Biking to Work: How & Why to Give It a Try
Despite the sweatiness, a two-wheeled commute is great. Here’s some locals that do it.
Have you ever thought about biking to work? This year, I started biking to work every day that I can, and I wanted to share a few stories of some others who bike to work, why they do it, and some tips they have for getting started.
Eric lives in the Eastside Hill of Eau Claire and works for the West-Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission in Banbury Place. Eric has been biking to work year-round for 12 years.
Commute: 1.6 miles
Why do you bike to work? For many years, our family had one vehicle, so biking to work was the only option for me. Even though I had to bike to work, I also enjoy the health benefits of biking and enjoyed being outdoors before and after work. On my commute to and from work, I cross the Eau Claire River. I love seeing the different seasons and how they change where we live. I like being outdoors biking during all four seasons.
What tips do you have for someone interested in biking to work? Regardless of your distance to travel, I think it is very important to be seen by vehicles. It’s important to have bright-colored clothing and visible lighting. If you are going to ride in the winter, I’d highly recommend studded tires (I learned that the hard way). If you are thinking about biking to work, but it seems a little overwhelming to do it everyday, try it once or twice a week and on days with good weather. From there, add a day or two a week.
John lives in the Otter Creek neighborhood of Eau Claire and works at Jamf Software downtown.
Commute: 5.4 miles
Why do you bike to work? I was motivated to start biking to work because of the health benefits, although more mental than physical health. Biking gave me a chance to decompress from the work day and think through my day as I ride. I have found my stress levels are much less, and the physical benefits are an added bonus.
What tips do you have for someone interested in biking to work? When considering biking to work, I would advise choosing a day or two with great weather and pay attention to how you feel at the end of the day. Consider your time commitment, your overall mood during the day, and write down how you’re feeling at the end of the day. For almost all of us, the time difference is negligible, your day “feels” lighter with more positive interactions with others, and the un-wind time at the end of the day becomes invaluable. Oh, and be careful: Riding is addicting, and you’ll find yourself commuting year round in no time.
Josh lives in the Eastside Hill of Eau Claire and works at Satellite Six on the north side of the city.
Commute: 4.5 miles
Why do you bike to work? Like a lot of people, I find it hard to schedule exercise and hobbies into the busy-ness of life. I got into biking because I know how healthy it is to be active and engaging with the real world every day. Thanks to our bikes (and a little bit of creativity) our family has been able to have just one car which saves money and keeps life simple. I love the fresh air and variety that biking to work through all four season brings me.
What tips do you have for someone interested in biking to work? First, jump right in and give it a shot. Sure, there are a few challenges with biking to work – like arriving sweaty, needing to pack dress clothes, or how to carry your lunch and laptop. But don’t let those challenges stop you. With a little resourcefulness and planning ahead, you can find a way to make it work. Second, start with the bike you have in your garage. Don’t worry about getting fancy gear or a super-light bike. Enjoy biking to work and see if it’s something that you want to stick with before you spend a lot of money on cycling gear.