Aaronís Rosenthalís Bicycle Commuting FAQs

Aaron Rosenthal

What equipment (other than a bicycle and the desire) do you need to get started? This depends somewhat on the weather you choose to commute in. Commuters need storage capacity for what they need to bring such as clothes, paperwork, laptop etc.  If you can keep clothes at work then maybe a commuter only needs a shoulder commute bag. If more space is needed or if what you need to carry is heavier than what you want on your back then panniers are the way to go.  A good lighting system, both front and rear along with other reflectors if you want to commute in the dark.

For you, what are some of the benefits of bicycle commuting? For me personally, mental and physical healths are the two primary reasons I commute.  When I arrive at work in the morning on my bike, I have already done something significant for myself before the work day has even begun.   And I know I will do something significant for myself during my commute home.  This promotes my mental health by keeping my attitude positive throughout the work day.  Commuting also promotes my ability to “let-go” of the day’s work as I just don’t think about work as much, or I think of it differently.

How often do you commute? I commute nearly every day I can.  There are some days my schedule forces me to drive.  Weather can cause me to bail out, particularly snow or if it is raining in the morning before I leave.  On the infrequent days I can ride but don’t, my wife Janet is very good about calling me on the carpet and telling me I’m a wimp!!  I keep data on how much I ride and I find this motivating.  Since changing jobs 3 years ago, I have increased my number of commute days each year.

Does a specific incident or experience come to mind when you think of bicycle commuting? Not really.  I find I stay more present when I’m cycling.  If you were to pass me while I’m commuting, you will almost always see me with a smile on my face, regardless of weather. 

Do you have any special words of advice to pass along to others that might want to get started?
  • Pack what you need the night before: Clothes, lunch, etc.  This will help you feel prepared and save you time in the morning. 
  • Pick a route that is bike friendly and has reduced car traffic.  Design your commute to incorporate bike trails, bike lanes, and/or roads with sharrows on them.  Colorado Springs has some good cycling infrastructure…use it to your advantage. 
  • Buy quality cycling clothes and gear.  The investment on the front end pays big dividends when you need it the most. 
  • Set a goal for yourself as to how often you will commute.  Be realistic, but push yourself as well.  Define if you will or won’t commute in different weather circumstances (cold or hot), will you commute when it is dark etc. 
  • Use tires that are more puncture resistant and use tubes that have sealant.  I rarely get flats, and that is always a good thing.
  • Find the joy.  Soak in your environment throughout the commute.  What do you see that you would never see while driving your car to work?
  • Bike commuting isn’t about speed.  Commuting can provide an opportunity to take a more relaxed approach to life.
BFC Feb 2013 - Volume 6, Issue 2, April 2013

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