I was given my first bike in 2009 for helping a guy move. Since then, cycling has been my primary means of transportation. For me it’s not about the environment, the money, or my health; I just love the freedom and lightness of cycling. I ride for fun. The money I don’t spend, the oil I don’t burn, and the high calorie food I eat every day? That’s all gravy.
It also means I get to take cheap vacations. Every year, I do a couple of long-distance unsupported bicycle tours. My longest trip was an eight-day solo ride, starting at my front door in Olympia, down through some of the best stargazing in northern Oregon. Then east, following the Columbia river, and finally north to Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Last summer I checked my bike through Alaska Airlines and rode all over Oahu.
Since starting at O Bee over five years ago, I’ve pretty much ridden to work every single day. Rain or shine, light or dark, Tumwater, Contact Center, Lacey, West Oly, Tenino, whatever, it’s all good.
It’s a perfect way to start the day. My morning bike ride helps me wake up and clear my head a bit before getting to work. It’s beautiful outside, get out there!
Want to join the fun? Here are three tips from me.
1. Get a bike that fits you from a reputable shop, and don’t be afraid to buy something used. New bikes are often sold with a lot of high-priced gimmicks, but there is nothing wrong with a well-made steel frame bike. I actually prefer steel frames to aluminum or carbon fiber. If you already have a bike, but maybe it’s got a few cobwebs on it, then get it tuned up and adjusted by a good bike tech. (Pro-tip: a good bike tech should be covered in grease)
2. Get a helmet that looks good on you! If you look like a dork then you’ll feel like a dork, and your bike will grow more cobwebs. Also: it protects your brain, so spend the money on something nice.
3. A regular backpack should carry everything you need. I ride with just a messenger bag. If that’s not enough space, look into a rack and some panniers.
Someone once told me, “there is no such thing as inclement weather, just improper attire.” Those are words to live by. Even in the summer the Northwest can sometimes get a bit wet, so it makes sense to pack a jacket and rain pants if the forecast looks iffy. A change of shoes in your locker isn’t a bad idea as well. That said, there’s nothing wrong with being a fair-weather cyclist. Watch for my next blog with tips on foul-weather commuting.