopefully everyone has realized that YOU CAN DO IT TOO. To all the unbelievers, those who are astounded by my carless existence, I might print out this blog entry and just hand it to you next time you express surprise at my commuting my bicycle. And I just might make messenger bag patches of the title too 🙂