Friday 28 June 2013

Final thoughts

The past four weeks have flown by!  However, in that short period of time cycling to work has become a part of my normal routine and something I honestly look forward to each day.  Sure, riding requires more physical effort and better time management, but it’s so worth it. Every time I cycle to work, I get the chance to spend more time outdoors, feel more energized, less stressed and make an eco-friendly decision I feel good about. Did I mention I also get to fly down a hill really fast on my ride into work? ( FUN!!!)

This challenge has definitely inspired me to keep cycling to work and I hope that the collective experiences of the Bike2Work gang inspire others to try cycling to work.  For anyone interested in trying it out, I strongly encourage you to give it go.  I recently learned that the median commuting distance to work is only 5.8 km in the Waterloo Region.  My trek is a little under this distance and doesn’t require that much extra time commitment.  By car my commute is about 8-10 minutes and by bike it’s almost always under twenty minutes.  If you’re like me maybe you have an extra ten minutes!  
Here’s a couple things I’ve learned and some of my favorite things about riding:

  • Traffic : Truthfully, I haven’t had many issues with motorists over the last month.  However, I have noticed that I’m very cautious at two way-stop intersectionsThat’s usually where I encounter the “rolling stopper”, the driver who doesn’t truly stop and instead rolls through the intersection.  Take caution when you encounter the rolling stopper!  
  • Time management : Bad weather doesn’t make or break a ride for me, but bad timing certainly does.  My least favorite (and most stressful) rides are when I’m running late and counting the minutes.  When I give myself a nice chunk of time to get to work, my ride is much, much more enjoyable
  • Don’t sweat the sweat : What I mean is don’t let a little sweat deter you from biking. Wear cool, light clothes on your ride, have a water bottle, and pack your work clothes and a Dopp kit so you can freshen up at work.  Also, consider getting to work a little early so you have time to cool down if it’s a really hot day.

  • It’s all about the small stuff : On one of my rides I encountered someone playing a trumpet in an empty parking lot.  On almost any given ride I see goofy dogs and cute kids. I now know which streets are home to really beautiful gardens or lined with sweet smelling trees.  Riding a bike brings you close to lots of small delights, so be sure to keep your eyes, ears, and nose open to all that goodness.  
Beautiful evening sky on my ride home

  • All hail the panniers : Panniers are my new favorite best friend and are great for carrying all your extras and a bike lock.  I also know that they can be pricey, so if you’re crafty (or somehow who is!) be sure to Google “DIY panniers” for some ideas on how you can make your own.  
  • Disconnect : On days when I work and then come home to an evening’s worth of schoolwork, I put in a lot of computer time. I know all the screen time isn’t healthy, so my rides on those kind of days are especially golden since they feel like my only chances to “disconnect”. 
I want to send a HUGE thank you to the City of Kitchener and Ziggy’s for putting on this challenge and for the amazing bike.  This has been such an incredible experience and everyone involved has so kind and helpful.  I am so grateful I was a part of this year's Bike2Work Challenge!
- Kristin J.  

Well looky there, my odometer is at 458 km and it's only the end of June!
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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