Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Can You Walk, Can You Ride?

Once you begin how can you stop: view from the bicyle commute, Tuesday evening, September 27, 2011

Something about forming a new, positive habit. Try something new. Example: ride your bike to work on Fridays. Dress down, take your time, relax, just one day a week. Hey that turns out to be pretty cool, maybe I'll try a couple more days a week, then why would I ever drive my car, pretty soon it sits for days and days undriven. Oh for more undriven cars. more undriven days. Oh for more adherents to the crazy radical thought that sometimes riding a bicycle is better. Sometimes. Oftentimes. Sometimes a car is useful. But there are alternatives and choices. Every commute every day is a choice. It may not seem like it but it is so. Choose to pedal yourself to work on 30 pounds of steel and aluminum. Or, chose to drive yourself in two tons of steel. It's a decision. Can you walk? Can you ride? It is so easy. Tell yourself. It is so easy. Start on a Friday. Do it again the next Friday. Once you begin how can you stop. Once you feel the spin of your legs, the cool morning air, the warmth of the sunshine and see life closer up, you can't stop. You're forming a new positive habit. One more undriven car. One more undriven day. Save the car for when you need it. Which will be less and less. Cars are useful. So is your heart. So is losing weight and toning your muscles and balancing your mind and controlling your stress. Try something new. Ride your bike to work. Start on an easy Friday. And then never stop.



  1. I can't think of a better way to phrase this, but I love how you make cycling (or any exercise) so accessible to people. It is encouraging for people who are not used to the sweat.

    Good post, John.

  2. Even better than starting on a Friday: start on a day which is neither boiling hot nor bitter cold. You can build on that fair weather base. It is why I'm now looking forward to what little ice faces us next winter in Texas - bragging rights over the sissy left coasters...

  3. limom on a plaque they should go.

    Big Clyde, thanks! It's meant also as a reminder to myself, of course, in case of faltering.

    Steve A, very true, any week now we should reach that goldilocks temperature range where any day is a good day to go for a long ride.

  4. Every morning this week, it seems the temp has stepped down one degree. I'm with Steve A: not long before riders in all the OTHER areas of the country are green with envy towards us Southwest riders.

  5. Sharing this one. Love it. America is the land of choices, and this is one I am really glad I made.

  6. BluesCat, looks like the heat is about to fall of the cliff this week. Crazy. Can't wait.

    veesee, thanks! When people are curious and ask me about bicycle commuting, this post is the direction I usually go.

  7. Brilliant - permission to share...?

  8. thx placid casual, yes permission to share!

  9. The challenge: If a car is available in the garage, it's too easy to rationalize it's use on any given day because it's too hot, too windy, too whatever. My solution was for us to become a one-car family. We have one nice vehicle that my wife has primary custody of. She likes driving more than I, but I'll gladly drive on weekends when it's necessary to haul the entire family and a week's worth groceries, diapers, and pet supplies. So far, it has worked well for us. Even if it's not for everyone, moving from one car per adult to one car per household has solidified my commitment to commuting via bicycling and public transit in a way that eluded me when a car was stabled in the garage and available to me at all times.

    1. David Bickford, one car for the household is also turning out to be a workable solution for us. I end up driving one time per week or less, on average, a weekend errand trip that involves hauling stuff, or many stops widely located across the valley, or family-hauling. One tradeoff is that as my mind becomes non-carcentric, which is a good thing, my driving becomes rusty, which is not so good during my one time of driving per week.


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