I have been watching the site statistics over the limited lifespan of this blog and have been pleasantly surprised about how many page views my posts have accumulated. In the spirit of not coming off as a complete narcissist, I would like to provide some “credentials” for why I think that I have earned (or at least am in the process of earning) the title of BCBiker.
In my opinion, a blog is only as useful as the expertise that the author can provide. I browse upon many personal finance websites written by bloggers who have only recently had their ‘financial awakening’ and are very excited about the concept of personal finance. Their impetus to start a blog is their genuine excitement and they often will release some very enthusiastic posts which are generally good.
Unfortunately, this zeal quickly fades, and because they essentially know nothing about personal finance, they run out of things to write about and the post frequency rapidly declines. The demise of these blogs become inevitable.
As a more advanced blog reader, I tend to favor blogs with authors who have established their expertise. For example, Mr. Money Mustache, one of the more famous bloggers nowadays, started his personal finance blog after he and his family had already achieved retirement at a young age.
Some other personal finance blogs I follow include:
– White Coat Investor, who is an Emergency Department physician with advanced knowledge in all things finance and has accumulated more than $1 million at a relatively young age by using the strategies he writes about
– Eatthefinancialelephant.com, which is a blog by a husband and wife who are almost at financial independence after leading basically normal lives but saved 1/2 of their income for 15 years
– Mad FIentist is a guy who earned an advanced degree at Dartmouth for free and provides advanced information on topics such as travel hacking, slow travel, utilization of tax-advantaged accounts, etc.
I consider all of these blog authors to be ‘experts’ on the subjects they write about. Now my task is to convince you, my readers, that I am experienced enough in bicycle commuting to justify this blog’s existence.
I will start with a brief history of my interactions with bicycles over my life:
My introduction to bicycles was probably somewhat typical, having had the training wheels pulled off at the appropriate age. I then utilized bikes for the typical kid stuff such as getting to sports practices and the swimming pool.
Around the age of 14, my shimmery black Huffy was retired to the shed out back. My transportation needs that the mountain bike formerly supplied were now provided by rides from older siblings and friends with driver’s licenses.
At the age of 19 I finally came to the realization as a poor college student that driving my 4 mile commute in a 4-wheel-drive SUV was a tremendous drag on my wallet. I also wanted to circumvent the $700 per year parking tags required to park anywhere close to my university classes.
For basically the remainder of my college career, my primary transportation needs were provided by 2 bicycles. I rode that crappy old Huffy until the crank broke in half (approximately 3,000 miles).
I then replaced the Huffy with a fancy aluminum frame Specialized hybrid. It was after updating to the Specialized (and concurrently moving about 8 miles away from campus) that I discovered the capabilities of a bicycle. I rode over 4000 miles per year during my last two years of college.
In professional school, I basically put my bike away again. I lived just 6 blocks from the main school in a major US city. Every other location I needed to go to was more readily accessible by subway or other public transit. (If I had known then what I know now, I probably would have found a place to live further away from everything just for the privilege of bicycle commuting.)
After graduating I moved to my current city, which lacks adequate public transportation for my purposes. I was basically a broke graduate. My old SUV had long ago died. I could certainly not afford a new car and the last thing I wanted to do was borrow additional money on top of my student loans just so I could drive. I had fond memories of all of the bike rides I enjoyed in college and I was determined that I just didn’t need a car.
I am now three years into my career; I have now decided to permanently forgo the purchase of my next car. I have found that despite living 14 miles away from my primary work, I can make it to work every day on my bicycle, regardless of outdoor conditions and my work schedule.
I have always lived in a temperate climate so I have learned to adapt to riding in temperatures in excess of 105 F and as low as -10 F. I have bicycled my current 28 mile commute in every weather condition imaginable: the Great Colorado Flood of 2013 (a day when over 12 inches of rain fell across the entire area I commute), days in unplowed wet snow in excess of 1 foot, hail, ice as slick as a freshly Zamboni-ed ice rink, and monsoon like winds.
Basically, I have found that with the right attitude and proper preparation, weather should not play a significant role as to whether you bike to work or not…
Bicycle commuting is about more than just dealing with weather. The sheer number of miles (I estimate about 29,000 miles so far in my life and that number is increasing at about 6-7 thousand miles per year) has led to every imaginable situation. I have been struck by cars; I have had my pedal snap off in the middle of an intersection; I have MacGyvered my way out of mechanical malfunctions. I plan to pass these lessons on to you and to offer simple solutions to avoid the mistakes I have made.
A not uncommon reaction when I tell people about my biking adventures is: “You must be a major Badass to do what you do on a daily basis!” I take pleasure in such complements, but I am certain that almost anyone with functional legs can do what I do…
All that is required for you to enjoy all the benefits of BCBiking [including frequently being called a Badass 🙂 ] is the willingness to persevere under somewhat uncomfortable conditions. Also, some encouragement and good advice from someone (me) who has been in your shoes will be helpful.
I can basically guarantee that anyone who tries to bike to work everyday, sticks with it, and follows the rules; will enjoy every moment of their everyday ride no matter what happens on your way. How many people can say that about their car commute?
I, by the way, am not claiming to be the first or the best person to commute by bicycle to work. On the day of the flood, a day when only the hardiest of riders were out, I talked to a gentleman who has been bicycle commuting for the last 25 years about 10 miles per day! There are literally thousands of these folks across the world riding every day.
The main reason for this blog is that I have found a paucity in the blogosphere of good information on bicycle commuting. Most of the information is geared at selling the latest and greatest bicycle equipment which is generally not helpful and largely counterproductive (Stay tuned for the Silver Rule of Business Casual Biking). As far as I know, there is no blog like this out there.
This is by far the longest post of this blog. I hope that at least a few people have made it until the end. Please share your comments, including your Badass bicycle commuting stories. Also, stay tuned! There is much more fun information to follow!