Long time away

Wow, it’s been a long time between posts. Health issues have been keeping me from riding much at all. I’m getting on the bike more now, and it’s a huge health benefit.

I’ll try to post regularly. I’m passionate about bike commuting here in Edmonton. I can come across as a bit of an evangelist (like a lot of bicycle commuters I’m afraid). My bike is my primary means of transportation, and I don’t drive (haven’t since the ’80’s).

Most people, it seems, think car first, and often car exclusively. I think that way about cycling. It’s natural. What bothers me is the “that’s just the way it is” attitude too often used to justify why bikes are second class, and an afterthought best considered after the “real issues” for most Edmontonians (drivers) are dealt with.

The tyranny of the majority can be only too real to bike commuters. One way to deal with it is to get more people out riding their bikes. On the street.

The number of Edmontonians commuting by bike has gone up a lot, even over the last few years. But there still aren’t enough people getting on their bikes and trying a commute, even a small one, by bike.

They have bikes. I see them on their balconies, and in their garages. The percentage of people who own a bike is actually pretty high. But the percentage who ride their bikes regularly is still woefully small.

What’s keeping more people from cycling? What’s stopping more people from riding the bikes they already have? What are the barriers to commuting by bike?

Regular, seasonal, and even occasional bike commuters know how it feels to bike instead of drive. A common thought is: “Why isn’t everyone doing this?”

Much of it is just a matter of getting people to try using their bike. Not just for recreation or the occasional Sunday ride through the river valley. But for a trip somewhere, maybe an errand, or running to the store to pick something up, a visit to a friends place, etc. Or, ahem, a trip to work and back.

In my experience once people try it they usually like it.

I’m going to be posting (and reposting) a lot of tips I’ve learned over the years commuting year ’round here in Edmonton. I encourage comments and appreciate anyone who posts their own tip. I won’t get into the whole bike vs car argument. It’s a waste of time and we’ve all heard it all before, so I’ll delete most of those posts.

Good to be back in the saddle again!

2 Responses

  1. Well, welcome back. Looking forward to hearing more.

  2. Glad to see you posting again, and riding again. I’ve been woefully negligent of my own blog, something I really need to rectify, but I have still been cycling regularly. =)

    I think fear holds a lot of people back from commuting by bike. There’s still a perception that it isn’t safe to ride with traffic. It’s always a challenge to change perceptions based on fear, even offering myself as living proof that I have been riding in traffic daily (during the non-winter months anyway) for about 7 years and have had no accidents to speak of.

    Feeling inexperienced can add to that fear, but this should actually be an easy transition for a driver who already (presumably) knows all the rules of the road and how to follow them. Even without that you just need a rudimentary knowledge of road signs, hand signals, and who goes first at a 4-way stop to get started and build your experience from there.

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