Bruce Gutman

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.