Bike commuters: You're not alone!

Paul in Fort Oglethorpe, GA left a comment here a few days ago: “Web-sites like this one goes a long way helping people like me feel just a little bit normal.”

I hope you and others in your situation are helped and encouraged by Commute By Bike. I’m in a bike commute mecca now, but for most of my working life I lived in locations where I was often the only bike commuter I knew.

Ben Ready bikes to work in Longmont, Colorado

I started in college, where I biked to my night job doing mechanical drawings for an electric utility in Texas. In the summers, my second job was across town at a steakhouse. I rode to work in Texas summer heat, hosed myself down outside next to the dumpster, put my steakhouse uniform on over my lycra bike shorts in the bathroom and got to work. I was the only bike commuter I knew.

After I got a “real” office job, I continued my bike commuting that involved 20 miles from north Fort Worth, across the Mid Cities and DFW airport and to my job in Irving, Texas. I was the only regular bike commuter I knew.

I then moved to Champaign County, Illinois, where I bike commuted across 20 empty miles of corn and soybean fields to my job. I was the only regular bike commuter that I knew.

After that, I lived and worked in Longmont, Colorado. After over a decade of long commutes, I finally figured out that I should live close to my work. This was also the first time in my life that I saw bicycle lanes and other facilities for cyclists. Not only that, I also saw other bike commuters for the first time in my life.

I’m now in California, where I’ve discovered another bonus: I’m not “weird” because I wear regular clothes on my commute. Many of the thousands of regular bike commuters in the Bay Area are computer geeks going to their jobs, just like me.

I’ve heard it said that engineers commute by bike as an exercise in cost optimization. I do it because I simply like to be moving and outdoors, which the bike commute gives me opportunity to do. Whatever your reasons, be reminded that you’re not alone!

Paul Dorn also writes about the difficulty of bike commuting in our American car culture:

But in many cities in the U.S., such support isn’t always available. One of my goals for this blog is to encourage those isolated bike commuters scattered around the country in smaller communities, who may feel alone in their daily conflict with vehicle traffic. In addition to providing “how to” information, I hope this blog helps to illustrate that bicycling commuters are not alone, but are part of a healthy and growing movement.

Ride on!

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