Although you may not be able to get in a fifty mile ride during the work week, that doesn’t mean you can’t ride fifty miles throughout the week. A great way to get in extra training miles is to start commuting by bike.
It can be very challenging to find a two hour block during the week to get out and ride, so instead think about a half hour before and after work. This is much more realistic for most people. Plus there are multiple benefits to using your bike for transportation.
Commuting by bicycle is a great way to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. You can use online carbon calculators to show your cost and carbon savings from commuting by bicycle.
Commuting by bike is a great fundraising tactic as well. This shows your commitment to the cause and your donors will acknowledge this. You could tell your donors,
“Not only am I riding 250 miles from San Francisco to Sacramento, in my attempt to reduce my impact on the climate, but this week I have kept 100 lbs. of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by commuting to work by bicycle. Will you support my efforts and contribute $100 to my fundraising campaign?”
In some places, commuting to work or school is as easy as leaving the car at home and getting on your bike. In other places, the route taken by car or bus is not safe for a bicycle. There are many resources to help figure out which route to take when traveling by bike. Check your local bicycle coalition or bike club for bicycle maps in your area.
Google Maps has a bicycle function that outlines bicycle paths and roads with bike lanes. Sometimes it takes a few attempts to find the best route but this is just part of the fun!
Riding in traffic requires extra attention to safety. It is very important that you remain visible and know the bicycle laws in your area. Many local bicycle coalitions and bike shops offer very informative, and often free, classes where you can learn how to make your commute safer.
Lights, reflective or high visibility clothing, mirrors, and predictable riding will all help keep you safe out on the road. Outfit yourself and your bike appropriately depending on the climate where you live.
In addition to saving you money, mitigating carbon pollution, increasing your fundraising capacity, and getting you in shape for the ride, your bicycle commute can be the best part of your day. It provides a nice transition between home and work or school life. Plus, it is just plain fun!
Patrick Colleran is Climate Ride’s Logistics and Rider Coordinator. In addition to Climate Ride, he is currently and perpetually training for his next big bike tour, mountain bike season, a double century and his local cyclocross series.