I live in the Sacramento region and May is bike month. It is marketed well and supported by all sorts of important groups. They manage to get individuals and companies fired up about cycling. So, why on earth should you care?
Most of my life I have recreated or commuted on two wheels, so my pro-bike bias runs deep. I am involved with a great non profit that uses multipurpose recreation and specifically cycling as an economic development engine for communities in the Lost Sierra. Cycling is accessible to everyone. A regular discipline of riding to work improves business in three areas: awareness, fitness, and camaraderie.
When you ride your bike, you notice stuff you don’t from the car. The birds singing and spring springing. We miss these engagements with nature while ripping along in the car. There are neighbors to wave at, and coffee shops to visit. This morning, I was riding the kids to school and my son pulled over. There was a train that had stopped on the tracks. He just sat there in awe of the parked train. Small stuff, but it adds value and goes unnoticed in the car.
This one is obvious, but riding a bike is a very low impact way to get your cardio. Today, I rode to work, I will ride to lunch and then ride home. So, I get three small burst that keep my metabolism cranked up. Some days I take the short route and some days I take the long way around.
When you organize a bike to work day at your office, it is a great way to connect on a different level with your team. If you have ever been on a group ride, you know that it is usually a pretty engaging experience. I like to meet up for coffee with a group and ride in together. Over the years, I have accumulated a great pile of memories, like that time I met a friend on the road and kept riding to his work and ended up with 70 miles in cotton shorts before my first appointment. Or that time we were pulled over at 5:30 am in the dark for running a stop sign, only to realize that the officer wanted to know what lights we were using.
You never know, maybe that one ride to work will help build a pattern that improves your life! Happy cycling and remember to always #optoutside.
Bonus – Packing List
I am often asked what my bike commute setup looks like. So, here it is in a nutshell:
Backpack: Chrome makes indestructible commuter packs. I am using Kharkiv right now and it holds my laptop, ipad and full day of clothes. It is waterproof and vents off of your back well. It also stays put when you are forced to jump in a pace line with a bunch of roadies.
Shoe bag: Always use a shoe bag. A good old fashioned plastic shopping bag works to keeps things separate and clean. I travel a lot, so I have gone with an Eagle Creek option that works well. If you put your shirt next to your shoes, you will be in a meeting and wonder who stinks… it is you.
Garment Bag: I have found using a small garment folder is a key to wrinkle free dress clothes. I fold my pants and shirts up into one of the plastic dry cleaning bags before I put them in. It fits in the backpack and keeps things relatively wrinkle free.