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No Shower, No Problem

Think back to when you were a kid. Did you enjoy getting stuck in a car more than the riding your bike through the neighborhood? Then why do we default to cars as adults?

Maybe we shouldn’t and a lot of us are taking that to heart and commuting by bike to work.

There are many reasons people commute by bike. MANY. For the love of the environment, ease of parking, fiscal responsibility, workout opportunity are among some of the reasons.

Some bikers never commute. They ride only for fun and fitness. And that is ok too- biking is awesome for many reasons to many people and I welcome everyone to the road however they see fit.

I do commute to work by bike everyday for all the reasons mentioned but the main reason is for my children. I ride to show them you can do ‘it’ and the world is not just about getting from A to B by car. You can make a difference, you can do something both good for you and others AND you can share your love of biking with those you love most. Kids really do emulate their parents and the more active you are, the more active they will be in their lives.

As recently as 2013, transportation contributed more than half of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, and almost a quarter of the hydrocarbons emitted into our air (citing Roughly only one percent of commuting trips to work are by bike (Bike Commuting Statistics). But this is growing and YOU can make it grow further!

Commuting by bike is GROWING!
Commuting by bike is GROWING!

Imagine if every 1 in 10 of the cars you see on the road commuted to work at least twice a week. Imagine the investment in bike infrastructure you would be given due to the demand. Think about the quality of life, work achievements (#8 Tips for Unleashing Creativity at Work ), cleaner air and lower traffic you would have.


Now, biking to working AND being a parent IS NOT easy. Getting them to school, getting you to work and getting back home in time before sundown seems almost insane if you add biking.

Depending on how far you live from work you could face quite a trip. BUT according to the commuting statistics most people travel 15miles or less to work. This distance is do-able in 45min and provides a nice 1h 30min+ work out daily. Even just 2 times a week.

This biking would enable you to quit your gym membership AND there is chance you could ride to school with your children (Tips for Biking to School). Your kids would get more time outdoors, benefits from the exercise (Kids and Physical Activity) and get a chance to really see their neighborhood(s) maybe for the first time.

So is it easy- NOPE. Is it possible- YES! Why should you even try if it isn’t easy? Because it matters- to you, your health and your kids.

Don’t know where to start?

There are a LOT of tips for commuting. One for example is Bike Commuting which discusses new routes, tools to take are discussed here with tools to take riding with kids and absolutely applicable for your commute into work.

Seasonal Commuting By Bike Temperature Compass
Seasonal Commuting By Bike Temperature Compass

Here are a few pointers:

1.) Leave the laptop at work if you can. Remote in to your computer if possible from your home computer and ask your company if they don’t have this option to add it (this would make it safer for the company too not having assets offsite).

2.) If you have to drive into work- do it on Monday. Get the kids to school a little earlier, pack everything you can for the week- food, clothes, soap, towels, etc in the car to take to work.

3.) Do NOT forget deodorant.

4.) Do NOT panic if you cannot shower. You can still clean up after the ride. Shower or bathe at night before and using a wash cloth and soap of your choice (nice smelling is helpful) you can bath just enough to get through the day.

5.) Consider going minimalist to none on the makeup if you are a woman- some jobs may not allow this but for those that do this may help you liberate off makeup and lighten your load on your pocket book and your skin.

6.) Do NOT panic. You don’t even have to take of these recommendations. As long as you bike – it will benefit the whole family and you will see it.

7.) Know that more people are joining you. They are riding more and some cities may see the rise in bike commuting than other BUT just maybe by see you on the bike you have inspired others to join.

8.) Tell EVERYONE you know you bike. Tell them bikers need 3ft by law and 5ft courtesy when passing. This will matter when you are on the roads. Now people can put a face with the bikers out there and that IS power. You will have influenced a vast amount of drivers to respect bikers without even realizing it.

9.) Find a co-worker or friend if possible to commute with to help for safety and motivation. Bike clubs are a good way to reach out to find contacts and your company may even reward biking so motivating co-workers may be easy than you would think.

10.) SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY. Lights (rear and front), mirrors and reflective clothing preferably fluorescent colored . And eye gear PLUS be aware ALWAYS. Ride defensively.

The hardest parts of biking to work with kids is time. It may take you a little longer during the day so you may need some flexibility to work from home or on the weekend when the kids are asleep. This may sound like a lot to give up BUT each day you commute you are not having to spend extra time without the kids driving to work or the gym or biking on the weekend while the kids hang with a babysitter.

YOU and the KIDS CAN then bike together on the weekends and hone you biking skills to go to school during the week. You CAN talk about why you ride and how much better it is than driving and you CAN inspire you kids to aspire for more and challenge what is normal.

This all just from changing your commute from drive time to bike time!

Change the world from your garage- one family at a time!

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The Perfect Commuter Bike : Type of Parts

Shimano UltegraIf you are just stopping in on our Group Build of the perfect commuter bike let’s catch you up. After introducing who will be riding the bike, the overall landslide of bicycle frame choice was a Surly Long Haul Trucker. As I’m building this bike out of pocket I decided to buy the stock built bike. This stock build comes with bar end shifters, even though the poll showed STI shifters to win the debate. I plan on keeping the bar end shifters as the thought of a STI shifter breaking in the middle of the Blue Ridge Parkway is frightful, plus I would rather update other things like the headset or seat and seatpost than put another $200 into shifters.

This leads into the next question, what type of components would you run on your perfect commuter bike? As I’ve stated, I’ll be leaving the stock build alone for the most part but let’s see what you guys would put on your perfect commuter. I’ve started a list of standard Shimano parts, but feel free to add your own.


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The Perfect Commuter Bike: Which Bicycle Frameset

Quickly recapping the series in which we are trying to build the perfect commuter bike for myself. We have discussed what makes a good commuter bike, who the target audience is and which style of bike would be best. As the touring style seems to be a big hit let’s now discuss which touring bike.

Quickly I put together a list of bikes you all mentioned. Please add ones that you have used or like as well.



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The Perfect Commuter : Bike Type

If you are just stopping in on our Group Build of the perfect commuter bike let’s catch you up. We had an introduction post, a follow up about what type of person will be riding this bike it is now time to move on to what type or style of bike we will be going with.

Remember that we can adapt each type of bike to go one way or another with the style, but what would be the easiest and most affordable to start off with.


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A Group Build of Building Your Perfect Commuter Bike

Over the next couple weeks you the readers and I will be walking each other through the process of building up a commuter bicycle. This isn’t only going to be a how to, but also going to go through the questions you need to ask yourself as you are building or picking out a bike for daily use. From the position you want to be in, if you want to carry things to the look and feel of the bike. Along the way I’ll keep some boundaries, mainly to keep this affordable out of my pocket, but keep an open mind as well.

Now go test ride, ask yourself what you want out of a commuter bike and come back tomorrow to read our introduction on who the rider will be (me!)

Phase 1 : Bicycle Type
Phase 2 : Which bicycle frame/fork
Phase 3 : What type of shifting
Phase 4 : What type of components
Phase 5 : What type of lights
Phase 6 : Fenders or no fenders
Phase 7 : How to carry your belongings
Phase 8 : Putting it all together.

Also, read all post using this link to our tag system for the Group Build.