If you missed Part 1 check it out!
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. 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.
What’s the biggest challenge to being a bike commuter?
Joe: The car is always a temptation when you are late, my biggest challenge is making sure I leave on-time.
Heidi: I hate being cold. Layering is so important in N. MI since the temp WILL change throughout the day. If you want to bring a dog to work a car is easier too, unless they will ride in a trailer.
Christian: Allocating the extra 5-10 minutes that I need to get home on time (work is too fun to leave!! Not.)
Spencer: The other jerks driving cars. Watch out for those hosers.
Mike: For me the hardest bit is always weather. Being prepared with the appropriate clothing gets tricky in the spring and fall.
Greg: I’m going to agree with Mike and say weather. If it’s super cold or rainy I usually take my car.
Are you concerned about safety? If so what do you do to stay safe?
Joe: I feel pretty safe on the wheelway but I am always careful at driveways and entrances.
Heidi: I only feel unsafe when there are scary people, I’ve had some weirdness with questionable people behind Glen’s. I almost always feel safe here though. This is a low crime area for sure.
Christian: I feel pretty safe on my bike. I avoid traffic. I am, however, always bracing for a crash, or maybe they call that “spidey sense”.
Spencer: No. I’m safe as heck.
Mike: I’m not too concerned with my safety (while commuting at least). The scariest part is all the stroller zombies on the Wheelway.
Greg: I’m definitely concerned about safety and being noticed. I always wear a helmet and use a front and rear taillight when I’m riding. I’m a very defensive rider and try not to pass in front of cars if I haven’t made eye contact with the driver.
What’s one biking accessory that makes your commute better?
Joe: I have this cannondale long sleeve wind jacket that is about 7 years old and has always provided the perfect level of protection and breathability.
Heidi: Blackburn grocery bag pannier into which I can just toss my bag. So easy to haul my stuff! And stop for dinner ingredients and beer on the ride home.
Christian: My boombot speaker
Spencer: Neck buff.
Mike: My Wald basket mounted on a Surly 24-pack rack is the best. It allows me to carry 30 lbs. of whatever the heck I want.
Greg: Marmot precip gloves. They’re super light and packable, very water resistant, and have enough windproof properties to keep my hands warm with almost no insulation. Oh and my Ortlieb Panniers.
What tips/advice do you have for bike commuters in general?
Joe: Get a good bike that allows you to carry what you need and some clothing to help you be comfortable at various temperatures. It will definitely be more affordable than a car and all the associated maintenance and ownership costs.
Heidi: It’s fun and you can have some quiet alone time.
Christian: It will change your life in a very good way. Muscles will develop or tone in places where they never have before. You will be calmer. Try it, especially when it is raining!
Spencer: You don’t need to ride as fast as possible during your commute.
Mike: Give yourself enough time to take your time. Enjoy the ride.
Greg: Fenders, racks, lights, and the right clothing. If you’ve got a gear-related excuse for why you might not ride on a particular day, you’re not going to ride. Prepare your commute gear for any eventuality you might have while you’re out there.