'Park To Pedal': Drive, park, then bike. (Yeah. That'll work.)

Commute by Bike has been HuffPo’d!

Welcome, readers of The Huffington Post. We hope you enjoyed the article, “Bike To Work: Commute With ‘Park To Pedal’ Instead Of Driving All The Way” with it’s link to Tim Grahl’s article over here, “A Guide to a Simple Bike Commute.” And thank you for continuing to explore our site.

Bike To Work: Commute With 'Park To Pedal' Instead Of Driving All The Way
Screen Shot: The Huffington Post

Look at you there, reading this article that I wrote, when you could be back reading about the woman who faked having cancer to get money for her wedding and honeymoon.

(I just lost some of you. I should never have made that a link.)

Anyway, the whole “Park to Pedal” concept is interesting, but I see a flaw in it.

In theory, you drive halfway to work with a bike on your car (or in your car, if it’s a folding bike). Then you “park in a municipal lot (every city should have one) and then ride the rest of the way.”

But even the most committed of us know how hard it is to motivate ourselves to bike to work in the first place.

Tim Grahl’s article even confesses this reality:

Lets all be honest, weve had those mornings that we woke up with the full intention of riding the bike to work and once we saw the flat tire or realized we hadnt packed the night before, we grabbed for the keys instead.

And I’ll confess that I didn’t become a committed five-day-a-week bike commuter until the last car I owned blew a head gasket, and I decided to put it out of its misery.

Cars exploit our innate laziness. Our car-oriented culture is based on the premise that we’d rather be sitting on a mobile couch in a climate-controlled terrarium exerting no more effort than it takes to press a couple floor pedals and to turn a power-assisted wheel.

So there I am in a car. I’m cruising along. Got my favorite music on the radio. My butt has settled into my personal twin indentations on the bench seat. Up ahead is the turnoff to the municipal parking lot. And I’m supposed to stop, leave this comfy cocoon, and bike the rest of the way to work?

Aristotle said, “Well begun is half done.” He also said, “There’s no way in Hades you are going to stop this car when staying in it means you’ll still have time for a doughnut before your meeting this morning.”

Who has that kind of self discipline?

I’m a believer in the adage, It’s easier to avoid temptation than to resist it. Once I’m in a car, the battle against temptation has been lost, and temptation is gloating, wiggling it’s butt in my face.

If I had that kind of self discipline, I would have stuck with my gym membership.

Ah! Maybe that’s who this will work for: The kind of people who stick with their gym memberships; the kind of people who realize the absurdity of driving to a spin class on the way to or from work. If this is you, then you are on your way to realizing the absurdity of driving to a spin class ever.

So, Huffington Post link clicker, let me not discourage you. If you can make this “Park to Pedal” idea work, you are a more strong-willed person than I am. Check out our Commuting 101 section, you’ll like it.

And if you’re more like me (weak-willed and lazy) be sure to read “The Slackers Guide to Bike Commuting.”

Congratulations! You made it to the end of an article written by a nobody like me. Maybe you do have what it takes to be a bike commuter. I won’t take up any more of your time, because now it’s time you learn “Why Barbra Streisand, at 70, Is Still the Greatest Star.”

Come on back anytime. We’re here to help.

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16 thoughts on “'Park To Pedal': Drive, park, then bike. (Yeah. That'll work.)”

  1. Karen says:

    Congratulations, Commute by Bike. I love Huffington Post and am most impressed they gave you a plug.

  2. Ray Lovinggood says:

    I resemble your remarks…

    One early morning as I was running slightly late and had just finished with getting the bike’s rack pack all packed and ready for the commute, I found the rear tire flat. Already flustered from being a bit late (I ride the bike to a bus stop, and I wanted to catch the bus), the only recourse I could think of was “car keys”. And I drove to work. Antoher option that I had but didn’t think of: Grab the road bike and use it. Yea, I would have to wear those stupid “clippie” shoes and I would have to stuff my office clothes in a back pack rather than strapping them to the rack on the commuter, but I didn’t even think of that. In other words, I wimped out. While I try not to drive the car during the week, I will still fall victim to its siren song from time to time. Temptation! That car, even though it’s a seven year old Subaru, is still a “money suckin’ vampire” Next flat tire I have, I’ll know to just settle down and get the other bike.

  3. Phillip Ness says:

    FYI the last recommendation on the “Slacker’s Guide to Bike Commuting” is to drive halfway. Unless that was the point?

    1. Ted Johnson says:

      That’s hilarious. But no, that wasn’t the point. I guess it’s been awhile since I read the entire article. That article is also by Tim Grahl, who apparently is in a different class of slacker than I am. In fact, I think anyone who can pull off “park to pedal” is unworthy of the slacker label.

  4. BluesCat says:

    Boy, I’m glad it’s not just me who’s a Wimpy Bike Commuter.

    I may write a book entitled Strategies for Avoiding Getting on Two Wheels. Sounds like it’d be a best seller!

    Wish I woulda thought of that “I’d like to have a dream wedding for cancer takes me” angle. I bet Mrs. Cat would have gone along with it.

  5. Mark H says:

    If you’re the kind of person who has no problem driving to the gym to use a bike or treadmill, I don’t see how driving to bike is much different.

    Likewise if you’re used to driving to the (hiking or mountain biking) trails or to the starting point for a group ride on the weekends.

    I do a variation of that theme: When the kid is running late again for school, I drive there (it really is too far away to walk- if we have an extra ten minutes, we’ll bike), drive back home, then bike to work. This works since I have to drive past home to get to work anyway.

  6. sean says:

    We have an VP in our office who will drive to work with his bike in his car, leave the car overnight and ride the 45km home that night and ride back the next morning. He has cut his amount of driving in half and manages to get a longer commute ride in. Same concept and works for him.

  7. Tom Bowden says:

    Someone should do a little math to see what the crossover point is in doing the combined drive-park-bike vs the all bike or all drive. it doesn’t take much fumbling around with your bike rack, changing shoes, whatever at the transition stage (that’s a triathlete thing right) to lose whatever advantage you gained by driving the first half. Not to mention how often you will leave something in your car and only realize it as you’re locking up your bike. Still, all in all, I say people should try whatever they need to try to make bike commuting work for them – as little or as much as they like.

  8. DeVon says:

    I live a fair distance from work—25 miles. The first 8.5 miles are not suitable for cycling because the road is hilly, narrow, and has a 55 MPH speed limit. At mile 8.5, however, the road intersects with a linear park system and there is a parking lot right at that intersection. I routinely drive to the lot and cycle the rest of the way through the park. I could not commute by bike otherwise. Mixed mode makes a lot of sense to me.

  9. Sbach says:

    I’m with DeVon. I’ve started driving 1/2 and then biking 2x a week and I work at home 2x a week also. I’m 29 miles round trip so it’s not really practical for me to do the full trip on a 50 pound bike. I’m also concerned about the riding on the section I drive now with curvy roads and no shoulders. I’ve thought about electric bike, but who’s got the money for one of those. Now if I could find a wheel that doesn’t break a spoke on every trip it might be easier to add that 3rd day to my bike commute!

  10. Adam says:

    dang Ted, it really sounds like you don’t actually like riding your bike to work. Why do you do it?

    1. Ted Johnson says:

      One of the truisms of bike commuting is that no matter what motivational problems you may have, you never regret doing it.

  11. Microzen says:

    Unfortunately for me my commute is 56 miles one way. I don’t really see the point of driving for 40 minutes only to still have an hour’s ride before work. I wish I were in the shape to do the full ride once in a while & have thought many times about driving part of it. Where I live & work, there is almost no transit to speak of, so it is mostly drive or don’t work. I do occasionally bring my foldie in the car to bike on my lunch break. But those short hurried rides will never get me into shape for a 56-mile one-way commute 🙂

  12. kdt says:

    This obviously depends on where you live; for example, I’m in the NYC area where driving all the way in to Manhattan (versus parking somewhere in Queens) can add another hour or more to your commute, not to mention the extra expense. For me, driving part way and then taking transit or riding makes sense. In a less urban area, however, with fewer time and monetary penalties for driving all the way, it becomes a harder-sell proposition. My firm belief is that the easier you make it to commute by bike, the more commuter cyclists you’ll get. So any alternative that reduces driving and gives someone a rational way to ride is welcome.

  13. Stefan says:

    Greeting from Europe! I live in the rural Alps and work in a major city. My daily commute would be 60 miles a day (not much in American terms but much in European). The main problem is that I would have to cross the entire city by car. This is really nerve wrecking. Therefore I park my car at the city border (35 min car drive to get there; no speed limit on our motorways) and ride the remainder on my bike (45 min). I’ve been doing this for years now, even in winter. This allows my family to live in one of the nices spots of the world, me to work in the big city, and to get my daily exercise.

  14. Sally Hunt says:

    Yeah, that DID work for me. I live outside of town, 18 miles from my work with a mile of gravel road, a highway (no shoulders, cars going 60mph) and a big hill between me and the easier in-town bike route to work. So I started parking at the park and ride and going the 7 miles to work by bike from there. I never did “just keep driving” and no, I am not the type of person with iron willpower AT ALL, I just like riding my bike. That was a little more than 3 years ago. Once I started, I kept going all year (rain, cold, whatever). In the summer I do ride from home, maybe 3 times a week (the hill is a blast to ride down in daylight). Now with it being rainy/dark/foggy in the morning (and soon to be at night) I sometimes will park at the grange 2 miles from my house to avoid the death trap highway in the dark and bike the 16 miles from there. I would have NEVER gotten to this point without first starting with the park and bike. I now bike everywhere I can and have logged almost 6,000 miles so far this year, most of it from my commute, sometimes from home, sometimes partway, sometime from the park and ride. I’m all for whatever works and whatever gets people on bikes because once they start, they may get hooked, as I did.

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