Bike Commuting Tips Part I

With the Emmet County Smart Commute just a few weeks away we thought it would be great to share some of our thoughts and tips about commuting by bike. Our staff has several year-round bike commuters and all of us ride to work regularly in the summer. If you would like to change your commute from four wheels to two we are happy to help.

Why do you commute by bicycle?

Joe: It’s sustainable and healthy. To me the idea of using fossil fuels to operate a 3,000+ pound vehicle just to move a sub 250 pound person is kind of gross.

Heidi: It’s fun.

Christian:  I hate cars.  Especially riding in them.

Spencer: I live 1 mile from work. My bikes are all nicer than my car.

Mike: I live in town and don’t own a car. That and it’s much more fun than driving.

Greg: I love bikes. Commuting keeps you outside, and brings beauty and fun to the otherwise mundane. Every day I ride my bike, I see things I never would’ve noticed if I was stuck in a metal box.

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Describe your commute? (route, distance, sights?)

Joe: I ride from Harbor Springs to Petoskey, about 11 miles. I use the Wheelway or Beach Drive. Sometimes I cut through the State Park to avoid the bad section on M-119.

Heidi: 6 or 7 miles on road and bike path. Nice to see birds turtles deer and the same sweet grandma walking her adorable dog everyday.

Christian: Downhill on the way in and the opposite on the way home.  Depending on my route, I cross a river, dodge traffic, sneak through alleys, cut parking lots, climb sidewalks and wave at everybody, all over the course of a short 1-2 mile ride.

Spencer: 1 mile through the hood and dodging homeless guys on the Bear River Trail.

Mike: Well, depending on how I’m feeling I have a couple options. One route takes me through the Waterfront Park and is nice and scenic. The other, less scenic route, is on the sidewalk along US 31. It’s not pretty, but if I’m running late it gets the job done.

Greg: I live at the top of Howard street, so I have a nice downhill to start my commute, and I can choose my own adventure. I can rip down Howard and use the lights at US31 (fast and dangerous), take the back roads through Spencer’s aforementioned “hood” (fun but slower), but my usual ride is down Sheridan and over the river to the Bear River Trail, and sneaking in some dirt riding whenever I’m not already late (fast, fun, and scenic).

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How often do you ride to work?

Joe: As often as I can. In the spring summer and fall I usually bike commute four days a week.

Heidi: When it’s over 50 degrees out in the morning.

Christian: I would like to say ‘always’, but the reality is about 96.7% of the time.

Spencer: Whenever I can/feel like it/don’t need to drive somewhere after work.

Mike: Every. Single. Day. (see photo below)

Greg: Whenever I’m feeling physically well, have a bike easily accessible, and have decent weather (and sometimes when the weather sucks).

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What bike do you commute on? (make, style)

Joe: I mix it up between my gravel road bike, 27.5+ bikepacking bike, cargo fat bike, and winter fat bike.

Heidi: Cruiser, commuter, cyclocross, pogo stick, hoverboard, slip and slide. Roller blading too.

Christian:  Three speed upright steel Detroit Bike with sway back bars most of the time.  Some sort of fat bike in the snowy/icy months.

Spencer: I have commuted on every bike I’ve ever owned. Some more than others.

Mike: Mostly on my Surly Troll since it can carry lots of stuff. I mix it up a bit in the summer months though.

Greg: My Surly Ogre, my 29er do-anything-and-carry-everything car replacement. I mix it up with a Surly Wednesday if the snow is really deep.

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Part II coming soon!

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