BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: bicycles

I Have a Dream

The P.F. Chang’s Rock n’ Roll marathon was held today in Tempe/Phoenix, AZ, and as a result many of the streets were closed to automobile traffic to clear room for the estimated 37,000 runners and 5,000 volunteers. The race course traveled around the area in which I live, potentially rendering me house-bound for most of the morning…but only if I wanted to drive. I hopped on my aluminum steed at 9 am this morning to traverse the 5 miles to church, and had 4 lanes of road all to myself since the race had not made it that far just yet. The street I rode had been blockaded and even had motorcycle cops making sure no clueless drivers ended up on the wrong side of the orange cones. I stopped and chatted with two of the cops and they told me to help myself to the road, since the runners were 40 minutes behind me. I happily complied and enjoyed the dash down vacant streets on a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning.

When it was time for me to go back home, the race was still going in this part of town, but I was allowed to travel along the race course, inside the barricades, so long as I stayed out of the way. At this time, it was mostly the people who were walking that I encountered, but they only used 2 of the 3 lanes, leaving me plenty of room. One lane had been opened to auto traffic, but they weren’t really going anywhere. I thoroughly enjoyed riding past all of the cars as they impatiently waited for the 100 people in front of them to progress through the next traffic light, one car at a time.

And this got me thinking: first of all, I would love it if this situation would happen more often, with 3 of 4 lanes of road being designated for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. But what a dream that is! At the same time, I realized that is somewhat selfish in that people who legitimately need cars (handicapped, elderly…but it’s all grey territory) would be greatly inconvenienced by such a system.

But then I thought that this might be the kind of situation that is required to impact great transportation reform – and by that I do NOT mean “build more roads.” If people were forced (I tread VERY carefully here) into realizing how cycling (or even carpooling since 9 out of 10 cars I pass have A person in them) is a more efficient form of transportation, they might just be more willing to try it. But as long as our urban infrastructure and layout make it more convenient/easier to drive, I am sure people will be content doing just that, no matter how much gas might cost.

But I guess the major problem would be finding a mayor who would willingly close down 3 out of 4 lanes of traffic to let cyclists roam free. But then again, we all have to have dreams, right?

Kids and Christmas

Yesterday I was listening to a radio show and the host was Jilian, the trainer from Big Fat Loser. She was talking about a study she recently read that stated the best presents for kids this season would be fitness equipment such as dumbells and treadmills. She went on about how she disagrees with it and thinks that giving a kid dumbells for Christmas is not only cruel, but it will make them resentful towards fitness in general.

I do agree with her and I wish I could find the study she was talking about to read more about it. What sucks to me is the fact that bicycles are not being marketed enough as “this season’s hottest gift!” Usually it’s the Wii or a new laptop or anything technology related.

Here’s the deal, if you have kids and are dead set on getting a Wii, well first of all, good luck! Those things are harder to find than a Leprechaun. If you still can’t find the Wii by next week, consider going to your LBS. What kid wouldn’t want a brand new bicycle for Christmas? That has to be one of the best presents any kid could get! Sure the Wii or any tech gadget would be cool, but a bike can literally change a child’s life. You know all the health benefits as well as the confidence they get from riding a bike. But think about grooming the next generation of riders that will eventually be the people that will be leading our current bicycle companies.

Take for example gOrk Barette, He works for Seattle Bicycle Supply, the parent company of Redline Bicycles, Torker and La Pierre. Gork got into bikes as a kid. He raced BMX most of his life, and look at him now, he’s the Marketing Director for SBS. Talk about cultivating kids to take over!

So what’s my point? Well, it’s simple really: rather than getting something that is technology related as a present, get something that will be more rewarding than going to the next level of a video game….get your kid on a bicycle!

There’s not enough bicycling education available for kids

Either the parents of the kids at my daughter’s school are really dumb or these kids are simply don’t have a clue about the basics of riding a bike.

Number one basic is the use of helmets. Some kids straight out don’t wear them. Now that’s the kid’s fault but the responsibility of the parent to make sure they do. However, I also believe that the school needs to enforce it…after all it is a law.

Locking a bike seems to be optional at my daughter’s school. On any given day you’ll see nice mountain and BMX bikes not locked. If I really wanted to I could easily grab one and take it home.

Riding on the bike lane is another basic rule that kids don’t know about. I see a bunch of them riding on sidewalks and going the opposite direction.

Thinking back to when I was a kid, we had bike rodeos and usually a police officer would teach the kids the hand signals, rules of the road and the basics of bike riding. Either our government has taken money out of the schools systems which prevents teaching kids about bikes or their parents just don’t have a clue. At a certain point, as parents we can’t rely on the school systems to teach our kids about everything….heck they’re already learning about sex as part of “growth and development classes.” As parents, bike rider or not, if you are going to give your kid a bike, you need to learn about being a responsible bicyclist and you have the obligation to pass that on to your kids.

Could Bike Commuting Help You Get Promoted?

In my opinion, yes. Here’s a few reasons why. For starters when you ride your bike in or do any type of exercise, your body release all sorts of goodness into your brain to help you feel more at peace, invigorated and basically feel way better about yourself. This stuff is called endorphins and seratonin.

So with all that goodness being released into your body while riding your bike, think about the kind of attitude and productivity you’ll have once you sit down at your desk. I once had a job where I was hired on as a Marketing Associate. I then started commuting to work, 17 miles each way 2-3 times per week and then within a month, I was promoted to the Marketing Manager, and a month after that, Marketing Director.

Bike commuting helped me deal with my job in a different way. I remember when I would have to drive, I would already be tired as I pulled up to the parking lot and wasn’t as productive during the day. But if I rode, all the factors of the bike commute played into my better work habits. Not only did the cool air wake me up, but I was also getting a workout and I felt free. Bike commuting did quite a bit for my attitude and of course my health. I was just happier on the days that I rode.

When the CEO would see my bike in my office, he’d always make comments on how it takes dedication and drive and blah blah blah to ride a bike and because of that, I earned his respect and moved up the ladder.

There’s just something special about bike commuting that gets you noticed in a different light than butt kissing. Coworkers are always impressed that you would ride so far to work and that subject can be carried into meetings where other people discuss it as well as your job performance. Now bike commuting will not get you anywhere if your work is half assed. But I do know that bike commuting can help you become more productive and more alert with your duties at work and at home.

So if you want to move up the corporate ladder, try bike commuting.