Commuting To Work By Bike: As Many Different Ways To Do It As There Are People

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 29

The New York Times, and the Atlantic have two awesome stories of bike commuting.

Having sheathed his legs in NASA-worthy Capo bib shorts — woven from high-tech fibers that compress leg muscles to minimize fatigue — he pulled on a pair of winter cycling tights lined with fleece from the waist to the thighs. Next came over-the-calf Smartwool ski socks under Sidi Genius 5.5 shoes strategically packed with chemical toe warmers. To shield his torso, he wore a wool base layer under an Italian long-sleeve racing jersey, and a windproof vest reinforced in front to block freezing gusts and meshed in the back to vent excess heat. On his head, an Assos Fuguhelm racing cap with vents on top to minimize sweating, and a pair of Oakley Jawbones sunglasses. The final touch: a pair of $19 insulated work gloves, coated with beeswax to make them water resistant.

Fastening his helmet, Mr. Edstrom stepped outside and into early-morning indigo. In a minute he was rolling down the driveway of his snow-covered Cape-style house, his headlights aglow, on a 40-mile journey to his workplace, JPMorgan, at One Chase Manhattan Plaza, a trip he would make entirely on a Zanconato cyclocross bicycle. (via)

But everyone who bikes in New York or any other city has certain things in common. The Type-A strivers on their carbon-fiber steeds; the skinny-jeans-wearing fixie riders; the elevator repairman in work clothes on his anonymous hybrid; the fashionable businesswoman on her folder; the 82-year-old photographer on his cruiser. All of them benefit from an increased recognition that bicycles are a legitimate way to get from one place to another, and that you don’t have to be some kind of a freak to use them.

That recognition is not merely symbolic. It becomes very tangible in the form of protected bicycle infrastructure, such as the trails cited in the Times article, and in pro-bicycle regulations — such as the Bicycle Access to Office Buildings Law, instituted in 2009, which requires many office buildings to grant access to bikes.

All of these factors have combined to double the number of bicycle commuters in New York between 2007 and 2011, according to New York City Department of Transportation figures. The DOT aims for 2017 levels to be triple the 2007 numbers. It looks like there’s a good chance of meeting that goal. Most of those new riders won’t be in the Lycra-clad suburbanite demographic (although let’s give those people a round of applause). No, most new riders will be average people on average bikes, maybe not worthy of a feature in the Times, but perhaps more valuable in their very ordinariness.(via)


As I have been seeing dozens of cyclists out on the streets over some of the worst weather Boston has seen in years, I am excited to see how many hundreds of new cyclists show up once the weather gets nice again.

What is your commuting story?

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Posted in Commuting | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Commuting To Work By Bike: As Many Different Ways To Do It As There Are People”

  1. By Jamie on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    I started bike commuting for the first time in September. It’s a 15 mile one-way commute from Somerville to Bedford, mostly via the Minuteman Bikeway, so I only go 2-3 times a week.

    I’ve shut things down for the winter but will be back in late March hopefully. I’ll consider some winter commuting next year, perhaps, but we’ll see.

    For me, it’s about fun, exercise, and avoiding traffic on Route 128 — and savings on gas and the rate of depreciation of my car are nice too. I also find myself more focused and mentally sharp at work after riding in.

  2. By Dotbiker on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    I ride now on days I wouldn’t have ridden a few years ago. My main inspiration was Jack Pelletier the owner of Ashmont Cycles. I drove one iffy day and was coming out of the post office when Jack rode by after dropping one of his kids off at the local school on his way to bring his younger one to day care. Ever since then it is rare I miss a day riding. Only 4.5 miles though so not a huge commitment and ALWAYS faster than the T and never slower than a car…

  3. By Angry Dan on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    I’m only a couple of miles from work so I bike year-round and just walk if the weather is really nasty. Biking is normally warmer than walking because the commute is usually over before my hands and feet have a chance to get cold.

  4. By KIlpatrick on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    Great website, thanks for posting some really nice content. I loved this article when I read it, and found it inspirational that these commutes are still happening in the winter. I commute through the winter but only a few miles from Back Bay to Cambridgeport. Sometimes I wish it was longer, but like Angry Dan, my hands only just start to get cold on the coldest days right at the end, so there is an upside to a 15min commute. 8F is my coldest commute. I was away last week when my wife told me it was 3F one morning. Sad to miss a record setting day. All it takes is the right clothing, and slow ramp to winter!

    Cyclists Unite!

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