Bicycle Commuter Survey

I had an almost spiritual commute in to work yesterday. I pedaled real slow, and just took in all the summer scenery and smells. I stopped off at the park for a picture. I jumped off curbs. I gazed at the Sierras. I rode wheelies over morning sprinkler run-off. I watched the squirrels run at the brick wall. I said hello to people as I passed by. Why would anyone want to be stuck in a car on such a fine morning?

Bike to Work Week is a couple months behind us now. There was a big surge in bicycle commuting during BTWW, and then it faded. Obviously commuting by bike is not practical for everyone full time. Distances may be too long for everyday riding, or busy family schedules may discourage a car-free lifestyle.

Summer Bicycle Commute

Still, there are many people that could adapt to bicycle commuting quite easy. Each year, there are a few people that catch the bicycle commuting bug after participating in Bike to Work Week, and they make the lifestyle switch. I was one of these people a few years ago. There are many people though, that put their bikes away after the week is over and return to driving. With all the fun we had during that week, it’s surprising to me that some of the people that are able to bicycle commute quite easily, decided not to continue riding.

I’d like to hear from you. Did you become a bicycle commuter after Bike to Work Week? Share your story with us. If you returned to car commuting, why? What are the obstacles that are keeping you from bicycle commuting? Comment here or send me an email (see the contact page above).

15 thoughts on “Bicycle Commuter Survey

  1. What an excellent question. I got my first bike in April (well,first since I was 9) and started riding to work right before BTWW. Since then, I’d say I’ve caught the biycyle commuter bug–part time. Some days I just can’t bring myself to ride the short ride (5 min by car, 10 by bike). I’ve made it my goal to ride more days to work than I don’t. But what IS stopping me from riding every day? Laziness, if nothing else. Thank you for posing this question. I think I’ll ride my bike to work today.

  2. I made a commitment to ride as often as possible. I even went almost 2 weeks without driving. The major obstacle for me is the kids. I have 2 kids who can ride a short distance and they love their bikes. I try and plan any trips with them to be short. If there is a longer distance or some gear we need to bring it is back in the car. As they get older it will be more and more car free.

    PS I rode to work again today. Why not?

  3. I started riding to work during BTWW not knowing it was BTWW. Since then I’ve ridden the 16 mile round trip twice a week. The only reason (excuse) that I don’t ride more is the section of road on Arrowhead drive, E. of Goni rd. This really is the death ride in my opinion. Excellent place to spend some stimulus money on a wider road. It is still better than sitting in a car though. Maybe I can risk it again tomorrow.

  4. I have driven my car to work twice since BTWW. Once to carry some boxes to the Tour de Nez, the other to drive to a seminar in Reno. I’d say about 1/2 of my errands in town have been on the bicycle.
    I typically leave my house around 6:30 AM. What a great time to be on a bicycle!
    The temperature is great, virtually no traffic on the side streets, peds and cyclists wave, the flowers smell awesome…….what a great way to start a day!

  5. From what I’ve been reading, safety is the number one excuse people have for not riding. I live fairly close to the center of town where traffic speeds are 35 mph or less (posted speed limits…). I tend to feel pretty safe in traffic, since I can keep up with traffic during times of congestion…sometimes even passing cars.

    The further you go out though, the higher the speeds get, the greater the risks become for riding in traffic. Arrowhead, Goni, Fairview, etc…traffic speeds can get pretty high, and sometimes there is no room for bikes. Lots of big trucks too.

  6. I’ve ridden my bike to work more or less every day since April 2008. I would say in the last 6 months I have driven to work two or three times.

    I live next to Jeff and commute about the same distance on the same route as him.

    I’ve saved money, I’m in the best shape of my life and I’m one less car in traffic for the folks who like to drive. I’m one less car for the folks who like to bike too, so everyone wins but I take home the lions share of the reward.

  7. I do 20 miles round trip with a couple of miles of climbing at the end of the return trip. I do it as an FU to the oil and auto companies, and so I can drink way more beer than I’d otherwise be able to. Plus I’m cheap and don’t want to spend any money on bigger pants…

  8. I have been commuting by bike nearly every day since my employer finally gave me secure bike parking about a year ago. It is also much easier now that my daughter is in middle school and can get to the bus on her own. I live 1.6 miles from my office (in the same hood as Jeff and Jesse) so there is no reason to drive. Further incentive is the best parking spot in the place, right below the stairway in a closet. The only time I don’t ride is in the winter when there is ice on the road – don’t want to break a hip because once you break a hip it is death. . .

  9. I drive virtually every day. I want to ride, but I don’t. I have to leave the office 2 or 3 times of a week randomly to visit construction sites where big burly men make fun of my lycra.
    I also must ride 21 miles in one direction to work and at least the same back. This takes an hour if I really crank but typically more. No bus or train or commuter alternative exists between my house and my office. So, the choices are bike or car. Period.
    I have commuted a couple time this summer but the winter is a big no go due to serious cold weather and ice and snow plows. And bad drivers.
    I would love to have 5 miles or less to commute and hope to change that in the future. But for now, I am not a commuter.

  10. I either ride or walk about 1 1/2 mile on Hot Springs Road to work. It’s an easy and fairly safe ride because the continuous center turn lane allows lots of room for cars to safely pass me, but every other bike rider I see there – and there are quite a few – is on the sidewalk – because there are no bike lanes, even though we asked the City to put them in when they repaved the road last summer.
    Same on Arrowhead Drive by the way. There were supposed to be bike lanes on east Arrowhead Drive, but in the latest revision of the city’s bike plan the business owners out there showed up in force at public meetings demanding that bike lanes be removed from the plan map: They said: no one rides out here. It’s unsafe to ride because there are too many delivery trucks. bicyclists get in the way of trucks. They even said, we don’t want bicycles out here.
    The point is if you want a good city to bike commute in you have to show up at meetings and demand the kinds of simple street improvements that would makeit a good city to bike commute in – and even that doesn’t always work.

  11. Several times a week, year round. Tough with kids, distances. I read somewhere else they have a bike to work Friday every week instead of a bike to work week once a year. Might be worth a spin.

  12. Anne,

    Do you know the name of any of the businesses that were actively involved in protesting the bike lanes?

  13. Lucky me – I’ve always lived within 7-miles of work. About 15-years ago, I broke an ankle and needed therapy…and I needed to lose weight. I bought a Bianchi and have been rideing every day that is warmer than 37-degrees (my cut-off temp). I have spent waaaaay too much money on more bikes, but I’m sure it will pay off with health care savings in the future. That’s what I tell my wife. My daughter just learned how to ride last week. We rode together this weekend on our camping trip. Now I’m going to buy her a new bicycle too! I know it will also be money well spent.

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