No More Excuses

Here are some responses to some classic excuses.

I'm out of shape.
If you choose an easy pace, you’ll find cycling no more strenuous than walking. Do a trial run on a weekend. You can ease your way into better shape and maintain it once you’ve become a regular bicycle commuter.

It takes too long.
The average bike commuter travels 10 m.p.h. in traffic. In urban areas cycling generally takes less time than driving for trips of three miles or less—and about the same time for three to five mile trips. On longer trips you might still save time if you combine exercise with commuting.

It’s too far.
If you live too far from work for a practical bike commute, consider cycling to the bus, train, or a coworker’s house and carpooling. Or, drive part of the way and bike the rest.

There’s no place to park.
With a little research, you can almost always find a bike parking solution:

  • Store your bike at work in a covered, secure place like a closet or storage room.
  • Existing bike parking in nearby buildings or garages.
  • If your employer doesn’t provide parking, make a formal request with other employees.
  • Park outside, but use two good locks. A U-lock and a 1/2” cable are best.

My bike is a clunker.
Fancy bikes attract thieves. As long as your clunker is mechanically sound and fits correctly, you have a commuter bike. If you can’t maintain it yourself, bring it to a good bike shop. Good maintenance is important when you rely on your bike to get you to work on time.

There’s no place to shower.
Most bike commuters don’t shower at work. Commuting is different than fitness cycling so it need not be a sweaty affair. If you like to ride hard and get a good workout but can’t find a shower where you work, try a nearby health club.

My job requires professional attire.
My job requires professional attire.
Some bike commuters ride in their business attire and still look good when they get to work. Others ride in casual or cycling clothing and change when they arrive. If you carry your work clothes, you can prevent wrinkles by rolling instead of folding in a backpack, pannier (bike bag), or a pannier-like garment bag. Or, you can keep several outfits at work, carrying clothes back and forth on days you don’t ride, or take your clothes to a cleaner near your office.

What if it rains?
It’s easiest to start as a fair weather bike commuter. A rain jacket and fenders can usually keep you dry. When you have some experience, you can experiment with different types of rain gear.

Traffic just isn’t safe.
It can be scary riding in traffic, especially for beginners. Safe Bicycling in Chicago contains fundamental bike safety information. Talk to other cyclists in your office about routes they take. Look for less crowded streets and consult the Chicagoland Bicycle Map for bicyclist-tested roads. Some towns have maps of bike routes. Minimize your risk by obeying traffic laws and riding visibly and predictably. Always, always, always wear a helmet, and wear visible clothing. For the Chicagoland Bicycle Map and safety information, call 312-42-PEDAL.

My friends will all laugh at me.
No, they won’t. If they do, they’re just jealous. Try getting them to bike to work with you. If that doesn’t work, ignore them and enjoy your new-found freedom