So I belong to a G+ community on Bike Commuting, and it is one fun group. A year has passed since joining, and to commemorate, they asked each of us how did we all get started into commuting.
I think the commuting mentality has always been with me, ever since I was a kid in elementary school. School was about 3 miles away, and I didn’t really want to walk all the way, so I decided to ride my bike to school. Back then, we live up a hill (or at least it felt like it for me as a 10 year old). Maybe that’s where all my hillclimbing comes in.
A few moves later, and school it’s now 6 miles away. Not having a car, the only alternative was the school bus. However, we were the last stop before making the 6 mile ride into school, and the bus was always full (and I wad the third person on a 2 seater). That convinced me to ride into school, 12 miles a day for 3 years.
With this background, commuting was not a big deal for me. When the gas crunch hit us, it didn’t take much for me to get into biking to work, instead off driving (even though I do drive a hybrid, Prius).
Commuting also means riding in the elements. Rain, darkness, lugging lots of extra gear, that all comes with the territory. Riding in traffic also comes with the territory. With all the riding I’ve been doing (since I was 10), I guess it’s no big deal riding in traffic. I know for others, it’s really scary, so I do get it. So when people are frightened that I ride on busy highways or expressways, I can see how scared they are for me, but trust me, I am careful.
Since I committed all the time in school. I always carried back pack with me, so I was used to carrying something on my back, and I was used to messenger bags, but it is weight on my back.
I turned my Seven into a commuter bike, and now I bike places I normally would only drive to. Popularity of biking as a valid form of transportation has definitely helped, with more commuting infrastructure, solid bike racks, and walking in the store with biking attire does not result in strange looks. Addition of the green bike lanes also help.
I now carry my laptop in my panniers regularly, and I do normal grocery shopping on my bike. It’s a great feeling, and I don’t miss driving one bit. I just wish more people would see how little effort bike commuting is.