Bike Commuting to Work
Today was a perfect morning to bike to work. Clear, cool and a sunrise worthy of a post card…or I guess in today’s era, a social media post.
I’ve been commuting to work for most of the past twenty years. Today we live in a quiet part of Eastern Ontario, but for most of the past twenty years my bike commuting has been in busy, urban centres. I have had years where Mother Nature allows me to bike all twelve months of the year while a typical year is like this past year, ten months of bike commuting days. So, what is so great about bike commuting? Two simple answers, it is fun, and it is an efficient way to increase my cardiovascular activity.
Fun is easy to support. Every ride is a different experience, and every ride puts me in a great frame of mind to start the day and end the day. In my years of commuting, I have seen all kinds of wild life, wonderful sunrises and interesting everyday occurrences. When I get home after a bike commute my wife’s first question is always, “how was the ride and what did you see?” These days I pass by a gaggle of tree bound wild turkeys who franticly call out as I go by. It always makes me smile.
Our company is an essential service, so through the pandemic, I have been working from the office. My vehicle commute is roughly 15 minutes one way, while my bike commute is about 30 minutes each way. This is where the efficiency comes in. I get about an hour of cardio exercise and it only takes 30 minutes of my day to achieve this. When we lived in Toronto, with the vehicle congestion, I would be able to bike home often as quickly as I could drive. I was essentially getting my exercise in and not having it take any extra time out of my day.
The pandemic has resulted in record bike sales. As people return to the office and have new bikes, I would encourage people to think about bike commuting. It takes a bit of planning and organizing but once you are set up, it is so simple to keep up with. I have always left clothes at work to change into. In my past life, this was suits and ties, my current role I leave behind more “business casual” attire. I have pannier bags for the back of my bike to carry larger items and wear a backpack for the lighter items.
Safety also has to be part of your consideration. Plan your route to be as free from traffic as possible. Google Maps has a feature that lets you plan your ride with bike lanes and paths as part of the route. I also make sure to have plenty of lights on my bike, both front and back. It is key to be seen and to illuminate the ride if the sun is not up.
Finally, make sure your bike is in good running order and have a plan in case you break down. In Toronto, we were fortunate to have a great Canadian company called Velofix that had vans equipped as mobile bike shops. I was on a first name basis with Mike from Velofix in those days! I’d get a repair or maintenance done right at the office. My commute is not as far these days, but I always make sure my bike is ready to go for the daily commute.If you are new to biking or a veteran rider and don’t commute to work right now, give it a try. You will get efficiency with your time and no doubt create wonderful experiences. Plan your route, your logistics, stay safe and have fun!