In this article, we're debunking some common (negative) myths about commuting by bike. We wonder who came up with all these but we think that any rider will agree that most of these turn out to be false. Here we go.
- It's dangerous.
That's the first objection most people bring when it comes to commuting. "It's dangerous/I'm afraid I'll get into an accident". Of course, accidents do happen but if you look at statistic in your city you'll notice that it's actually just as safe as walking or driving. If your city has a good network of bike lanes, it might be even safer than that!
This myth comes from fear of unknown. We're so used to driving and the safe feeling of our cars that being out on the bike looks way more dangerous than it actually is. Don't forget that as cities become more bike-friendly, the safety also improves so by taking your bike to work you contribute to this and make the next rider's life easier.
- It takes too long.
The second most common objection is that it takes a lot longer than driving. Most people need to be in the office by a certain hour and being late is frown upon so they can't risk it. The funny this is that this is the biggest myth out there. Bikers beat traffic all the time.
Think about it, you don't have to wait in line at stoplights. Just this small advantage will save you precious minutes of your ride. Even a slow ride will get you in the office on time.
- You need to change your clothes.
People worry that they need to bring special clothes and wash when they arrive at the office. That's not how most people do it though. If you ride at a normal pace, you'll barely sweat at all. In most extreme cases, you can have a t-shirt under your work clothes and change in the bathroom when you arrive. But mostly, that's not even necessary. Just wear a good antiperspirant and don't go all out on your bike.
- It's too far away.
Distance is relative. Something close by car it's impossibly far by walking but with a bike? Most distances in the city are actually quite close if you go by bike. The average commute distance in America for example is about 10 miles. That's a 25minutes ride for most people.
Another advantage is that you can use the bike just to get to your closest subway station.
You're like a super-hybride that opens a world of possibilites when you take the bike.
- You need a special bike
A bike is miraculous invention. Resistant to heavy use and resilient even on bad roads, bike have historically taken people to where they needed to go no matter the conditions. To think that in our modern times we need a special bike is a Myth! Probably propagated by someone who wants to sell you a new expensive bike!
Any bike will do the job-as long as it's oiled up, has working breaks and lights. Most commuters use pretty cheap bikes, up to 300$ and the second-hand market is even cheaper. There's no "commuter" bike no matter what the marketing tells you. If you use it to go to work...there you go, "commuter bike"!
That in time you might want to upgrade to something faster and nicer, it's perfectly understandable but to get starts, all you need is A bike.
And a few quick ones:
- "What if it rains/snows/it's too hot?"
Weather happens. In time, you might get used to it and see it as a fun extra challenge for your ride that day but you don't have to. When the weather is not to your liking just take the car. You did not sign up for a full position of bike commuter anywhere!
- "What do I do during the night?"
During spring and summer, most people leave the office while it's still light outside so that's not a problem. But if you find yourself at night on the bike, don't worry! Just make sure that you have lights on your bike and you are visible to the cars on the road.
- "How do I carry my laptop/papers/stuff?"
That's the easiest to answer yet! There are tons of cheap and practical backpacks specially designed for bike riders. If you don't want one, you can attach a bike bag to put everything in it. If anything, you'll notice that you can carry a lot more with the bike.
This concludes are myth debunking article. We hope that now you are more confident to try bike commuting and participate in the bike to work day.