Happy New Year bike commuters, and would-be bike commuters!
I asked some of our contributors to send me their resolutions for 2012, this is what I got back:
Has it been two, three or four years ago that we sold our other car and became bike commuters? In any case, since then, as a bike commuter, I found myself happier, a more productive worker and someone who is more adventurous in exploring his city as well as when traveling to other cities.
For some reason, the snow/cold has a psychological affect upon me that stops me from bike commuting during the winter months. This doesn’t make sense as on the weekends I’m found cross-country skiing in much colder and snowier weather.
I want to be happy again!
With new panniers to carry my work clothes and purchasing long underwear and new, cold weather outerwear, in 2012 I resolve to become a four season, bike commuter. Yes, with icicles hanging on my goatee, I will pedal aside a car and peer inside at the driver sipping on a travel mug with warm coffee, only to think, “This guy has no idea what he is missing! Drone.”
- Continue to spiff up the Sprite â€“ Running smooth with new Velo Orange BB and Index Shifter
- Pimp Personalize the Roadster
- Explore Genealogy of Sir Frank Bowden â€“ Founder of Raleigh Bikes (Who knows?)
- Ride my drop-bar bikes once in a while
- Build the kayak trailer I keep re-inventing in my head
- Score more equipment reviews for Commute by Bike
- Meet more celebrity bike commuters
- Learn how to braze chrome-moly steel
- Build tadpole trike with newly learned brazing skills
- Convert at least one cager motorist to bike commuting
- Make lots of new connections at Bike Summit 2012
- Refine my Andy Clarke impression â€“ thereby scoring special access to all the cool parties at Bike Summit 2012
- Score major swag at Bike Summit 2012 (need more blinkies!)
- Get a Republican sponsor for Virginiaâ€™s 3-foot passing bill
- Ride in Bike Virginia Tour
- Ride Cap to Cap Bike Tour
- Ride MS 150
- Do more Fat Tire/Urban Assault/Whiffle Ball/Wine Sampling events
- Improve Bike Commuter Report (online paper at Paper.li)
- Plan major bike expedition
For 2011, my resolution was pretty generic. I declared that I wanted to ride more, both for transportation and for pleasure. Iâ€™m far from perfect (really far, depending on who you ask), but I did make fewer excuses to skip a ride and logged more miles this year than I have in quite a few years. I also attended the National Bike Summit and became a League Certified Instructor, so my resolution to continue supporting cycling overall went pretty well, too.
But enough about me. This year, dear readers, my resolution is for you. In 2012, I resolve to write more. I have had a bit of a whirlwind year, traveling an unexpected but much appreciated amount for Revolution Cycles. I experienced everything from Interbike to Dealer Camp to the Seagull Century (that one was part of the â€œride moreâ€ resolution) and more. Unfortunately, I was too busy doing stuff (or sleeping or drinking a beer after doing stuff) to share all of my cycling-related enlightenment. So, beginning January 1st, I vow to write more. I canâ€™t promise that Iâ€™ll drink any less beer, but I can promise that Iâ€™ll spend more time pecking away at my keyboard, recording the more interesting aspects of an industry of which I feel very fortunate to be a part.
I ride almost every day. So making a resolution about “riding more” is, for me, pretty silly.
I’ve often said that Phoenix should be a â€œBicycling Meccaâ€ since we have over 300 sunny days per year, but the city is much friendlier to automobiles than bikes or pedestrians.
I work for an engineering firm which has transportation infrastructure design and construction as one of its primary practices. This provides me with a perfect forum for promoting more bike facilities in our town.
Some of you may also be aware of my exchange, in 2010, with a Phoenix policeman who was inexcusably unaware of the rights of bicyclists to the roadways.
In 2012, BluesCat resolves to work towards making Phoenix, Arizona a more bicycle-friendly place by encouraging the people within my industry to promote the construction of more bicycling infrastructure, demanding more enforcement of the laws regarding the rights of cyclists, and providing more education to the citizenry, the elected officials and the police about the advantages and challenges of cycling in Phoenix.
Pretty tall order, eh?
My resolution for 2012 is to become car free by the end of the year. Although my wife and I own a car, I rarely use it – only if the weather is terrible or I need to haul something from the hardware store or to get groceries. I plan on getting a cargo bike and ditching the car completely. I’m still up in the air about what kind of bike to get, but it’s always exciting to look for a new bicycle!
I donâ€™t usually make New Yearâ€™s Resolutions. If Iâ€™m going to commit to a positive change, the time to begin is now rather than delaying until the new year. However, since Ted is providing this very public forum for my endless ruminations, I wonâ€™t look a gift horse in the mouth. Asked to come up with a New Yearâ€™s Resolution, Iâ€™ll offer three:
- Get it right the first time. By that I mean, donâ€™t waste time and money with bikes and bike products that donâ€™t offer everything I want. Rather than making emotional bike or bike gear/accessory decisions, I vow to do my homework by researching and testing products before I purchase. I thought Iâ€™d been doing this all along but I really havenâ€™t. Iâ€™ve been considering upgrading some of my bikes but more recently, Iâ€™ve been questioning my reasons for doing so. Will new bikes (as opposed to merely upgrading components or accessories) actually solve a problem or need or does it just attempt to resolve some other issue completely unrelated to bike commuting? People try to resolve internal issues by continually trading in cars for shinier models. Is it possible I am trying to do the same through my bicycles?
- Dress like I mean it. Ted often refers to me as Commute by Bikeâ€™s resident fashionista; Mikael Colville-Anderson has my blog, She Rides a Bike, linked to his cycle chic blog; and I like to think I dress fashionably on my bike. Lately though, I feel like Iâ€™ve been letting Ted, Mikael and myself down and not keeping up to standards. Rather than jump on every foolish fashion trend, I intend to make more considered decisions about the clothes I purchase and what they say about me, especially since they are in full view when Iâ€™m on my bike. Aside from the economic benefits of bike commuting, I choose to bike commute for its simplicity and elegance. For many people, particularly women, nothing sells bike commuting better than cyclists in simple, elegant dress. If I canâ€™t wear it on a bicycle, it probably doesnâ€™t pass the simple and elegant test. I want to be a good spokeswoman for biking in style. Are you listening JCrew?
- Nowhere in the cycle chic world does it say that one canâ€™t exercise simplicity and elegance in inclement weather. My inner voice whines, â€œOoooh, but Iâ€™ll get wet and cold and splashed on.â€ Time for a re-frame. One can be a fashion icon without being a ninny! I vow to take control of rain and snow rather than letting it control me. I will no longer have a love-hate relationship with precipitation by investing in quality (hopefully fashionable) rain gear and studded tires â€“ perhaps not today but within the next 12 months. Other bicycling fashionistas pedal through rain and snow so there is no reason why I cannot as well. Itâ€™s only water; hardly an insurmountable barrier.
So there you go. My bike commuting resolutions for 2012. Of the three, the last resolution will be the most challenging. If anyone has a line on fashion forward rain gear, please drop me line.
1. Bike more, weigh less: When I first started biking to work in Boston four years ago, I lost 35 pounds in body weight in under a month by simply biking to work (usually running late from class, as fast as my legs could muster).
In the past month, my daily bike commute has been cut in half while two major holiday seasons have had me consuming twice as much food as usual. As a result, the panting of my lungs now sounds and feels like a 19th century steam engine locomotive climbing Mount Everest. It’s about time I have some good reasons to consciously bundle up and ride my bike more.
2. Drum-bike everywhere again: A few years ago I discovered a hidden talent of mine: that I can play the bucket drums safely while riding my bicycle everywhere Boston and that people loved it. Suddenly I was starting impromptu dance parties and getting stopped by strangers telling me how the sound of my passing rhythms heard while in class, at work, and even the toilet made them smile and think how much more wonderful the city would be with more music.
This year I learned that riding five-mile morning bike commute and working long hours leaves little energy for drumming. However, now that I have half the commute and twice the fat to burn, I have no excuse to drum again on my bike commutes. Making music in the urban outdoors is making a comeback, and starting this year, so will drum-biking in Boston.
3. Give back to local bicycling advocacy:
Biking in Boston has contributed so much to my well-being over the past four years, itâ€™s time for me to give back to the organizations that have made this possible. Since graduating college and working real jobs that suck up a lot of my time and energy, I’ve been blogging about advocacy from the sidelines. Now that I’ve figured out how to better manage my time and energy, it’s time for me to get back in the game by blogging more and staying in touch with local bike advocacy dialogue to help make Boston a place that you and everyone will want to bring your kids to explore by bicycle.
Melanie Meyers Colavito
For 2012, I resolve to let the car sit in the driveway for so long that the battery needs to be jumped from lack of use. That happened to me once. It was cool.
I resolve to continue trying to ride more in inclement weather. I rode in some really bad rain to campus one day in 2011 and whined the whole time. So in 2012, I resolve to still ride to campus the one day in Tucson that it pours for 24 hours straight, and I will not complain.
I will wear my neat rain suit, too.
I resolve to ride more at night.
In 2011, my hubby surprised me a hip little Trek Belleville with dynamo hubs and everything. Then, we added another dynamo light to the front. So given that I have nice bike lights, and since I’m trying to leave the car in the driveway until the battery dies, I guess I’m going to have to give up that pesky inclination to drive once the sun goes down.
I resolve to keep working on (and maybe even finish) a book from Utility Cycling. It’s going to be awesome.
Lastly, I have some cool plans to revamp and re-imagine Women’s Bike Talk, the goal of which will be to help encourage and empower women’s cycling, but you’ll just have to check back there later for more details!
In 2012, my goal is to eliminate using a car or my pickup for around town trips. With having prototypes of the Really Big Wandertec BONGO Trailer around, and hooking it up to an Electric Bike, I can move pretty much anything that I would normally use my small pickup for.
Just two resolutions — or only one if it doesn’t count when you carry over the previous year’s resolution.
First, I’m really going to start doing more grocery runs. This year I totally mean it.
Secondly, although this doesn’t have much to do with bike commuting, I’m going to start enjoying cycling again on my days off. Although I bike commute almost every single day, I rarely go on… What do you people call them again? Rides. Yes, I am going to go on rides. This involves two sub-resolutions:
2A: I’m going to fix up my old Schwinn Varsity into my ultimate commuting bike. Currently it’s little more than a frame, so there is much gear to acquire, and much to learn. Once I’ve done that…
2B: I’m going to convert — or do I mean revert — my old mountain bike back into a mountain bike; take off the bike rack, the fender, and any other accessories that make my bike the least bit practical.