If you are lucky enough to live in an area with generally mild weather walking and bike commuting can be a year-round activity. For years I lived 3 miles from work and walked home or rode my bike every day. In the summer time, my choice of urban transportation was my bike because the heat was a little much after a few blocks of walking, other times of the year I took advantage of public transportation in the morning and then walked home after work. It was amazing, by the time I got home I felt relaxed and peaceful, no matter what the workday had thrown at me.
Awhile ago I made the mistake of accepting a job that involved a 25-mile commute each way, and the result was aches and pains from sitting for long periods in traffic and a weight gain. You may be saying, “just go to the gym,” I don’t enjoy the gym as I feel like a hamster mindlessly scurrying along on the treadmill. When walking home from work I encountered other evening walkers (no not zombies) from my neighborhood and exchanged polite hello’s. Walking made me feel closer to my neighborhood and provided a pleasurable way and for me to stay healthy. I should have given more thought to how my lifestyle would change, upon reflection the extra salary/promotion was not worth it.
Transportation should ideally be low-tech. The perfect combination for me is my Electra Gigi for short trips since it has a large basket to carry my purse, bags or other items and is SO comfortable. The bike is a bit heavy so not good for hills. I have a car and will not get rid of it, but currently, my husband and I both have cars, once I work closer to home again, I’ll go back to bike commuting and sell one of the cars. In the rare instance my husband and I might both need a car on the same day at the same time we can always use a car-sharing service or Uber.
The average person can walk a mile in about twenty minutes, use this rule to estimate the time needed to get from point a to b. You can also use online tools to estimate your walk or bike time in applications like Google maps.
If you’re considering cycling as transportation, I suggest checking out a few websites for inspiration.
Another obstacle was finding work-appropriate clothing to ride my bike to work while not having to shower or change upon arrival. I highly recommend visiting cyclechic.com, not a spandex laden girl in the bunch.
Though I currently have a weekday commute, I will begin van pooling soon and return to biking and walk for all other activities. My neighborhood is convenient with grocery stores, restaurants, coffee houses, bookstore (brick and mortar shop) and an assortment of retail options all within a short 1-3 mile radius and yes even a nail shop and various salons.
A Bike is like extensions of your body so take care in finding a properly fitted bicycle and the right bike shoe. I may wear work or street clothes when riding but I always wear a proper cycle shoe and change my shoes upon arrival at the destination. This kitten sure does not want to break an ankle or ruin a beautiful pair of shoes.
Biking may seem scary at first so always obey the rules of the road, wear a helmet and look for peaceful, quiet routes. Many bike-friendly cities publish bike route maps to help you find the best and safest route.
The intricacies ties of bicycle safety are beyond the scope of this article so you should seek out resources for getting familiar with riding a bike in an urban setting.
Whether walking, bike commuting or using public transportation stay alert and stay safe!
A great book to read is “ The Art of Cycling: Staying Safe on Urban Streets”. and is available on Amazon.