The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.Iris Murdoch
I was a frequent bike commuter in Chicago and Atlanta, and I’m excited to try biking in Seattle. Murdoch is right: bikes are the best way to get around urban areas.
First, they’re fast. In Chicago, I routinely overtook buses on my way to work. Bike lanes are never congested, so in moderate traffic, bikes are even faster than cars.
Second, they’re cheap. You can get a bike for less than one month’s payment of car insurance, and it only takes a few dollars a month to maintain. If you don’t want to buy a bike outright, some cities have bike share programs for about the same price ($100 for one year of membership). That’s even cheaper than public transit!
Third, they’re convenient. Parking is always free (if you can find a bike rack, which is usually not too difficult). You can work on your own schedule without worrying about missing the train. Bike share programs are especially convenient, because you don’t need to worry about bike maintenance or theft, and you don’t need to plan ahead to get your bike where you need it to be.
Fourth, they’re good exercise. Get your (low-impact) cardio while you get to work! (If your commute is longer than three miles, it helps to have showers at your destination.)
Finally, they’re good for the environment. Muscle power is a very renewable resource.
Making the transition to bicycle commuting isn’t entirely easy. It’s important to know how to be safe, and it’s useful to know basic bike maintenance. In future entries, I hope to talk more about some of these tips and tricks.