The weather is warming up, so we’re going to start seeing more people riding their bikes to work.
There’s no question that biking to work makes a lot of sense, especially if you happen to live near infrastructure that makes it easy (bike lanes, bike racks,etc.).
But, biking to work isn’t always easy or possible for everyone. So let’s have a fun look at the pros and cons of pedaling to the office.
You Get Exercise - I once had a friend who took up biking and he shed the calories so fast I thought he was suffering from a disease. Literally, I had to ask him if he was OK.
It’s Good for the Planet - Your carbon footprint is basically zero. Way to go, Mr. Green.
You Are Helping Reduce Congestion - Bikes take up less space than cars. That is all you need to know, really.
It’s Cheaper - Unless you get some super-expensive fancy bike, you’re going to spend less on commuting than you would if you drove or even took public transit. Perhaps the only cheaper method of commuting is slugging, but that’s for insane people.
It’s Pretty Darn Fun - Flying along on your bike is an absolute delight, isn’t it? I am filled with child-like glee when I ride a bike.
You Need a Bike - To bike to work, you need to obtain a bicycle. Bicycles cost money that you may not have. And you may feel pressure to purchase one of those hardcore road bikes that cost several thousand dollars. And you need to store it in your house somewhere and maintain the thing. Of course, you could use Capital Bikeshare or navigate the new world of dockless bikeshare. But that involves sharing, and the use of apps and whatnot. It’s all very intimidating.
You Need to Actually Be in Shape - Biking is exercise, and if you are a schlub who’s been avoiding physical activity most of your life, you can’t just hop on a bike and expect to cruise easily all the way to the office. You would get halfway to the office and you’d give up and call an Uber, and then get into an argument with the Uber driver as to whether he can fit your bike into his trunk. Is it really worth it?
You Need to Put the Bike Somewhere - So you arrive at the office and now you need to stash the bike. Are the bike racks in front of your office? Maybe, maybe not. Is there a basement locker you can put the thing in? Maybe, maybe not. You may have to be one of those people who has a bike in their cubicle. “Sorry, Maureen. Yes, we can meet in here. Let me move my Schwinn out of the way…”
Hauling the Thing on the Metro is a Pain in the Ass - Ok, if you’ve splurged and bought yourself one of those folding bikes, this isn’t as much of a problem. But we’ve all seen the skinny bearded dudes trying to wheel a full-sized bike onto a Metro car during rush hour. We HATE that guy, and he probably feels like a tool because he’s in everyone’s way, and he’s secretly thinking that it wasn’t worth the hassle.
It Can Take Absolutely Forever - Biking is fine if you live a few blocks away. But that dude who’s biking all the way in from Annapolis or wherever? He’s got a long ride. He’s getting up at dawn and riding that saddle and watching trains and cars whiz right by him.
You Can’t Take a Nap or Read or Listen to a Podcast - You have to pay attention. There’s no dozing off or catching up on Serial. You actually have to pedal and pay attention. No fun.
You Arrive Sweaty and Disgusting - This may not be a problem if your office has a locker room and showers, or if you have access to a gym shower nearby. If not, you’re changing in a bathroom stall and smelling delightful all day long. No fun.
You Need to Haul Your Work Clothes - This may not be a big deal if you have a casual dress code that lets you wear jeans and a polo. But stuffing a suit with dress shoes into your Camelbak is not easy.
Drivers Kind of Hate You - Some people aren’t really on board with the whole “share the road” concept. They’ll shove you off the road. They’ll honk at you. They’ll make fun of your bright spandex pants. They’ll drive in bike lanes without a second thought. Drivers are jerks.
You Could Die - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there are about 1,000 bicycle deaths per year and 467,000 injuries. Awesome!