Bike Commuting, Lifestyle & Carrying Loads
As people give more and more of their limited time to their jobs, leaving little time for adding bicycling, bike commuting has become an important means of increasing bicycling. It may seem like an easy sell – exchange your half hour commute stuck in traffic with a 45 minute fun-filled and refreshing bike ride. But people are not eager for change, even with such a great pitch. They tend to see all the downsides of change first:
- I’ll arrive sweaty.
- If it’s a hard day, I won’t want to ride home.
- My co-workers will think I’m a dork.
- There’s no safe place to park my bike.
- What if it rains after I cycle to work?
Fortunately several organizations have taken on the challenge of addressing all of these concerns and making it easy for workers to commute by bike. Some have tackled the challenge from the employer level by offering consulting packages that encourage workers to bike to work while saving the employer significant expense in parking as well as employee health problems associated with inactivity.
Here are some great example of such programs:
- Getting More People Cycling - overview
- Bike Wise New Zealand - underway
- Darlington Cycling Challenge (UK) - underway
- Swindon Cycle Challenge (UK) - evaluation report
Check with your local bicycle advocacy organization for local bike commuter tips (find them on our Find Organizations page). Your local government might also have bike commuting resources. Here’s a great example from Bike Arlington.
But cycling to work is not the only way to fold bicycling into people's lives. Most trips in fact are made for other reasons like going to the store, visiting friends, and taking kids to activities. Here's an excellent resources to help you discuss a bicycling lifestyle with your constituents:
This video tells an inspiring story of how bicycling changed one fighter's life:
This video demonstrates the reasons why many women do not take up cycling, but then offers ways we can change that:
For more inspirations on stylish cycling, make sure to visit CopenhagenCycleChic.com
As with the above commuter concerns, just about everyone else who is considering bicycling will see carrying loads as a barrier to their taking up bicycling as a regular part of their lives. Again, fewer and fewer people have time set aside just for leisure so their most likely way to bring bicycling into their lives would include running some errands along the way. Parents also need to bring their children along which of course is important for our next generation of bicyclists!
The ability and expectation to carry loads then must become commonplace. This includes easy access to affordable equipment such as bike baskets, racks and trailers. Bike shops and their staff play an important role in this by discussing the cyclist’s needs for equipment and being there to alleviate concerns, building the cyclist’s confidence for using their bike for carrying loads.
So the first step for a cyclist new to carrying loads is to visit their local bike shop. Find an easy bike shop search on the National Bicycle Dealers Association web site: www.nbda.com on the left menu called “Dealer Finder.”
And if you want to step it up a notch, here are some inspirations: