05-08-2014 02:14 PM
Six years ago, USAA’s Justin Moore traded his four wheels for two and started cycling to work a couple of days per week. Since then, he’s logged 7,100 bike commuter miles. This lead research analyst and bike blogger shares his experience and tips for anyone considering commuting by bike.
I decided to become a bicycle commuter in June 2008. Although I was not new to cycling, riding my bike to work seemed unachievable. However, the nearly $8-cost-per-day commute in my pickup changed my mind.
Once I started, I discovered USAA employees who rode their bikes to work and asked for their advice. They took me under their wing. I felt astonished the first time I pedaled 11 miles to work, locked up my bicycle and walked into the office. I was equally flabbergasted at the end of the workday. “My truck is not here,” I thought. “I got here on my bicycle … whoa!” It’s a thrill that never gets old.
My primary motivation for bicycle commuting is to maintain and improve my physical fitness. Biking 22 miles two or three days a week ensures I get between four to six hours of cardiovascular exercise. That said, I simply can’t ignore the additional benefits:
- I’m driving fewer miles, so my auto insurance premiums are lower.
- Leaving my Ford F-150 in the garage for 7,000 miles saved me from purchasing about 538 gallons of gasoline.
- With an average gasoline price of $3 per gallon, that’s about $1,614 that never left my wallet.
- I’ve prevented about 5 tons of vehicle emissions from entering the atmosphere.
- My mood is elevated after nearly two hours of cardiovascular exercise.
- My quality of sleep is much improved on bicycle commute days.
Justin’s Rules of the Road
- Drink up. Hydrate before, during and after your commute. Even trained athletes underestimate their hydration needs. Down an electrolyte beverage, such as Gatorade®, during your commute. Bring two bottles of water.
- Map your route. Plan your commute before you ride. Ask cyclists in your workplace for route advice. Use Google Maps’ bicycle routing option. Click the link for this video to learn more.
- Be seen. Wear bright clothing and invest in bike lights, especially if you’re riding at night: Here’s a blog post I wrote discussing the importance of standing out.
- Get schooled. Bike associations and leagues offer safety courses. It’s important to understand how your bike works, how to navigate in traffic, and what clothing and equipment can help keep you safe.
Photo courtesy of Joel Ziegler
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