Can’t stand your aggravating commute anymore? Bruce Gutman says the two-wheeled alternative requires a little stick-to-itiveness, but pays off with big benefits.

If you live within 15 miles of your office, you should bicycle to work.

Look, I’m not the earthy, crunchy type. I didn’t start this to make the world a better place.

About 12 years ago, I worked at a company where I had to pay for valet parking. It was $200 per month, but that wasn’t the worst of it. Every 4 to 6 weeks, I would find a new ding, dent, or scratch in my beautiful Audi. After they put a dent in the hood that would cost $2,000 to repair, I was done.

I went on craigslist and bought a bike. I went online and bought a helmet and some ugly clothing. Then, I started riding. 12 miles each way, 3 to 5 days per week.

For the first month, it was terrible.
For the second month, it was terrible.
For the third month, it was terrible.
By month 6, it moved from terrible to tolerable.

I discovered that I only needed to get my bicycle clothing on in the morning and I was committed. Once I was on the way to work, I had to keep pedaling. If I wanted to get home, I had to keep pedaling.

To ensure I would get my cycling clothing on and not allow the daily commute to become monotonous, I started doing a bigger ride each weekend with a friend.

To make myself stick with weekend rides, I started planning a big climbing ride or double century to keep my cycling on track. The risk of finishing behind my buddy was a powerful motivator.

Eventually, I found other benefits:
I avoid traffic; my commute always takes about the same amount of time.
I am the fittest I’ve been since high school.
I can do most physical activities without issue.
My blood pressure is excellent and my resting pulse is in the 50s.
I am calm when I get to work in the morning.
I am more effective at work.
And I burn off most stress by the time I get home at night.
Best of all, it is easy. I put my clothes in my backpack and shower at work: I don’t have to make time for the gym.

If you’ve been thinking about this: it will be hard, but it is worth it.

With a Perspective, I’m Bruce Gutman.

Bruce Gutman is manager in the software industry and lives on the Peninsula.

Work Cycle 11 January,2018Amanda Font

  • Curious

    Inspiring. I assume you have showers and change room at work?

    • Bruce Gutman

      Thank you. I am fortunate that I do.

      • Curious

        That makes a big difference. But still something to work towards.

  • Freddy Miller

    Thank your putting this together and sharing it over the radio. Cycling eliminates the stresses of traffic and while it can present different and challenging obstacles like that steep overpass you drive over normally. There are also many more rewards that also come out of the effort you put in as you mentioned in your audio piece. Break out of the regular routine of commuting and continue to pedal on.

    • Bruce Gutman

      Thanks!

  • laura

    I’m really happy that the author of this perspective has found something that works for him. But the privileges it assumes are breath taking. First, the bike, the clothes, the helmet. Not inexpensive. Free weekends for century rides. That’s a time many people are working their second job. A shower at work? Are you kidding? I was a nurse and there were no showers at work. Another issue the writer doesnt consider is children to drop off and pick up at childcare, obviously.

    And finally, the abelisim. I would love to ride a bike 15 miles. I would love to ride a bike any distance. In 2010, 19% of the population had a disability, per the census. That’s 1 in 5. Many disabilities are not visible and a lot of disabled folks work. And no, we don’t all get handicap placards. Even having a handicap placard doesn’t guarantee a handicap space, especially in the bay area.

    So, if you are among the people well off enough to buy a bike good enough to ride that far, and work somewhere that has a shower you can use, and your temporarily abled body can do this, i say save your beloved Audi some scratches and go for it. Just remember, as you pedal away, that not everyone can do what you are doing, and that it is a false calculus to believe they can. And, enjoy your ride. Truely. Life can change in an instant.

    • Curious

      Oh, lord. We should all walk around (or wheel ourselves around) flagellating ourselves.

      Everything is relative. What Americans experience as poverty is often great wealth in other countries. Heaven forbid the contributor should experience some happiness and achievement and share it.

      • Bruce Gutman

        Thank you.

  • pjkrupka

    Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your journey. Good luck.

    • Bruce Gutman

      Thanks!

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