Archive | June, 2014

Bike Commuter Journal – It’s Not About Exercise

17 Jun

Super Hero Cyclist

Please welcome back guest contributor Don Pillsbury.

Don’t I need to be a “Jock” to ride my bike to work?

When co-workers see me riding my bike to work, they often assume I’ve always been some sort of athletic super hero. And while riding does occasionally simulate the sensation of “flying,” I’m no Superman. I’ve never participated in any organized sport (well, except for the office volleyball league) and I don’t follow any professional teams. People familiar with my younger years are always surprised to hear about my cycling adventures.

As I meet other bike commuters, that pattern seems oddly common. A co-worker, who commutes 12 miles throughout the year, in all sorts of weather, said she hated gym class in school – she was always the last one selected for any activity. This same person became indignant when asked about her commute being exercise. To her, it was about saving money. A friend, who also commutes 12 miles year round, doesn’t mention his cycling during a routine annual exam with his physician and is then shocked when the doctor suggests the need for exercise – despite his trim physique.

For the bike commuters I meet, cycling isn’t exercise it’s just a means of getting to their destination.

One other trait I’ve noticed: the complete lack of remorse about eating whatever they want.

What is your background? If you commute with your bike, some or a lot, please let me know whether you consider yourself athletic or not. I can be reached at: drPillsbury@comcast.net.

Thanks Don! If you’d like to write a guest post, pls email jfoster@gmtma.org.

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Challenge: Change Your Commute to Help the Air Tomorrow!

16 Jun

The weather is gorgeous; sunny, warm – a great day to be outside and enjoy! One of the last things we think about on days like this is air pollution- but it is a predicted Air Quality Action Day tomorrow. It has been a while, so what exactly does this mean for us?

Due to weather patterns tomorrow, Ozone is expected to be at levels that are Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups or Code Orange. This means that people with lung disease, such as asthma, children and older adults and people who are active outdoors should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.

Air Quality Action Day TomorrowSo here is your CHALLENGE: Help everyone breath better on an Air Quality Action Day by Changing Your Commute!

  • If you usually drive alone- try to find a carpool partner, look into Transit (GMTMA can help with this), or even ask if you can telecommute.
  • If you usually take transit- great job! You are already helping the air, but what else can you do? Do you drive to the train station? How can you get there without driving tomorrow? Look into other options.
  • Even if you usually walk or bike to work, there are ways to decrease your air pollution. Do you often drive with someone for lunch? Plan a brown bag lunch day in the cafeteria or conference room. Or to be festive- create an Air Quality Action Day potluck so no one in the office needs to drive to lunch!

Let us know if you accept our challenge!

There are many ways to decrease the air pollution you create- so take a few minutes today to think about how you can change your commute to decrease air pollution tomorrow. And you never know, if enough people change thier commute to lower air pollution, levels may not even reach Code Orange!

If you would like more ideas to decrease air pollution or need a little help changing your commute, contact Aly Dyson at adyson@gmtma.org.

Vision of Bicycling Winner!

13 Jun

Lunch Break ErrandsWe are happy to announce that the winner of the Vision of Bicycling photo contest for Bike to Work Week is Nicola K. from Princeton. Her photo is titled Lunch Break Errands, and was taken at the Alexander Street footbridge in Princeton. Congratulations Nicola and thank you for sharing your errands with us!

Bike to Work Week Winners Announced!

10 Jun

We want to congratulate all of the participants in Bike to Work Week for a job well done! Despite the weather, there were a lot of bikers out there commuting, swapping out rides that could have been made by car, and just out there enjoying the view as they ride. We especially want to say Great Job to the 18% of registrants that were first time bike commuters! Keep bike commuting and pretty soon you will be the experienced ones out there.

Every year a great group of locaBike to Work Week 2014l businesses support Bike to Work Week. This year was better than ever and we want to give a big Thank You to all of the event Sponsors!

Without further ado, here are the winners of Bike to Work Week 2014:

Thank you again to all of the participants in Bike to Work Week. Keep bicycling and remember to log in your miles again next year for more chances to win prizes from Bike to Work Week Sponsors.

Bike Commuter Journal – Secret to Success

3 Jun

Please welcome Brian Clissold as our guest commuter this week, he’s also a trustee of the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance and a resident of East Windsor. A version of this post appeared on his blog, Roadmaestro.

Here it is…wait for it….wait for it………CONSISTENCY!!

Yep, that’s it. That’s my big piece of advice for folks who want to commute by bike. Just like any other lifestyle change, it’s the act of doing it over and over, until it becomes routine, that makes it part of your life.

Now, it’s not that easy. “Sticking with it” is all rainbows and unicorns. What it really means is getting into the routine the night before, or even the week before, by packing clothes, packing lunches, mid-morning snacks (I always get hungry by 10 am when I commute), baby wipes, figuring out the timing, the logistics of parking, when you’re going to apply make up (if that’s necessary), bicycle maintenance, and what to do with all the extra cash you’ll be saving by not buying gas. Whew! It doesn’t sound so easy after all. If you’re content with just learning this concept and can figure out the details, you can be done reading now and go for a bike ride. If you need some more tips, read on.

My ride is just long enough that I prefer to ride in bike clothes rather than my work clothes. So, Sunday night I try to make sure I have enough bike clothes clean for the week. I also make sure I have a day or two of work clothes. The weekend is also when I do any touch up maintenance: pump up the tires, lube the chain, make any minor adjustments, etc. Lights get charged and fresh batteries as needed.

Each night I pack my bike bag (one rear pannier, or a bag that mounts to a rear rack on my bike) with the next day’s work clothes, hair goop, a towel, my headphones, reading material for the train. Much of this stuff just stays in the bag. I also bring in my thermos and water bottle from my bike, and make the coffee so it starts automatically in the morning.

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In the morning, I shower, pack my pannier the rest of the way with my lunch, put on my bike clothes, fill my thermos and water bottle, turn on the lights, and head out. Once I reach the train station, I put my bike in its locker, go into the station and change into my work clothes, and get on the train. I take my stuff with me to the office so I can hang my clothes to dry. Also, I change back into my bike clothes in the train bathroom on the way home so I can get right on the bike and get home.

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So this is kind of a lot of work, but I’ve been doing this long enough now that it is more of a nuisance to change out of the routine than to stick with it. The rare days that I have to drive to work really throw me off now, both in terms of the routine and also in my mindset. Driving is such a headache!

I should definitely add that my routine is supported by my amazing wife Abbi, who helps me out in a variety of ways, such as putting away leftovers in single serve containers to make it easy to toss them in, doing laundry, and being generally supportive! Thanks Hunny!!

There are a million tips for bike commuters, especially for newbies. I highly recommend spending some time on the blog, bikecommuters.com There is lots of good stuff there, from equipment reviews to riding tips for bad weather.

Go pack your stuff and start to make riding to work part of your daily, weekly, and monthly routine. It is an amazing lifestyle choice!!

Thanks Brian – if you’d like to share your bike commuting stories, please email jfoster@gmtma.org.