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Biking to Work: 5 Excuses Debunked

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bike_to_work_five_excuses_debunkedFrom the AP:Bike to work, save money, get fit, help the environment. It seems like a no-brainer, yet you still drive to the office every day.

One reason for putting off your bike-to-work resolution might be all the logistics involved, such as where to store your bike and how to get your belongings to and from the office. If the goal is to save money, you might be reluctant to spend hundreds of dollars on a bike and equipment before knowing you can stick with the habit.

All are valid reservations, but none are necessarily deal breakers. As the weather warms up, the reasons for procrastinating are dwindling. Here’s a rundown of some common excuses and why they shouldn’t stop you.

– Is it right for me?
– Will it cost too much?
– It’s too sweaty
– My bike will get stolen
– I need a cash incentive

Excuse 1: Is it right for me?

If you’re not already an avid cyclist, it’s natural to think twice about jumping head first into a new bike purchase. One way to prevent such a fate is to rent or borrow. The try-before-you-buy strategy also lets you test different models before making a commitment.

Do a weekend test ride to get an idea of how long and physically taxing the trip will be. Beginners probably don’t want to go too far beyond a 10-mile, one-way ride, which might take about 45 minutes, says George Gill, president of RentABikeNow.com.

Excuse 2: Will it cost too much?

Even though biking can save money in the long run, there are still significant upfront costs.

Prices vary widely, but a basic bike could cost as much as $500, Gill said. Equipment and add-ons could tack on another $200 or $300.

If the bike’s main purpose is for commuting, you can probably stick with a traditional bike.

The smaller costs to consider include a helmet (about $50), bike lock (about $40) and air pump (around $25).

Excuse 3: It’s too sweaty

A common concern is the need to change in and out of work clothes. But you don’t necessarily need to pull a Clark Kent-like outfit change.

“Unless you’re riding for endurance, you can wear your everyday street clothes for normal commuting,” said Meghan Cahill, a spokeswoman for the League of American Bicyclists, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C.

The sight might jar Americans, but Cahill noted that it’s common to see people riding to work in suits in countries where bicycling is more common.

If you’re not comfortable with that idea, you could always bring a change of clothes or leave a pair of dress shoes at the office. Many offices these days also have gyms where you can shower.

Excuse 4: My bike will get stolen

The fear of bike theft is valid. It does happen. But a good lock isn’t your only defense.

Depending on the policy, your homeowner’s, renter’s or auto insurance might cover stolen or damaged bicycles. Call your insurer to find out specifics, such as how deductibles would work.

Many local police departments also offer bike registries. To enter it into a broader database, registering a bike with the National Bike Registry costs $10 for 10 years. Even if it doesn’t greatly boost your chances of recovering a stolen bike, you might deem it a small price to pay for some peace of mind.

Excuse 5: I need a bigger cash incentive 

Besides the significant savings on gas and parking, you could also get a $20 monthly stipend from your employer for biking to work.

Workers can use the money toward any related costs, whether it’s for maintenance or equipment.

The stipend was made available under legislation passed last year, which gives companies tax credits if they decide to offer the allowance. It’s worth asking about; your employer simply might not know about it.

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14 years ago

The biggest reason I get is distance. I live near downtown, as do many of my coworkers, which equates to a 16 to 20 mile route, each way. I do it and love it, but I’m an “avid cyclist”. Many people say they want to do it and I even offer up to escort them, to show them they can, in fact, do it! I promise they will make it alive and well and feel like they just accomplished something pretty special.

I took advantage of Ride to Work day, offering up to over 50 people to meet me any where along my route to join up. I had one show up.

She did it, she did great in fact, and has ridden in a few more times since… but that’s it.

My point, I guess, is that though usually the opposite direction is their scenario (from burbs to downtown), now that urban sprawl has taken hold of all of amorica, “riding in” seems above and beyond most regular folks who may really want to ride in.

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