If you HAD to ride your bike everyday…

I got to thinking a while back and asked my self this question, “If I had to ride my bike everyday, would I get tired of it?” Here’s why I got to this revelation. The other day I was on my way to a local home improvement store. As I was driving my car (yes I drove) I noticed about a dozen real bike commuters. You know who I’m talking about, the day laborers that are looking for work. These guys had their Wally World bikes locked up to a tree, no helmets and had a back pack full of food for the day.

As I was leaving I noticed the conditions of their bikes. Some had flats, others didn’t even have brakes and yet quite a few of them were spray painted a different color to hide its original look.

Anyhow, my point is, when you and I bike commute, we try to get the best “commuting” clothing and gear. Heck they even have “commuter bikes” that people can buy to make their ride to work more pleasant. But with all of those things we think we need just to ride our bikes, doesn’t that make us a bit trendy? I mean think about it, the guys at the Home Depot had the basic necessities, bike, back pack and their hats.

But I’ve been guilty of making sure I have Slime tubes, wearing wicking clothing, SPD pedals and shoes as well as an expensive light set. Perhaps my thoughts made me feel guilty because I was indulging in bicycle gear while the day laborer was stuck making a few bucks a day and riding his beat up bike every where he needed to go.

Think about it, there’s a smaller amount of bike commuters that HAVE to ride their bikes than there are that decide that morning if they should ride to work or not. Most families have cars, at least one. But those guys don’t have the luxury of having a air conditioned car to drive around in.

I heard from a friend of mine that his father, who is Chinese and rode bikes everywhere he went in China, didn’t understand his son’s obsession with cycling. My buddy was born and raised in America. His father’s point of view, “I rode bikes all my life, the moment I got to America and had the opportunity to buy a car, I never got on another bicycle in my life!”

So here’s where it comes to. If you HAD to ride your bike every day because it was your main source of transportation, would you get tired of it? Just think of it as having your favorite meal….everyday for the rest of your life….

8 Comments

  1. HenryH March 21, 2007 9:29 am 

    I think you hit a good point. I have been thinking that a lot of immigrants who can afford a car, do NOT want to commute by bike even if their bicycle commuting situation is ideal. I could be wrong on this, but there seem to be a perception that commuting by bicycle is a sign of being poor (at least in the immigrant community). How do we change this?

    On another note, I feel guilty too whenever I see someone commuting on a bike that is poorly maintained. Maybe we can put together an event to help/teach these people how to fix flats, and making minor fixes to get their bikes going. I’ll volunteer to help (not head up) this event.

  2. RL Policar March 21, 2007 9:33 am 

    Henry, you got yourself a deal! I’ll even head up the event as long as we get some sort of support from KHS! We can get other vendors, LBS’s involved too!

  3. Moe March 21, 2007 10:05 am 

    Not to bust your bubble guys… Usually Immigrants shy away from this type of events. Why? Because they think that ‘La Migra’ is there to bust them and deport them. I was actually thinking of creating something like a flyer in spanish to give it to the ‘vatos’ that ride letting them know the rules of the road, facts about how much money they are saving by riding their bikes and safety tips.

  4. Nick March 21, 2007 12:26 pm 

    I think that anyone forced to use a bike for transportation because of their economic situation is going to resent it, not because they dislike cycling, but because most people prefer to have a choice.

    That being said, there are plenty of non-immigrants above poverty level that choose to use a bike for primary transportation, and not all of us feel the need to gear up with expensive equipment. That category obviously enjoys cycling, because they choose to use it as their primary mode of transportation.

    I think what it comes down to is that being poor sucks.

  5. HenryH March 22, 2007 10:14 am 

    Moe,
    Thanks for bursting our bubble, because it would be sad to put together an event only to have very minimal impact. In addition, I think there will be plenty of such events during Bike-To-Work week.
    On another note, if you could create the flyer, I’ll print some to carry with me on my rides. Just promise you won’t put “attack the gringo on the flyer”, lol.

  6. Val March 22, 2007 10:23 am 

    I DO ride my bike every day, except on days when I stay home, and then I tend to look for excuses to run an errand so I can. I guess I don’t have to, as I do own a motor vehicle, but I used to HAVE to drive it every day, and I truly hated that. A bit strange, as I really love my truck (I learned to drive in it over 30 years ago), but I hate to be forced to use it. It’s there if I need it, but being on the bike (any bike, really) makes me feel good. I like doing things under my own power. I’ll be riding as long as I’m still moving.

  7. Sirrus Rider March 24, 2007 11:34 am 

    During the spring and summer I try to Cyclocommute as often as possible; however, I must admit. It makes for hard living I’m 17 miles one way from work. On an ordinary day and assuming I’m coming straight home that is 34 miles round trip. Then once I get home I have to shower, repack my panniers, charge my lights, and every third ride clean and re-lube the chain. A process that takes three hours out of a five hour night (assuming I want a minimum of 6 hours of sleep before staring all over again) that also doesn’t include making dinner or taking care of household business. I have weaseled on a few mornings when I started thinking about the distances involved. If I run late or stop anywhere I can just about forget about riding the next day. I won’t be waking up in time.

  8. RL Policar March 25, 2007 4:19 pm 

    Sirrus,

    I used to have the same commute, mileage wise. It would take me about an hour and ten minutes to get to and from. By the time I got home, the kids were getting ready for bed!

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