Two years of bike commuting

Two years ago when the car insurance expired, we were in the middle of a tight patch financially. I didn’t want to fork out money for insurance, so I thought I’d try bike commuting. One thing lead to another, here I am, still bike commuting after 2 years.

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Early morning detour through Stanley Park on a stormy day

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The ridiculous amount of layers when it was -7c out.

My commute is easy in terms of:

  • Less than 5-km each way
  • Mostly on separate bike lanes (downtown Vancouver, Burrard bridge, Arbutus Greenway), parts on quieter shared roadways
  • Locker, hot shower, and towel service at work (a building managed by Oxford Properties)

Some days it feels like my commute is a bit too short, and I will purposely take the long way to make it a 10-km ride. And since I got tired of taking my pannier rack on and off the bike for commuting vs. gravel rides, I have ditched the panniers and rack in favor of a waterproof roll-top backpack. Adding a pair of winter riding shoes (warm and waterproof) this year has made me a much happier person.

I love riding my bike. I love the fresh air. I love sweating. I love the view over the Burrard Bridge. I love the view of False Creek when I take a detour. I love meeting a friend for dinner anywhere downtown and not worry about parking. I love the freedom. I love that I can hop off the bike and instantly become a pedestrian where the situation suits. I love that I can decompress before I go home.

I can go on and on and on.

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Of course, there is a little bit of this white stuff this winter.

It doesn’t take a lot to start commuting to work (assuming you are within a reasonable distance from work). I would say within 10-km one way is reasonable. I find any further than that, the level of commitment is higher. For longer commutes, you need better gear to make your life easier. My commute is so short that even if I had shitty gear, I’d be totally fine. That’s just my very personal opinion.

To get started, you need:

  • a bike
  • a helmet
  • a backpack
  • bike lights (front white light, back red blinky light)

When I first started, I had a $250 bike that was very old, a $50 helmet that made me sweat buckets, a general purpose backpack (to contain my lunch and change of clothes), and a $40 set of front and back lights.

Only when I decided that I love it enough to be in it for the long haul, I upgraded my gear.

If you are thinking of trying bike commuting, start small. Schedule in 2 days a week to commute on bike, and just see how it goes. You might just like it enough to ditch your car or your bus pass.

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Detour through False Creek

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Detour through Spanish Banks

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The usual view over Burrard bridge

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Great find on another detour.

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