Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bicycle Adventures: Part 1

As you may have guessed, judging from the apples strewn around the ground underneath my precious bike, this photo was taken on the apple picking day, although Phillipa is a constant addition to my day. Yes, that's right, one of the ways I attempt to be more sustainable is by biking everywhere... and I mean everywhere!
I started biking everywhere a few months ago when I could no longer walk to work everyday (I had a summer job that was at least an hour walk, maybe longer from my house). What that means is that I started biking under fairly ideal circumstances
1) I was working an therefore getting paid to be at X location at X time. What better incentive to keep biking?
2) The weather was always gorgeous! I haven't had to bike in the rain or snow yet, although it has been mighty cold the past few days here in the Pacific Northwest but I'm a trooper
3) I had an awesome bike and all the "equiptment" I needed already. I had a sturdy bike chain (you see that black snake thing behind my bike? That's just my bike lock and cable)
4) I'm already in pretty good shape to bike. I do live in an area that has a fairly good amount of hill action but I started out being physically capable of riding 30 minutes each way to work
5) I had a job that allowed me to arrive wearing comfortable biking appropriate clothing. Some people may not have the luxury of showing up to work in yoga pants and a sweatshirt like I did. That's ok!

So what does all this mean anyway? I had prime beginner biker circumstances this summer to allow me to get used to the idea of being my own mode of transportation. But what about people that don't have all the circumstances that I did? Here's what you could do to boost your biking and lower your car dependency
-Start biking in the evenings for pleasure! It's great physical activity and if you do it with  your family members, friends, co-workers, children, neighbors or people that also bike, you get the added bonus of free entertainment.
-Bike to work/school/the grocery store/on errands/to the movie theater/etc. whenever you can and don't feel bad about driving. My current job requires that I provide transportation for folks that might not be in the physical condition to bike but I still have the satisfaction of running errands with Phillipa
-Try to get other people involved in your attempts to bike more. I've found that it is much easier to bike around when other people bike with me or are supportive of my constant phone calls asking for directions (I'm not good with directions and bike paths aren't always as reliable as car paths on Google Maps)

Finally, if you're already a biker, this list may seem redundant to you, but here are the bare essentials you will need to start biking:
-a bike!
-bike helmet (I got in a bike accident this summer and could have had a serious concussion if I didn't have my helmet on! Wear one!)
-bike lock and heavy duty chain
-bike bell (optional but super fun!)

I've also attached some links that I've found useful for biking more
League of American Bicyclists Five Steps to Riding Better
Bicycle Universe Why Ride a Bicycle? (Some interesting things to consider about biking)
Bicycling.com 3 Super Easy Things Your Bicycle Mechanic Wishes You Would Do
Craigslist.com (If you don't have the necessary equiptment to bike, you should check out craigslist first to see if you can find any free or cheap deals on things you will need)

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