How Often Do You Ride a Bike?

| 8/4/2009 4:32:09 PM

Tags: question to readers, bikes, bicycles,

Riding a bicycle is a great form of green transportation. Getting around on a bike doesn’t consume any fossil fuels, and it’s great exercise, too. A bicycle is also a relatively inexpensive purchase — at least compared to a car or motorcycle. (Check out our tips for finding a great new or used bike.)

We’d like to hear more about your biking habits. How often do you ride a bike? Do you ride more for transportation or for recreation? Is your community bike-friendly, or is it hard to get around safely? Share your thoughts and any tips for less experienced bikers by posting a comment below.


m. gregory cantori_1
8/18/2009 9:11:10 AM

I've just completed 100,000 bicycle commuting miles in the Baltimore area. There's already lots of good info out there in making it a part of your life - Bicycling is actually one of the fastest modes of transit if you use effective speed as your indicator. Effective Speed is the speed of travel minus the time you worked to pay for that mode. Effective speeds for cars for an average salaried person is about 10-14mph and even less in urban areas. Bicyclists run around 12-17mph. Also bicycle riders are getting fitter while getting there whereas a motorist still has to find the time and money to exercise if at all. Lastly, I've calculated I've saved over $95,000 - money I've used to buy a cruising sailboat and land to retire on...I'm fitter, faster and financially free! All because I have too much fun on my bicycle! :)

8/8/2009 10:02:30 PM

I live in Franklin, TN. The good is that Franklin has a goal of being one of the top 25 green cities to live in and we have a transportation committee to try to help with that respect of it (although a lot of roads have the rubmle strips, I don't understand why they are on the side, that's anti-bike, but if they were in the middle of the lane, that would "wake" someone veering off either side of the road, but maybe sleepers never veer left?). I find that in general drivers here are pretty good (but could do better). For the most part, the "harassment" I get is people rolling down their windows and yelling "go lance". Some drivers honk coming up behind you, but I think that many do it to make sure you know that they're coming. Most drivers will swerve to keep clear of you (law in TN is that you aren't supposed to come within 3 ft of a cylclist, and in some parts, it's illegal to ride on the sidewalks, and you have to ride in the road (although in Chatanooga, the police dept thinks it's funny that a biker there was hit and killeed recently (, which is sad that this officer doesn't agree or stand with the law but would rather make light of someone getting killed. He and his buddies probably wouldn't laugh if others made fun of an officer getting shot and killed. But here in Franklin, it's pretty good I think. I work at home, so have no commute, but I bike for excersise about 5 days a week (about 100-150 miles / week). I think that if you respect other drivers, you get more respect. I always make eye contact with people coming up on cross roads, wave to thank people for giving me plenty of room, always stop at stop signs (which is the law). There will always be the naysayers and idiots that yell at you when they pass, but most are lard-butts that are probably on their way to get junk food to go

barbara mueller
8/8/2009 7:34:17 AM

after a stroke I'm confined to a large 3 wheeler. it's great I can still get to places and get excersise. though riding a 3wheeler is not as easy as you would think. extra room and patience is required from auto drivers.

8/8/2009 12:56:27 AM

Hi! I live in Oxnard, CA, and the weather here is really conducive to biking and walking. I live 3.5 miles from my work, and I try to either walk, or bike to work as much as I can. My neighborhood in Oxnard is great for walking, but it's not so great for biking. Along my route I have only one small stretch which actually has a dedicated bike path. When I bike, I have to concentrate completely on the traffic. When I walk, I can listen to NPR on my headphones, or sometimes I even memorize poems. That's something I'm afraid to do on my bike with all of the traffic. In short, biking in Oxnard would be a lot easier, safer, and more productive if we had bike paths along all of the major routes, or even better, on some of the quieter streets that parallel the major routes.

tim brady
8/7/2009 1:31:55 PM

We live in rural W. Tennessee. Would love to ride a bike but with most roads having no paved or gravel shoulders just 3' to 5' deep bar ditches with about 18 to 24 inches of grass before the solid white line, it's a case of taking your life in your own hands. Used to take a daily 3 mile walk along a short stretch of the county road in front of our house, but quite when a car almost clipped me and my waking partner. and the local county governments can't seem to see the benefit of putting wide shoulders in along these roads to accommodate bikes. But we keep working at it.

jim d
8/7/2009 1:14:15 PM

Keith, what planet do you live on? Assaults, insults, etc. aimed at the defenseless and weak have been part of human existence since moderns replaced Neanderthals – in this case the excuse could be gender or vehicle. I bike only in parks or paths. The folks who bike on the back roads in VA have more grit than I. As I drive and frequently encounter riders in my rural area, I have noticed encounters with bicyclers are made easier if they follow normal vehicle traffic rules as Cheryl mentions. They are also much easier to see when wearing high contrast clothing and running strobe lights – any time of day. Fairfax county in Northern VA has some of the best bike paths I know of, so bring your bike when you visit DC.

keith hallam_1
8/7/2009 10:13:30 AM

Hi Cristin. I'm presuming that there are 6 of you out riding together. I'm shocked that you are getting harassed.... unless that is, you have little regard for other road users and pedal along in a bunch rather than single file. Please tell us that you are responsible in your use of the road!!

8/7/2009 9:54:35 AM

I am a pretty devoted bike commuter. I average 4 days a week, year-round in Colorado Springs, CO. It takes a bit more preparation in the winter, but I think the health benefits and reduced fuel consumption are worth it. I also run errands on my bike on my way home and occasionally on the weekends. My town is somewhat bike friendly. There are more and more bike lanes being added, and our state recently passed some bike legislation that makes riding on the road safer for bikes. But there are still plenty of roads with no shoulder or bike lane. My suggestions for people who want to start bike commuting or running errands is to read up a bit on it first before you just head out. If your commute is long you may need to use public transportation as part of your commute. Also, you need to know how to dress for the weather, especially for winter. I do wear bike clothes (padded shorts, bike jerseys, bike gloves and helmet) because that is how I am most comfortable, and I can start out on a day that is 50 degrees in the morning and 85 on my way home. There is no way I'd want to wear my work clothes for either of those temperatures. I also have a big hill I have to go over in the middle of my commute, so I do get a bit hot & sweaty. You should also learn the rules of the road, and learn about vehicular cycling (how to ride your bike in traffic without getting killed). I use a combination of techniques when I ride to work because part of the way I have bike lanes, and for part none, and I have to ride through a busy highway on/off ramp area.There are a few good books available about safe road riding and lots of blogs and information on the web. I would also suggest planning your route for the least amount of traffic possible. Even if you have a bike lane on a busy road, it is much more fun and enjoyable to ride on a quiet street with no bike lane or a bike path. I also cannot stress visibility enough. You should have a good headlamp (either bike or hel

joergen andersen
8/7/2009 8:40:33 AM

Hi, I take the bike to the shop every day, and if I need to go near to visit friends and the weather is ok - I take the bike. Save gas, get better air, green energy - getting better health, but I wish there was speciel bike roads as in Europe - something to work on?

8/6/2009 12:28:15 PM

Since my wife and I purchased a second car, I ride a bit less than I used to. Still, I get out several times a week to run errands, pick up groceries, etc. The town we live in -- a college town in a decidedly "red" midwestern state -- is not too bad for cycling; there are some fairly wide streets, and it seems that most motorists are somewhat aware and tolerant of cyclists. However, I've had several close calls with motorists and there are precious few bike lanes. Here's a quick list of things that, to me at least, have made a difference in the safety and enjoyment of my biking experience: 1) keeping the bike -- particularly the chain and brakes -- properly maintained makes the ride quieter, smoother and safer; 2) fenders make riding in light to moderate precipitation feasible; 3) bright clothes and lights increase visibility to drivers; 4) wearing a helmet -- though it doesn't really reduce the risk of crashes -- will almost certainly significantly reduce head trauma in a wreck (anecdotally, a helmet saved my skull and its contents from a bad spill I took three years ago).

8/5/2009 7:19:54 AM

i live in a rural/suburban town. i ride mostly to and from work and to run local errands. i do some trails when i have the time. there is a VERY small bike "community" here. roads tend to be a little wider than in most cities, so thats nice. the roads are sometimes hazardous, but the biggest safety concern are motorists. they are not used to seeing many bikes on the road and sometimes become enraged. i've been run off the road,followed,had things thrown at me, and verbally harassed more times than i can count. each year it gets a little easier, i hope that is because people are starting to understand why the 6 of us are out there!

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