when i decided to forgo the car in the spring, summer, and fall months as my main way to work i did a ton of research.
– what kind of bike did i need?
– tips and tricks from hard core bikers?
– what kind of gear did i need?
– what about rain/snow/sleet/shine (hey, i’m from michigan, those all happen in one day!)?
every blog i read was from people who’s job required them to sit at a desk. so the fact that they rode 10+ miles to work was kind of moot.
i am a server. my whole 10 hour shift is spent on my feet and running around like a crazy person and sometimes like a chicken with my head cut off. not one blog covered “how to bike commute when your job is active”. the tips and tricks and what gear parts of everything i read was great. they didn’t however, tell you that after working for 10 hours and getting out at 3am that you would be 100% exhausted and you still have to get yourself and your bike home. so here is what i learned from my year of bike commuting while being a server.
– the first month sucks –
you are still getting used to riding any semblance of distance. your butt and crotch area take some getting used to that bike saddle. and learning to deal with traffic (read the bike laws in your area!) in not fun. also finding the right gears that are comfortable for you take some time.
– you will have more energy –
after biking for a few weeks i realized i was way more peppy when i got to work and the energy lasted much longer through my shift. as elle woods said “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” or in this case coworkers.
– 3am is not as scary as it seems –
i have rode home at all hours from midnight to 4am. and honestly anytime after 2am is less scary and safer i think. all the drunk people are safely home and off the streets. it is quiet and calm and sometimes you can start to hear the birds waking up!
– there will be nights that you dread that ride home –
it’s a friday night and there was a concert in town. you did 2500$ in sales and your feet feel like they are going to fall off. yeah, i’ve been there. and the last thing you want to worry about if riding home. you have some options. a) leave your bike at work and uber, get a ride, take a cab home. or b) hop on your bike and take your frustrations of the night out on the streets. chances are if you chose b that before you get half way home you will feel a hundred times better.
– you will want to drink/smoke less –
i’ve ridden home half drunk after smoking a pack of cigarettes. i have ridden to work so hungover i have had to stop to throw up. neither of them are fun. or safe. that beer and smoke after work seems like too much work when you remember that you have to get your bike home. and even if you decide to have them, you won’t want to get drunk because you will never forget the first time you crash into a stand still object because you were too drunk to see it.
even after all that, i love bike commuting. i save a ton of money on gas and parking. it’s fun, and hell, if you miss a day at the gym, you still have that bike commute to get some cardio in.