Friday 28 June 2013

Changing Routines ....

I used to bike a lot back home in Germany. And even when I moved to Waterloo in 2005 I started of with biking. Then came the car and I got lazy … well … not really, cause I do work out a fair bit. Through this Bike2Work Challenge, however, I realized that it was mostly my routines that kept me from cycling. A lot of what we do every day is based on routines; they are what makes us efficient. On the other hand, when we attempt things that we haven't done before or at least not in a while, they tend to take longer. And that's what got me!

I'm a morning person: I like to get up and get going. But often, if I woke up on a nice day and spontaneously decided to bike, just getting all my stuff ready and out of the house took me too long and got me all frustrated. I'd do it once or twice, then give up and go back to my old routines of driving instead. So if you are thinking about biking to work in the (hopefully near) future, here is my advise:
  • Don't do it spontaneously! Plan and prepare for it instead:
    • Get your bike tuned up by one of the local bike stores!
    • Get all your biking accessories (lights, panniers, rain jacket, …) ready!
    • Take what you need at work (toiletries, towel, …) ahead of time!
    • Pack your lunch and clothes for the day the night before!
    • Plan in some extra time in the morning!
  • Do a dry run the day before you start:
    • Prepare and collect everything you intend to take the next day!
    • Pack your panniers: Play with different variations of what to store where and try to balance the weight!
    • Hop on the bike and go around the block! Once back home, leave what you can on or near the bike; but put your lunch in the fridge :-)
    • Now, the next morning, all you need to do is change into your cycling clothes, grab your lunch box, hop on your bike and off you go ….
  • Don’t just do it once or twice! Commit to it! For at least a week or 2, better a month:
    • The first couple of days, you will likely need some extra time to get ready in the morning and bike to work. Plan for that and don't get frustrated over it!
    • Keep going and fine-tune your morning routine and commute (nicer/faster routes?)!
    • As you go more regularly, you will notice how your new routine gets smoother and soon you'll find that it doesn't take much longer to bike to work at all. So keep it up!
This Challenge was exactly what I needed: A commitment to bike to work not just randomly, but consistently for a couple of weeks. Now that I've developed a slightly different morning routine, I find I'm just as quick biking as taking the car. And my 11km commute by bike is really just a few minutes longer. So when are you changing your routine?!?
Happy riding, Chris

If you’re reading this blog, you could win a free bike by completing the BikeKitchener cycling survey. Fill it out online at #BikeKitchener

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