"Wherever I Go, There's my Bicycle!"
Encouraging Daily Bicycle Use for Recreation,
Commuting and Travel
would not dream of claiming the wisdom or experience to lead anyone along the
cycling path. What little knowledge I have gained has been through my own trial
and error, a few books, and the many wonderful resources here on the web.
Throughout the web of cyclists' sites it is impossible not to detect a common
thread - the freedom cyclists enjoy with their pedals underfoot. Humorous
stories, bashing of fossil fueled transport (some serious, some light-hearted),
and numerous revelations and tips regarding the cycling obsession are to be
found at each click of the mouse. If one weren't driven to maintain time in the
saddle, it would be easy to lose oneself in this world of cyclists' loves, rants
and raves. The miles lost on road or trail would be many. Fifteen minutes here
and there, however, allows us to pedal (or click) our way through the world with
images, stories and insights by the site full. Oh... to travel the web by cycle!
One of my favorite books is "Wherever You
Go There You Are," by Jon Kabat-Zinn... in expanding on this approach to
life my goal is to honestly be able to say, "wherever I go there's my
bicycle!" That I save approximately $25.00 a week on transportation
costs is just an added benefit and just one of many. Following are resources and links
exploring these benefits and to encourage others in daily bicycle use for recreation,
commuting and travel.
/ Using a Bicycle
for Everyday Transportation
- To put it very simply: a bicycle is one of the few
things we can purchase that quickly pays for itself. When used in place
of an automobile, the money saved increases with each mile ridden.
and maintenance expenses are far less (A couple of bowls
of cereal, a banana and a glass of
orange juice get my vehicle
started in the morning)
* There are no bicycle parking
* No vehicle registration, state
inspection, excise tax, license to
operate or insurance required
* Does not require as many
fluids and additives as an automobile
automotive requirements: gasoline or diesel
windshield wash, oil,
a.c. refrigerant, power steering fluid,
differential fluid or gear oil, chassis lube
lubricants, water for operator,
sometimes a little sweat
- The savings on gym membership fees if one chooses
cycling and their own home fitness routine are enormous (also see related health
How Solo Driving Runs Down the Economy
Stephen H. Burrington
"We have become a nation of car potatoes. Americans don't walk, bicycle,
ride trains or buses, or car pool as often as they did just a few years ago. We
drive more. Alone. Nearly everywhere. It is not just that there are more of us,
or more of us going to work - increased driving has far outpaced growth in
population and jobs."
"Throughout New England and the rest of the nation, a treacherous gap has
opened in recent years: a gap between our day-to-day perception that driving
costs almost nothing, and the reality of the enormous cost we actually pay to
drive"... read more
(the world around us, environmental benefits)
- The harmful effects of burning fossil fuels have been
drummed into us enough... this should be a "no-brainer." Bicycles
produce NO pollution and produce far less noise than most vehicles.
- As many as twenty bicycles can be parked in the space
taken by one auto... some S.U.V.s out there appear they could fit twenty
bicycles in the passenger compartment!
- The manufacture of a bicycle requires a small fraction
of the energy and materials as that of an automobile.
- The cardiovascular fitness achieved through cycling
should be sufficient to sell most of us on the benefits of cycling daily.
* Regular cyclists experience
fitness levels equal to or better than
those ten years younger.
* Cycling at least twenty miles
a week reduces your risk of heart
disease to less than half that of
non-cyclists who take no other
* If just one third of all short
car trips were made by bike, heart
disease rates could decline by as
much as ten percent.
II. Bicycle Transportation Basics:
Selecting a Bicycle and Essential
- The bicycle you now have* is probably the best bike to begin with. Should your bicycle have been
idle for an extended period, check it
over and lubricate it well... give it a quick tune-up
or bring it to a local shop.
Before jumping on the bike and using it for transport you should think about
other gear that is necessary.
After you discover (or rediscover) cycling's benefits, you may wish to
upgrade your existing bike, purchase a new one or find a quality used bike.
*If you do not currently own a bike, or you know the one you
have is not transportation worthy, you may want to check out the below links
on selecting a bicycle.
* Related Links:
Several items are necessary to making the bicycle safe for transportation:
1. A helmet
(not required by law in some
states, but I recommend it)
2. A tire patch kit (and/or spare tubes)
3. A bicycle mounted or easily carried air
(or CO2 tire
4. Functional lights and reflectors
traveling at dawn, dusk or after dark)
5. A water bottle and cage
Several items that I have found very useful, but not absolutely necessary:
1. A bike lock
2. Fitness and/or bicycle-specific
* bicycle shorts (I wear long underwear or spandex
under these when cold)
* wind & waterproof layers for foul weather
* breathable layers for all seasons
(one layer in warm season, more layers when cooler)
3. A backpack
4. A small, insulated lunch bag with ice
5. A cycle-computer
6. Fenders in rainy weather
7. A rear rack
8. Panniers, a rear rack trunk or bags
Some items I keep at work:
1. A bar of soap in a plastic case
2. Anti-perspirant, deodorant
3. A wash cloth and towel
4. A spare change of clothes (in addition
to my normal
5. Extra snack foods (fruit, nuts, granola
5. Emergency funds (in case I forget to
pack my wallet)
6. A spare tire tube and patch kit
7. A spare water bottle
Some tips you may find useful for commuting to work:
1. Make a trial run of your route on a day that you
actually have to work so you have an
idea how much
will need when you make the trip.
2. Add fifteen to twenty minutes to this
for unexpected emergencies (flat
tires, etc.), clean-up
and clothes-changing when you
arrive at work.
3. Check the weather forecast before you
4. If you work somewhere that does not
always have the
cleanest bathroom facilities (i.e.
restrooms, a garage, machine
etc.), keep a large
piece of cardboard
stored to stand on when changing
* Related Links:
III. Common Sense / Safety when cycling:
Cycling Dangerous? By Ken Kifer.
-A discussion of relative risks, and the truth about the "dangers"
of Bicycle use on streets and roads.
Vogue Wayne Pein's Traffic Safety Booklet. An
illustrated guide to road positioning, lane choice and "Defensive
Cycling" for those new to the streets. A good quick study
guide for younger cyclists, or a refresher for those just getting back into
These links cover the above topics and more:
V. Suggested Reading (books):
VI. More Resources /
Ramblings of a Cape Cod Cyclist
This Page Last Updated:
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Drew Bryden * Cape Cod Cyclists' Escape * 2004