Bike in the Cube

One Year Two Wheels; commuting by bicycle for one year

I did it – one year commuting by bicycle. I made it one year without driving once. I did this for three reasons.

  • To prove that one can live without driving (especially in a small town)
  • I’ve wanted to be a full-time bicycle commuter for some time
  • My license was suspended for a year

Dear reader, I did want to do this without being made to do it, but in all honesty, I am glad that I was forbidden, by law, to drive. If I could have, I would have driven to the store when I had a lot to buy (dog food and groceries) or it was raining. I would have driven to work when it was raining, snowing or a balmy -20 degrees. I would have loaded up the car to take the recyclables to the recycling center. But I didn’t do any of that by car because I couldn’t. Instead, I learned how to survive on a bike for an entire year and get everything done that I needed to. And now that the year is over, I am still riding my bike. I enjoy cycling and I feel better riding than driving.

Groceries on the bike

Spoils from the grocery store commute

I drove in town the other day and noticed how uptight it makes me. It get in more of a hurry and bad drivers, stop signs and pretty much anything that slows me down pisses me off.

I feel better cycling. I wave at people, notice my surroundings and am generally more alert to what’s happening on the road.

My workplace is only 2.02 miles from my house. Driving such a short distance is pretty pathetic. It effects the environment, my pocketbook and my mood. Cycling to work ensures I am awake and feeling great when I get in.

I timed myself on that drive into work. I saved three minutes by car. Not worth the trouble.

My small town is around six miles long. Most people never drive from one end of town to the other, although that would only be a six mile ride. My point is, everyone should be riding. If you are thinking of starting and aren’t one that wants to dive in whole hog right away, perhaps riding one or two days a week to work would be a great start. That will help you figure out what you need to do to commute by bike.

Emporia Bike Lanes

I want to write more about bicycle commuting and how to do it. I don’t feel like I’ve done anything extreme by cycling everywhere. And looking at how it affected my mood, health, pocketbook and the environment brings me to the realization that if more people commuted by bike, this would be a kinder, friendlier and less polluted world to live in.

But now it is the month of the Dirty Kanza 200 – Christmastime in Emporia, Kansas. It’s time for gravel grinding discussions. Commuting will come after the race. But if you do have any questions about commuting by bike please email me and I will do what I can to help!

Feed Your Monkey!
Eric

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Eric BenjaminOne Year Two Wheels; commuting by bicycle for one year

Comments 3

  1. Fonk

    Congrats, man! One thing I’m looking forward to when we move back to the city (Mpls) is being able to do a lot more by bike or on foot. My office downtown is only a couple miles away, and the one-way roads I’ll take in either direction have had an entire traffic lane converted to bike lanes, making it much more appealing. Coffee shops, restaurants, parks, lakes, etc. are all in easy walking of cycling distance from our house. I think I could honestly leave the car in the garage pretty much all week! And even if the weather sucks and I’m feeling too wussy to ride, there’s an express bus stop only two blocks from my house, so I have an easy straight shot downtown without having to drive. The only thing I think we’ll need the car for is when we go get groceries (as the family load gets rather large), but I’m hoping next year to build up a Big Dummy to start taking care of those types of errands, too.

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      Eric Benjamin

      I’d love to have a Big Dummy for the bigger hauls, but I do use a Bob Trailer for larger hauls now. I have a friend in the Minneapolis area and you can ride the river trail from his house in the burbs to where he works (QBP). That’s sweet. You should work there! Good luck with the move. I’ll be following along on the interwebs.

      1. Fonk

        Jason? Yeah, I definitely plan on hooking up with him for some rides and shooting once I’m back there. I finally met him person when I was back there about a year-and-a-half ago. Hey, working for a bike company doesn’t sound half bad… :)

        -R

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