[Ken Kifer's Bike Pages]
DIRECTORY: Bike Commuting and Transportation
Bicycle commuting is an enjoyable trip to work which provides exercise, saves money, and helps to alleviate congestion, noise, pollution, and global warming. Accounts of and solutions to traveling to work by bike.
Questions What are the disadvantages of commuting by automobile? Why is traveling to work by bicycle preferrable? How do bike commuters avoid gridlock? How can bicycling to work add to one's sex appeal? How much money can bicycle commuting save? What is the "hidden" advantage of bicycling?


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Bike Commuting and Transportation

Those who are trapped into driving a car to work every day -- which, thank God, I am not -- often have to face a particular misery called gridlock. In some places where one can see for miles, the cars are bumper to bumper the entire distance, a huge waste of gasoline, time, and patience. Often these commuters have chosen to drive 50 miles or more each way to work, and usually they will defend this choice by saying that there is no other option. So, they sit in heavy, blocked traffic while their wages are turned into greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Those who don't face gridlock often still find driving a car between work and home to be a daily battle that leaves them harassed and exhausted twice a day. Finally, there are many who are riding with less discomfort yet still wish they had a less expensive, more environmentally friendly, much healthier, and/or more enjoyable way to get to work.

On the other hand, there are many who have chosen to rethink their lives and the daily grind to the office and are riding their bikes to work instead. These bike commuters sometimes ride on gridlocked streets, speeding past thousands of immobilized cars while traveling to work, sometimes they are traveling alongside traffic on busy roads, and sometimes they are traveling on a parallel streets and roads with light traffic. In a few places they are even riding on bikeways, their own private highways into town. Whatever route they use, bicycle commuters are getting healthy exercise every day on their way to work, exercise that will improve their vigor, outlook, and even sex appeal. They also know that they are not adding to or sucking down the pollution of the travel lanes. They appreciate the money they save, which can be as much as $7,500 a year (including taxes saved) towards an early retirement. And finally, they are just finding the trip to work to be more fun.

At least some of the motorists getting to work by car are wishing that they could use bicycle transportation instead, and so I have written the following pages as an encouragement. I hope that my experience and suggestions, plus the help found on the many sites I have linked to, will be a guide towards living a less car-dependent, possibly even car-free life.

I do not make the claim that I have been able to commute by bicycle due to any cycling superiority on my part. My skill with words is above average, and I believe I have a superior philosophy of life, but I claim no special cycling abilities except for years of experience. Right now, I seem to be averaging twelve and thirteen miles per hour on my round trips into town, so I am not a superman. As you can see from my personal account, there were many years when I felt forced to travel by car, even though I didn't want to.

I don't claim that everyone can get to work by bicycle. However, I do believe that most people can, either now or at some time in their futures, if they are willing to readjust their priorities. In the event that they can't, they can still increase their cycling and reduce their car driving by using their bikes to run errands as much as possible.

I have tried to write articles which address the basic problems that bicycle commuters, errand runners, and other practical cyclists face. I hope that they can be helpful to you in one way or another. If not, I hope you will visit the great sites listed in the right-hand column, as they have further information.


The Quadruple Advantages of Bicycle Commuting  Traveling by bicycle to work has four strong benefits that cannot be denied: improve your financial condition, increase your vigor and health, avoid creating environmental problems for others, and have a good time.

My Bicycle and Walking Commutes over the Years  In fifty-one years of traveling to work, school, and town, I have accumulated 18 years of walking and 14 years of bicycling. Details of how bicycle transportation has been useful to me.

Bicycles Suitable for Commuting, New or Used  A Guide to all the bikes suitable for touring with emphasis on used bikes. Includes three-speeds, Schwinn's, sports touring, touring, mountain, and hybrid bikes, with links to articles on recumbents and folders.

Bike Accessories a Commuting Cyclist Needs Bicycles are not sold complete but usually lack basis accessories which make commuting safe and practical, such as lights, mirrors, fenders, racks, rainsuits, locks, air pumps, patch kits, and tools.

Using Errands for Bicycling Exercise For the person who can't commute to work by bicycle, running errands on the bike can save some gasoline and provide some healthy exercise, especially on cold or gloomy days when it's tough to get out.

Problems and Solutions to Riding a Bike to Work  All the bicycle commuting problems that I could think of and some solutions which might solve those problems, including solutions to dangers, time limitations, busy routes, a long distance, kids, weather, arriving smelly, flat tires, carrying a laptop, safe parking, and social acceptance.

How to Find a Route to Work by Bicycle "You can't get there from here" seems to be true for the bike commuter. Some helpful advice about seeking out bicycling routes for the busy commuting cyclist.

Tricks and Tips for Bicycle Commuting Here are some useful small suggestions that are useful in an urban environment to solve problems such as locking a bike, finding a safe place to leave it, standing the bike without a kickstand, carrying a package, and patching a tire.

The Poor, Poor Sufferin' Bike Commuter or How NOT to Commute  A newspaper reporter tells a pitiful tale about the horrible sacrifice necessary to pedal 3.5 miles, illustrating what not to do at the same time.


How Many Bicycle Commuters Are There in the USA? -- Data from US Census  Although coming from the US Census, this data is not as hard as we would want; nonetheless, it does establish that there are hundreds of thousands of bicycle commuters. Elsewhere

Bicycle's Commuter's Guide  Fred Oswald's Guide, which explains in detail about cycling in traffic.

Bicycle Commuting Guide  Here are a great many helpful ideas.

American Gridlock  Driving conditions in Atlanta, Houston, New Jersey, and Chicago plus the effect poor driving conditions has on motorists. [Note: I wrote this introduction and the other pages before reviewing other sites; great minds think alike.]

Paul Dorm's Bike Commuting Tips: Introduction  Here's an extremely complete and well thought out guide. You can either quickly read the whole guide, which is on several web pages, or explore the side pages as you go, which have much greater detail.

carfree.com Carfree cities past, present, and future. Presents solutions to the problem of the urban automobile.

Victoria Transport Policy Institute Many articles on transportation issues, some summarized, some in Adobe format, others that can be purchased.

Land-Use, Climatic, Demographic, and Cultural Issues Affecting Utilitarian Bicycle Travel in the Triangle  by Steven G. Goodridge. An objective look at the practical problems involved in bicycle commuting.

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