Intro to Bike Commuting, Part I

Photo by Richard Masoner. Licensed under the Creative Commons.

Introduction

In 2011, I wrote about the out-of-control energy costs that are plaguing the United States, their impact, and put forward a pair of ideas about reducing the amount of oil we have to import. One of these ideas was once-a-week bike commuting. (The other was adopting, nationally, a four-day work week with 10-hour days.) As a long-time cyclist, and someone who has been working in bike shops since 1999, I am exposed to all manner of cyclists, including commuters. I’ve also used a bike to commute to jobs — some as close as 2 miles, some as distant as 25 miles. This piece is intended to help you get started, plus teach you things that you’d rather not discover the hard way.

The main reasons for commuting by bicycle are obvious — you’ll save money on gas and you’ll end up more healthy. In the grand scheme of things, you’ll be helping the national economy by reducing demand for oil, and you’ll be helping the whole planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If those aren’t reasons enough, think of it as a fun way to reduce stress and get in shape, and as a reason to buy a few cool toys.

So. You’ve decided to commute to work. Part Two will explain what you need to do to get going.

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