Biking to work: BCC CRUSHES ALL

It’s no secret that BCC is the best blog in the universe, hands down, and I’m including this site as part of the sample. But now the “awesomeness gap” threatens to widen even further, and we take up the gauntlet of a Bike Commuting Challenge (thanks to mfranti and dan ellsworth). Here’s the gist: ride your bike or use a combination of public transit and bike to get to work/school/grandmas at least one day a week. Ride Your Bike to Work Month was last month, I think, which means that we’re right on target in terms of Mormon Standard Time. Riding your bike is cheaper, more environmentally friendly, causes less traffic congestion and makes you into a lean, mean Mormon machine.

Now for some friendly commuting tips.

DO:
-Shower! With soap!
-Obey traffic laws
-Wear a shirt that says, “I am reducing your carbon footprint, buddy”
-Get some clipless pedals. It will greatly increase your pedaling efficiency, assuming you don’t consistently fall over at intersections
-Shop on Craigslist for your bike. There’s little reason to buy a brand new bike these days, no matter what your skill level. But if you are going to buy a brand new bike, don’t forget to give your business to a local wheelsmith and not some megacorporation who won’t know anything about bikes or how to fit you
-Get fitted. Proper seat adjustment and bike fitting will make your ride more comfortable and efficient
-Train. Work your way up to a level of fitness before pushing yourself to ride that 50 miler. PS – you’re going to be saddle sore for about the first week or so of biking, nothing to do about that. It will pass (but if it doesn’t, see the prior tip)
-Get a beater bike. I have two bikes: one is like Maximilian from The Black Hole and the other is like Bob. Bob was an old MTB with good components, to which I added some slick tires, fenders and clipless pedals. On the average commute, Bob can almost keep up with Maximilian. Here’s a photo of Maximilian, worship him. I have taken none of Bob.
-Combine biking with other transit. If you live too far to bike the whole way, bike to a convenient commuter bus, and put the bike on the rack on front. It’s called “intermodal commuting” and will make you a rock star.
-Ride in the rain. If you have the right gear (a jacket, pants and some no-slip gloves) then riding in the rain is not as unbearable as it sounds. People will look on you with awe.
-Get advice. Ask another commuter about more tips, or look on the Interweb.

DON’T:
-Blow a ton of money right away. Figure out what kind of riding you enjoy most and what kind of rider you’re likely to be.
-Wear a rearview mirror on your helmet. Just…. don’t.
-Expect that everyone loves to see more cyclists out there. Sooner or later you will face vehicular aggression. Practice defensive cycling and always carry a cell phone with you to call 911 and document troublemakers.
-Try to race other commuters. Most of them don’t know you’re trying to beat them.
-Talk on your cell phone or listen to your ipod while cycling. I know it’s tempting, but it makes you a pathetic road hazard. Talking while riding is at least as dangerous as talking while driving a car, except that if you smack into something on your bike IT WILL HURT YOU A LOT.
-Overdo it. Stretch out a lot, take your time. Cycling is deceptively difficult — you won’t get immediately tired or winded like with running or other sports, but you will definitely feel it if you don’t pace yourself.
-Quit. Keep it up!

Comments

  1. Reducing carbon footprint. What about all that hot air?

  2. Kim, it’s naturally produced CO2, and it’s minty fresh.

  3. We need a pic of biker Evans. Also, BCC readers should link to pics (upload to Flickr or some such?) of their own adventures.

    Biking in Oxford is lovely. They have these things called cycle lanes.

  4. Forget biking. I’m putting up a parasail to catch the wind from the direction of BCC.

    But I do endorse biking to work, as long as bikers don’t ride on my sideWALKS because they’re afraid of drivers.

  5. ronan, great idea.

  6. How ’bout substitute bike in all of the above with jogging stroller. And again, take none of that BOB.

  7. Hey Stephen,
    Do you have a change of clothes at work or something?

  8. Ronan, no pics of Biker Steve are necessary or desirable. I think a few of us are planning pictorials of our commute, however.

    re: clothes, I have several changes of clothes at work, which I cycle home every once in a while. All I take with me in the morning in the backpack are some garments and socks. Everything else is already at work.

    mmiles, part of why I got Bob was to haul the kids around in a trailer, which is real leg-busting work. They love it. It does convert to a jogging stroller however.

  9. tesseract says:

    I think we should designate a bike-commute Sunday and all ride to church.

  10. tesseract, I would but there’s no place to put a bike! No racks, no storage…

  11. Steve, that’s a great list of advice. As far as riding in the rain goes, my wife prohibits it because our rain where I live always has lightning. I thought it was cool to ride in thunderstorms — I even gave myself the superhero name “Thunder Rider” — but now when I’m in that situation, my wife uses her superpowers to track me down and transport me in the sadly outdated mode of transport we call the automobile.

    Ronan, I address the issue of cleaning up and changing clothes in my post; There are good ways to do it so you don’t show up at work all sweaty.

  12. tesseract says:

    Yeah, I didn’t think there are racks at our building either… Don’t the missionaries ride to Church at all? Where do they put their bikes?

  13. Steve,

    When I lived in the city I used to bike to church — two kids on bikes, and two in the bike trailer. We stored all our bikes in the big janitor’s room.

  14. Kris, you are a shining example. Biking — with kids — to Church is the coolest thing I’ve heard in a long time.

  15. Peter LLC says:

    BCC! BCC! BCC!

    Does going for a ride after work count?

  16. I bow before Kris! We’re not worthy — that’s awesome.

  17. Petey, it counts so long as you hate your job.

  18. Jonathan Green says:

    This is another post where your European readers are not laughing with you. But your intentions are good.

  19. Observer says:

    Alright, you’ve convinced me. I’m going to suggest to my wife that we figure out a way to bike to church soon.

  20. I should tell people that Peter’s mountain bike — a very nice full-suss Kona — is usually suspiciously clean.

  21. tesseract says:

    Well, I’m gonna try to not use my car for a week, so that means biking pretty much everywhere, including Church. And I still think everyone should ride their bike to church. You can bring it inside or lock your bike to a tree or a handicapped sign or something.

  22. Peter LLC says:

    Steve: check on the job. most days.

    Ronan: You should see my equally nice hardtail Banshee–not even out of the box yet!

  23. Kevin Barney says:

    In Utah, where everyone pretty much lives within three blocks of a church building, it is a scandal how many people drive to church.

  24. Tesseract shows us all how it’s done! Great job!

  25. But your intentions are good.

    jonathan, thanks for the pat on the head.

  26. DON’T–Talk on your cell phone or listen to your ipod while cycling. I know it’s tempting, but it makes you a pathetic road hazard. Talking while riding is at least as dangerous as talking while driving a car, except that if you smack into something on your bike IT WILL HURT YOU A LOT.

    Oh cmon. What exactly are you listening for during your commute? Horns? Trucks? Angry motorists? What are you gonna do? Jump out of the way?

    Listening to podcasts or books (or, yes, even music) on the iPod while commuting cuts the effort expended by half. According to a local scientific study.

  27. Dug, I presume you are kidding. First, yes — listen for horns, trucks, cars, pedestrians, trains, etc. Second, listen for other commuters trying to get your attention to pass you. Third, stop polluting your mind with a constant barrage of inputs. Relax and enjoy your life! In many localities listening to headphones while operating a vehicle (including a bicycle) is illegal because of the obvious hazards involved.

  28. a bike commuter was hit and badly injured by our light rail in the houston medical center a couple months ago. she was listening to an ipod.

  29. sister blah 2 says:

    dug: “Listening to podcasts..”
    Steve: “…stop polluting your mind…”

    Yeah, stop polluting your mind with podcasts! Vile tripe! And dang to heck anyone who would peddle that filth!

  30. Steve, we’ll have to agree to disagree. And, I’ll assume YOU are kidding when you tell me to stop polluting my mind with a constant barrage of inputs (and to relax and enjoy my life). It seems the cycling world is divided into two camps–poddies and the rest of you.

    mpb #28, post hoc, ergo propter hoc?

  31. Peter LLC says:

    mpb #28, post hoc, ergo propter hoc?

    No, what mbp meant was that only slack-jawed and inattentive morons get hit by trains due to ipod usage. For everyone else it’s just fine.

  32. I walk to the dollar store sometimes.

  33. Good story:
    In Provo I biked everywhere. I was biking to work (the MTC, I know I am so nerdy) and I got hit by a pick up truck on State St who wasn’t paying attention. So of course the cops come and an ambulance etc. There was an old cop and a young cop, the latter being very good-looking. The old one was looking after me the injured one and the young one was comforting the girl who hit me, a recently returned sister missionary. She was sobbing uncontrollably. A few days later, I called to get a few more insurance details (I had broken ribs and a wrecked bike) and she said the cute cop had come by her work later and asked her out and they had already gone on their first date and she thinks they’re gonna get married and if they do it will be because I brought them together and I should definitely throw her bridal shower.

    I was like, yeah, uh-huh, sure. No.

    On the upside, people thought one of the three Nephites pulled me out of oncoming traffic on State St. He had a mohawk and all sorts of piercings and he disappeared as soon as the police arrived.

  34. also, I would get killed in the IQT if I biked. But I walk. That’s good right?

  35. Dug, you can certainly disagree with me, but listening to an ipod while riding your bicycle is dangerous and illegal. The cycling world is not in fact divided on this point. If you are listening with headphones while riding your bike, you are firmly outside of what the cycling world recommends. It’s illegal in the states of Washington, Florida, Colorado and many others.

  36. hey boys…

    how ’bout a compromise? headphone in the right ear on very low volume so you can hear the traffic behind you?

    i understand why steve says no headphones but my particular stretch of redwood rd is, um, ugly.

  37. Steve, does that t-shirt exist? I want it for my hubby. But google gives me nothing.

    There is this one, though; or this one.

  38. sister blah 2 says:

    “I should definitely throw her bridal shower.”

    amri, that rulez.

  39. Artemis, the t-shirt doesn’t exist (yet!). I dreamed it up when a particularly large Navigator spewed toxic fumes in my face on the ride home the other day.

  40. Oh, and Kevin, I’m so with you. I’m trying to start a revolution in my ward by walking or biking to church every week. So far it’s a one woman revolution. But you have to start somewhere, yes? I’ve been putting the bike or the stroller in an empty classroom next to our Primary room, but I’ve been dropping suggestions to every priesthood or stake leader I happen to run into that we should get bike racks for the building. Haven’t actually approached the SP yet, but I figure squeaky wheels from various people (who all talked to me) might have some sort of effect. What we really need to do is get the area authorities to tell all the SPs to read a letter telling people to walk to church, if they can.

  41. sister blah 2 says:

    Artemis–try approaching some of the soon-to-be Eagle scouts about building some as their project?

  42. steve,i asked dh if he wants any part of making that shirt happen being a GD an all.

    he’s a diehard commuter too. in the snow, rain, dark, he’s up for the challenge.

    could be fun.

    artemis?

  43. When I’m not jay-walking or driving 4mph over the speed limit, you can find me biking to and from work while listening to “rock-n-roll” music on my MP3 player. Yeah, I live on the edge – it’s just how I roll.

  44. in slc, you have to put bike racks outside of any business, its in the building codes. i’m surprised so salt lake isn’t the same.

  45. I was going to suggest a church commute, as well, tesseract. When I used to commute to work, I commuted to church as well. It came in handy since I had to be there before the rest of my family anyhow. I cut my Sunday driving in half since I didn’t have to drive back to pick them up.

  46. Oh, and I parked my bike inside, under one of the lesser used coat racks.

  47. # 14 and #16: my husband was the bishop. I had to wear those kids out in order to survive Sunday afternoon.

  48. Amri,

    That is the craziest story ever .. you need to write a book!

  49. Observer says:

    An Eagle scout project to make bike racks for church! Brilliant! Something that might actually be useful for the kids to do!

    amri: awesome story. At least it didn’t end with you getting the shaft from the cops for being in the motorist’s way just because the cop was attracted to the motorist. But we all know that one of the three Nephites would have never helped out the party in the wrong, so even if earthly justice wasn’t served, your reward in heaven is assured.

    One thought: in my neck of the woods, I often see Orthodox Jews walking to synagogue and back on Saturday mornings. And the Amish use those kick bicycle things, right? Perhaps Mormons could join their cousins the Hebrews (all part of the House of Israel, right?) and their peace-loving, family-friendly neighbors the Amish by adopting the bicycle as the “celestial” form of transportation to and from church. It could further brand us as a group in the eyes of the nation and the world. I have a vision of hosts of Mormon families in Sunday-best clothing, all riding in long trains of bicycles (and bike trailers, too, of course). We all know drafting is a way of cutting down on energy expenditure on the bike. Now which GA could we work on to use a story about a family biking to church in a general conference talk so that ambitious Mormons everywhere take up the cause?

  50. Mark B. says:

    It’s been two years and three months since we sold the car.

    Say “Amen” somebody!

    My wife commuted to work by bicycle before then, and didn’t stop just because we sold the car.

    I’d commute by bike to work, but I work at home. But every errand longer than two or three blocks is by bike. And, I started riding down to the college to teach my class one evening a week. I can’t see showing up to teach in just my socks and underwear, though Steve apparently sits at his desk that way every day. Good on ya, Steve.

    I see people riding with earphones. So, life is cheap, eh?

  51. I ride my bike to work almost every day! (It’s about a 2-3 block commute…)

  52. Mark B. says:

    Actually, the better part of Amri’s story is the testimony meeting a few months afterwards, where the young RM sister, just engaged to her Prince Charming, is able to tell the whole congregation that running over Amri must have been God’s will, etc. etc., and thanks be to God for directing their paths to cross that day.

    As Amri hobbles by on her way to physical therapy.

  53. Nat Whilk says:
  54. mapinguari says:

    For those who currently bike to work and those who intend to, what is the distance you ride and how long does it take?

  55. Observer says:

    mapinguari: I ride 8 miles each way. It used to take 30 minutes to get to work and 35 minutes to get home, but now it takes me 21 minutes to get to work and about 26 to get home. Looking to the future, and knowing we’ll not live in the same apartment we are now in forever, I actually would want a longer commute (I love the time I get on my bike). I would like to live 12-15 miles away.

  56. We actually have bike racks at our church but I’ve never seen them used. Do most not have them? Unfortunately there are two LDS buildings closer to our home than the one we attend and it is up a huge hill…I know, pretty wimpy of me.

    Commuting to church is almost as significant as commuting to work for many LDS, since we end up going to church at least three times a week.

    And I think they should eliminate all but handicapped parking at LDS churches in Utah.

  57. Steve Evans says:

    mapinguari, 6.4 miles each way, about 10-15 minutes (heh! no, it’s about 20 minutes). Right along the short of Elliot Bay. It’s pretty great.

  58. DON’T -Wear a rearview mirror on your helmet. Just…. don’t.

    I must say, I’m a little surprised at this advice, coming from you. Not saying I don’t agree with it, just surprised.

  59. Steve Evans says:

    dig, dug.

  60. We have a big parking garage under our building, but thankfully, it is little used. Not sure why anyone thought it was a good idea to put it in. Most people come on the subway or bus and most of the rest walk.

  61. Our ward building that is.

  62. Latter-day Guy says:

    Nat, that picture was awful. A pretty incredible shot, but still awful.

  63. All this chatter about commuting makes me want to buy a new car.

  64. Mark B. says:

    Bill,

    The parking garage under the church building may be the result of our enlightened city planners–in whatever city you’re in.

    Often times the building or zoning regulations require that there be a certain number of parking spaces for each “fixed” seat in a community center, such as a church or a theater. So, if you want a chapel that seats 200, you gotta make the parking area.

    One more grand contribution to the sinkhole of unintended consequences.

  65. kaimi,

    i know some foks who are trying to sell their suv.

  66. All you talking about riding bikes to church:

    Not all of us live in Utah – or within cycling distance on a Sunday morning with young kids. When you live more than 20 miles from the building – or when your day consists of visits to two or more buildings that give you a round-trip commute of over 80 miles – then preach to me about the evils of driving a car to church or about having only handicapped parking at our buildings.

    So, I encourage all of you to continue your recruiting efforts. As for me and my house . . .

  67. mapinguari,

    When I biked, it was about 5km each way.

  68. … you’ll continue to be a lazy ass, Ray?

  69. Ray, I don’t think anyone was saying driving to church was evil.

  70. And I don’t live in Utah, but I am less than 15 minutes bike ride from our building. Just bought our house in the right place.

  71. #68 – Yes.

    #69 – I know.

  72. ray, defensive much?

  73. …oh, sorry didn’t see the other comments. i was just looking for an opportunity to get on your case.

    i owed you one.

  74. Yet Another John says:

    Hey, I’ll take Ray’s side here. God first gave us wheels, and when we proved worthy, he gave us engines. The better to do His work, you know.

  75. Actually, when it comes to doing His work, most missionaries walk, ride bikes, or use public transit…it’s easier to come in contact with a lot more people that way.

  76. I live about 18 miles from church and 25 from work (driving miles, not as the crow flies.) I’ll be moving (hopefully) to an apartment about eight blocks from my workplace soon… but the church building won’t change. On the other hand, my commute to the building will go from being through mostly farmland and suburbia to some of the worst neighborhoods in the state — well, the worst south of Cleveland, anyway.

    So while I might bike/walk/take the bus (it’s Ohio, we have snow) to work, I’ll be keeping the car for church, thanks.

    Incidentally, biking is one of those sports I think was designed by healthy, super-fit people, just like running: if you’re not already great at it it’s just agony. Especially if you’re overweight; most easily purchased bikes have relatively low weight limits.

  77. I have to admit, while I’m all for riding to work, the idea of getting the kids dressed for church, then in the trailer, and me, in a DRESS, with hair and make-up done, on a bike and riding the HUGE hills between us and the church, well, it makes me want to vomit.

  78. Steve Evans says:

    Tracy, chuck the dress and wear a pantsuit. Or, just get ready at church. They have changing rooms next to the font!

    but yeah I read ya re: puke.

  79. Swisster says:

    Our ward started an annual “walk to church Sunday” shortly after the invention of the 3-hour block…in case we had to limit oil consumption permanently. Everyone was supposed to walk or bike (or at least not park in the parking lot) that day. Took us an hour on foot. Good tradition.

  80. Aaron Brown says:

    I know this post means well, but if I bike, how will my Hummer fulfill the measure of its creation? Did anyone ever stop to think about that? I bet you feel stupid now, Steve Evans.

    AB

  81. After reading some of the posts at the end of this thread, I have to wonder how on earth members manage to walk an hour to church one way in developing countries.

  82. Mark B.,

    I’m in Manhattan. It would really surprise me if that were the case since so many large churches and theaters exist here without any parking at all.

  83. Bill,

    I talked to Blair Garff once about the large underground parking garage in the Bronx building (which is also not used very much by regular members), and he said it was put in to accommodate the many members from outside the city who have to come in for stake conferences, regional meetings, and whatnot.

  84. Yet Another John says:

    #75 – Granted, most missionary walk is done on foot or by bike, but to get them to their fields of endeavor in the first place they go by plane, train, or automobile. Hence, I have no problem getting to my field of endeavor the same way. Really, it’s all of five blocks. You expect me to walk?

    #81 – I know many members in many parts of the world go go through a lot, just to attend their meetings. And I know that many of them walk. I also believe, that if they had transportation available, they would bike, and yes (gasp), even drive.

    I’m not against anybody biking or walking to church or where ever else they need or want to go. Heaven knows, you can save a lot of money and improve your physical fitness at the same time. Just don’t tell me it’s for everyone, like the gospel. Oh, wait a minute……

  85. Yet Another John says:

    Oops, I meant missionary work in the above post.

  86. #73 – Nice! You did owe me one. :)

  87. Tracy, Leggings. It’s the only way. Pantsuits get caught in the gears.

  88. Mark B. says:

    Bill,

    It depends on when the building was built–so the old buildings won’t have the same required parking.

    And, there are variances, etc., available.

    But for new construction, there is the requirement for off-street parking.

  89. Mark B. says:

    For all you folks who live too far from church or work to bike, the next best thing: a motorcycle. Gas use drops precipitously, parking space is a fraction of what a car requires, and, man it’s nice to feel those 75 horses pulling the bike down the highway.

  90. So let me get this straight… I am to get up Sundays at the crack of dawn, get three small children fed, bathed and in church clothes, get myself appropriate looking for church, including hair (no ponytails, IIRC) and make-up, pack my two church bags- one with my Primary binder, one with all the crap the kids need to make it through a 75 minute adult meeting (quietly, to boot- oh and don’t forget my diaper bag, too)— THEN I am supposed to put my little angels in the bike trailer and BIKE the few miles to the chapel, over several large, fairly steep hills (at least to my out of shape mama-behind) AND I get to do all this in LEGGINGS??

    You really want a quick way to make me inactive?

  91. Mark B? What the h*!! do I do with my three little kids on a motorcylce?

  92. #90 – Tracy, in a sick, twisted way that image is humorous. I was thinking of buying separate motorcycles for my kids, but I’m not sure how my wife (or the Highway Patrol) would feel about that.

  93. Re: #90,

    No, Tracy M, no one is saying you are supposed to do anything. If you don’t want to participate, don’t participate.

  94. mapinguari says:

    #91 – In Brazil, it was not uncommon to see families of 4-5 riding the same motorcycle: dad drove, 1-2 kids on the gas tank, mom behind dad with a baby wedged between them. I suppose that’s just not appropriate in the US.

  95. Really, Kim? Really?

  96. I have to wonder how on earth members manage to walk an hour to church one way in developing countries.

    kim, because they have no other option.

  97. Steve Evans says:

    Then we should take away OUR options, too! What we should do is make living in the suburbs impractically expensive by raising the price of gasoline and basic supplies beyond reach, while simultaneously failing to construct mass transit infrastructure.

    Wait…..

  98. Really, it’s all of five blocks. You expect me to walk?

    you’re being silly, right? 5 blocks and you drive?

  99. see when mark said motorcycle and church i had visions of sidecars and goggles.

  100. tracy, i was thinking you should try it- at least once.( i say that because i would do something so crazy to the american mind just to prove that it could be done)

    you could take showers and do all the packing the night before a, skip the make up and give the kids a healthy dose of benadryl as insurance.

    of course you would want to ride your bike and build up some stamina for the real ride but that would be easy if it’s only a few miles. trust me.

  101. A comment, not as one demanding that people ride their bikes to church but just as the voice of someone who did it with a 7, 5, 3 and 1 year old. You have to be organized the night before. Everything would be packed and put in the back of the bike trailer, my husband would take my church clothes with him as he had meetings that started at 6:30 a.m. I think the kids were a lot easier to manage in sacrament meeting because they had been able to blow off some steam before getting there. Also, getting home seemed more peaceful as they had gotten out some more energy after primary. The hardest thing for me to manage was what to do with them once they were ready at 7:30 a.m, since they were so motivated and excited about riding to church.

  102. Tracy and Yet Another John,

    If you don’t accept our challenge, fine- move along now.
    I get challenged to do things all the time: exercise, stay out of debt, read good books, consume less, spend more time with my family, use less energy, reach out to my community, etc. Those are all good things, and I try to do most of them, with varying degrees of success. But challenges like this are not worth arguing- they’re really not. If you don’t want to try it, then seriously, you don’t need to argue with those of us who do. I promise there are much better ways to spend your time.

    Now, as far as the “it’s not for everybody” retort, that’s true, especially if you have physical issues (being out of shape doesn’t count). But I would venture to guess that a good number of us who are substituting biking for driving probably thought the same way before we tried it.

  103. Researcher says:

    Sorry, I would love to take you up on the challenge, but it’s not happening. We have wonderful bike paths in our township. They are scenic, clean, well-maintained. The only problem is that they don’t lead anywhere. They’re good for a nice Saturday spin but if I wanted to go shopping or (shudder) bike the 18 miles to church, I would have to go on windy little country roads whose edges are generally cut up from poor drainage. I would have to fight with aggressive east coast drivers (the people here are nice enough but there’s always the chance that someone from New Jersey will be driving through), and avoid lots of bad potholes. And then imagine me doing it with five kids in tow. Not a cute picture. I would also love to sell both cars but you can hardly get a taxi here to save your life.

    I briefly considered the motorcycle idea. I could probably tuck all of the kids into a sidecar and it might work, since any cop who stopped us would be laughing too hard to write a ticket.

  104. Researcher,

    We challenge you to pack up and move to a new urbanist development with good bike trails and public transportation.

  105. I suppose tongue-in-cheek is just lost in translations. Oh, and I live here, so as far as moving on…? ;)

  106. Researcher says:

    Thanks Dan. I’ll take your suggestion into consideration. (Well, not really, but it’s a polite thing to say.)

    (I only saw your plea to stop explaining why we can’t meet the challenge after I posted and in my defense, we decided to move into a much smaller house than we could have afforded further out in the country in order to keep my husband’s commute short.)

    On a related subject, I have a question for the biking types. My last bike was a nice fairly light English bike with internal gears and everything and was stolen while we lived in San Diego. I haven’t found anything to replace it yet. Every time I go into the nearby bike shop, there are two choices: either new Trek bikes which are about three times as heavy as I am or racing bikes which start at around $1500 and go rapidly up from there in price. Any suggestions as to good options for a short, fairly light person like myself? (And please don’t say kids bikes.) It would need to fit a child seat on the back, and I can’t lean down on my hands like mfranti’s picture on FMH. I also don’t really have access to Craig’s List. Any suggestions?

  107. researcher, did you follow the links on fMh? there was so many good good bikes for women i couldn’t help but drool.

    i do also have an old womens scwhinn that is perfect for putting around in. comfortable, upright and fun.

    or look here for ideas.

  108. Researcher,

    Assuming you’re female, Trek makes a good hybrid called the 7300; my wife has one, and it works nicely for her.
    If you can’t lean forward on your bike, that may be an issue because when you sit up straight you sacrifice control. If you have back problems, I highly recommend inversion, but maybe that’s another post…

  109. Kevin Barney says:

    Kris, if riding to church gets the kids that motivated to want to go, then maybe that’s the best reason mentioned so far for trying it!

  110. Mark (89),
    Plus, if you don’t wear a helmet, you’ll get to donate all of your nice organs to people who really need them . . .

    As for me and my family, we’ll take the bus to church, we’ll take the subway to church, we’ll even possibly walk to church. Bike? Probably not, though we’d love to. But we’re clearly not driving to church. (I mean, give me a break: give up a perfectly good Tuesday-Friday spot so that we have to find another place to park? And find yet another when we come home? No thank you.)

  111. Ooh. I have a Trek 3700 – I’m sure not as nice as the 7300, but it’s a beautiful thing. I got it about 6 months ago and I love it. It’s the first bike I’ve bought since my mom got me a 3-speed Schwinn when I was 12.

  112. Steve Evans says:

    Researcher, why are those your only options? There’s always mail-order places like Performance Bike, which has a very serviceable road hybrid for about $600. Treks are nice but a bit overpriced imho.

  113. Researcher says:

    Thanks mfranti, I hadn’t followed any of those links except for the commutebybike.com one. I’ve looked at the others now.

    I enjoyed the Danish blog. It reminded me of my days riding a bike as a missionary in a country bordering Denmark, although we never wore as short of skirts as those women (of course!). We had cool Dutch mission-owned touring bikes. We could patch a flat from start to finish in less than 15 minutes. One of the elders rode his bike down a flight of stairs and the frame cracked in half. At the next mission conference, the mission president requested that we please not ride our bikes down flights of stairs. (The things that mission presidents have to worry about!) Boy I remember those bike rides through the countryside with great fondness.

    Thanks Dan E for the heads up on the hybrid Trek. I’ll save up my pennies and start talking to the bike shop employees instead of just looking at the used bike rack, looking at the huge bikes they have in the shop, and walking out in disgust.

  114. Researcher says:

    Thanks also to Steve for the comment. The primary reason I’ve just been looking at one place is that we try to support local businesses as much as possible. I prefer to support the families of the kids that my kids go to school with rather than having the money go to someone in Washington or Arkansas.

    The second reason I’ve just looked at one place is that they have an ever-changing selection of used bikes for sale at this shop. Everyone in the family who rides a bike is riding a nice used Trek bike except I haven’t found anything yet and I’m about to give up and buy something new. I’ll look at that web site for ideas. Thanks!

  115. Kris–you’re my hero!

    This is seriously making me think I need to invest in a bike….

  116. sister blah 2 says:

    I held out for (at least) 115 comments, but my resolve is badly weakening. I, too, may have to buy a bike now. sigh.

  117. Mark B. says:

    Does Denmark really border Holland? I think a bunch of Schleswig-Holsteiners would beg to differ.

    But, biking in Denmark or Holland does have some great advantages:

    no hills–the highest elevation in either country is about 3 meters above sea level

    hot babes in short skirts riding bikes

  118. Steve Evans says:

    You all might find this video informative.

  119. Researcher says:

    Wow. I’m all over the map today. The mission country bordered Denmark. I don’t know why I didn’t just say Germany. The bikes were from the Netherlands. They were very nice. Our mission president was from Europe and knew the importance of a decent bike.

    We would have been the hot babes in long skirts riding bikes. (Thanks for the image, Mark B.)

    No hills in one area.

    Extreme hills in another area.

    Trains and subways and buses in the big cities.

  120. I respect lowland Europeans for their commitment to biking but the Japanese who live (and proselyte) in the MOUNTAINS and ride bikes on extraordinary inclines get my real respect!

  121. #120 – Sometimes on bikes that make tanks seem like light trikes.

  122. Mark B. says:

    My apologies, Researcher. It looked a lot worse after I hit “Add my comment.”

    And I’ll add my amen to ESO’s comment about biking in Japan–get out into the inaka and you’ll wish you had an electric motor assist on your bike. Which, by the way, my wife and I got on some bikes we rented at the Nagasaki train station last year–for the steep hills there, they were a lifesaver. They worked like the power steering on a car–the motor cranked only when you were pedaling–and make a middle-aged couple feel like Lance Armstrong. Well, sort of.

  123. tesseract says:

    I’m on Day 6 of riding my bike everywhere (work, grocery store, etc). I rode to Church on Sunday (in a skirt!), and I was pleasantly surprised to see that we did in fact have bike racks at our building. woot!

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