I am a 45 year old guy who always wished he worked close enough to home to ride his bike to work. Well, neither my work nor my home status changed ... I just decided I would ride to my workplace one weekend to see how long it would take.
Motivated by an extra 30 pounds of fat on my body and no time to workout, I discovered that it was just over an hour (now less than an hour). At first, I thought that two hours of travel by bike compared to an hour to an hour and a half (depending on traffic) by car was more time than I had to spare. Not to mention that I had to stop a few times to get up some of the hills along the way.
I decided that I would give it a shot, anyway. When I got to work, I realized I needed to find somewhere to park my bike. It wasn’t a very expensive bike at all, but still didn’t want it to get stolen. Working on the “better to ask forgiveness than for permission” philosophy, I found an out-of-the-way place inside. To my pleasant surprise, nobody said anything about me parking my bike in the office. Instead, they were amazed that I rode all the way to work (about 22 km).
It didn’t take long for the pounds to start falling off and for me to be able to cycle up the hills without stopping. Instead of getting home frustrated by traffic, I am now getting home rejuvenated from the exercise, and stress-free as I have time to think about stuff. My eating habits haven’t changed (not for the better, anyway), but my body looks and feels better than ever. My commute is very predictable ... if I need to shorten the time, I pedal faster (still without risk of a speeding ticket!). If I’m not in a hurry, I often stop to take photos along the scenic route that I like to take.
About a year after I started riding, the lease came up on our second vehicle. I found myself rarely wanting to drive anywhere, so we took the vehicle back and we are saving on the gas, car payments, and insurance... about $750 a month. Not to mention that I don’t have to pay for a fitness club.
Many of my friends and co-workers were pretty convinced that I would return to driving once the weather turned to rain. I actually find it enjoyable to cycle in the rain. With fairly inexpensive rain gear, I am kept warm and dry. When it rains, traffic is heavier and I often get to work faster than colleagues who drive a similar route.
The first winter I rode, there were a couple weeks in total that I wasn’t able to ride because of snow. That motivated me to research the availability of snow tires for bicycles. They not only exist, but they work very well. Last year, for the first time I was able to pass cars going uphill! While they spun their tires, my studded snow tires provided incredible grip. Cycling has now extended into my vacation plans.
This past summer, one of my daughters and I went on a cycling trip from Port Coquitlam to Denman Island. It was a very enjoyable trip and a great time to bond with my daughter. It is a rare occasion that I am in a car, now. I never planned it that way, but like many cyclist, once I got started I was addicted!