Encouraging people to ride to work, a different view

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Mike, Mar 29, 2003.

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  1. Mike

    Mike Guest

    I haven't posted much around here, but I commute to my factory job(about 7 miles with a 200' climb
    at the end over the distance of 1/2 a mile), when the weather is nice. I get very interesting
    reactions to this at work. I'm always asked by my coworkers if I've lost my license or if my car has
    broken down. I tell them it only takes me 40 minutes, and they look at me even stranger.

    I guess my question for you guys is this. Would it be possible for your average out of shape person
    to make that ride? Should I attempt to encourage people, or would I just be setting them up for
    failure? Based on what I know about where people live, most of the other people that live in the
    city that I live in are 75' above the river(the route that I take is along the river, with about 30'
    in variation until that climb at the end) and 1 to 2 miles further away from the plant than I am.

    Suggestions? Comments?
     
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  2. Mike,

    A 7 mile ride is certainly not out of the question for a beginner. The hill you speak of could
    discourage some depending on their overall fitness. I have ridden with beginners for miles of flat
    roads and they enjoyed it- until we had to climb a hill. That is when the "why am I doing this?"
    expression came over their face.

    But speaking from experience, once I conquered those hills, I was quite proud when I began commuting
    to work myself. I wish I could figure out the logistics of it better so that I could commute more.

    By all means encourage your co-workers and stimulate their interest.

    Chris

    "Mike" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I haven't posted much around here, but I commute to my factory job(about 7 miles with a 200' climb
    > at the end over the distance of 1/2 a mile), when the weather is nice. I get very interesting
    > reactions to this at work. I'm always asked by my coworkers if I've lost my license or if my car
    > has broken down. I tell them it only takes me 40 minutes, and they look at me even stranger.
    >
    > I guess my question for you guys is this. Would it be possible for your average out of shape
    > person to make that ride? Should I attempt to encourage people, or would I just be setting them up
    > for failure? Based on what I know about where people live, most of the other people that live in
    > the city that I live in are 75' above the river(the route that I take is along the river, with
    > about 30' in variation until that climb at the end) and 1 to 2 miles further away from the plant
    > than I am.
    >
    > Suggestions? Comments?
     
  3. Ken

    Ken Guest

    Mike <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:
    > I guess my question for you guys is this. Would it be possible for your average out of shape
    > person to make that ride? Should I attempt to encourage people, or would I just be setting them up
    > for failure?

    Start out slow. Hold a group ride on a weekend so people can try it out in a fun environment with no
    pressure. The next week, try it one day a week. It is hard to fail at that rate. As you get
    stronger, build up to more days a week. With beginners, I think riding in groups really helps, both
    with traffic and for mutual encouragement.
     
  4. Rich Clark

    Rich Clark Guest

    "Mike" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I haven't posted much around here, but I commute to my factory job(about 7 miles with a 200' climb
    > at the end over the distance of 1/2 a mile), when the weather is nice. I get very interesting
    > reactions to this at work. I'm always asked by my coworkers if I've lost my license or if my car
    > has broken down. I tell them it only takes me 40 minutes, and they look at me even stranger.
    >
    > I guess my question for you guys is this. Would it be possible for your average out of shape
    > person to make that ride? Should I attempt to encourage people, or would I just be setting them up
    > for failure? Based on what I know about where people live, most of the other people that live in
    > the city that I live in are 75' above the river(the route that I take is along the river, with
    > about 30' in variation until that climb at the end) and 1 to 2 miles further away from the plant
    > than I am.
    >
    > Suggestions? Comments?

    Do they have bicycles? If you succeed in getting someone to try, and they do it in jeans on a $69
    Walmart "MTB", your plan could backfire.

    I think an 18 nile RT commute is no problem for someone who's solved the equipment, clothing, and
    fitness issues of the returning/newbie rider. But it's not the place to start.

    RichC
     
  5. >I guess my question for you guys is this. Would it be possible for your average out of shape
    >person to make that ride? Should I attempt to encourage people, or would I just be setting them up
    >for failure?

    Yes they can do it. To start off with, it would be hard work, but the positive thing about cycling
    is you see *real* improvements in fitness in a short space of time. I know - I am that unfit,
    overweight person!

    Cheers, helen s

    ~~~~~~~~~~
    Flush out that intestinal parasite and/or the waste product before sending a reply!

    Any speeliong mistake$ aR the resiult of my cats sitting on the keyboaRRRDdd
    ~~~~~~~~~~
     
  6. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "wafflycathcsdirtycatlitter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > >I guess my question for you guys is this. Would it be
    possible for your
    > >average out of shape person to make that ride? Should I
    attempt to
    > >encourage people, or would I just be setting them up for
    failure?
    >
    > Yes they can do it. To start off with, it would be hard
    work, but the positive
    > thing about cycling is you see *real* improvements in
    fitness in a short space
    > of time. I know - I am that unfit, overweight person!

    I agree. Also, bicycling is the easiest way to build that kind of aerobic fitness. It's simply
    easier on the body. They'll improve faster on a bike than doing anything else, even walking.

    A few of my friends, in their mid-late thirties, have started riding after decades of being really
    out of shape, and living seriously unhealthy lifestyles (use your imagination). Guys who could
    barely walk up a flight of stairs without undue effort were doing 50 mile rides comfortably within a
    few months. And this is without any special "training" effort -- just regular rides -- but
    regularly, and that's the key.

    Matt O.
     
  7. IMHO people fail to ride because they don't want to expend the effort, not because they're out of
    shape. Take up the effort, and the physical fitmess will take care of itself , for most people at
    any rate. "Mike" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I haven't posted much around here, but I commute to my factory job(about 7 miles with a 200' climb
    > at the end over the distance of 1/2 a mile), when the weather is nice. I get very interesting
    > reactions to this at work. I'm always asked by my coworkers if I've lost my license or if my car
    > has broken down. I tell them it only takes me 40 minutes, and they look at me even stranger.
    >
    > I guess my question for you guys is this. Would it be possible for your average out of shape
    > person to make that ride? Should I attempt to encourage people, or would I just be setting them up
    > for failure? Based on what I know about where people live, most of the other people that live in
    > the city that I live in are 75' above the river(the route that I take is along the river, with
    > about 30' in variation until that climb at the end) and 1 to 2 miles further away from the plant
    > than I am.
    >
    > Suggestions? Comments?
     
  8. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    >Suggestions? Comments?
    >

    Over the years I have been able to get several of my coworkers to comute on a bicycle. Some have
    stopped at that and some now ride hundreds of miles per week for the pleasure of it.

    I try to take an active role, not only encourage them, but provide them with a decent bike that fits
    them properly.

    I also offer to ride along with them so they get the hang of not only riding up and down hills but
    also some pointers on riding in traffic.

    Hills are a problem but helping people learn to use the gears properly and how to pace themselves
    can help them turn a seemingly impossible mountain into a warmly remembered conquest.

    Recently I acquired an Electric Assist bicycle and my plan is to loan it people interested in
    getting started commuting via bicycle. I have one fellow who wants to try it.

    With gasoline prices well over $2 a gallon and traffic congestion severe, parking expensive (a
    parking permit would cost me about $700 a year), and beautiful weather, there are many reasons to
    commute via bicycle.

    So, my suggestion is to encourage them to ride but don't stop there, give them a hand getting
    started on the right foot.

    Jon Isaacs
     
  9. Yourbuddy

    Yourbuddy Guest

    "Mike" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I haven't posted much around here, but I commute to my factory job(about 7 miles with a 200' climb
    > at the end over the distance of 1/2 a mile), when the weather is nice. I get very interesting
    > reactions to this at work. I'm always asked by my coworkers if I've lost my license or if my car
    > has broken down.

    I know the feeling. I usually get asked if I had a DUI. People look at me like I'm crazy for riding
    in the Florida heat.....
     
  10. Guy Tedesco

    Guy Tedesco Guest

    [email protected] (Jon Isaacs) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > >Suggestions? Comments?
    > >
    >
    > Over the years I have been able to get several of my coworkers to comute on a bicycle. Some have
    > stopped at that and some now ride hundreds of miles per week for the pleasure of it.
    >
    > I try to take an active role, not only encourage them, but provide them with a decent bike that
    > fits them properly.
    >
    > I also offer to ride along with them so they get the hang of not only riding up and down hills but
    > also some pointers on riding in traffic.
    >
    > Hills are a problem but helping people learn to use the gears properly and how to pace themselves
    > can help them turn a seemingly impossible mountain into a warmly remembered conquest.
    >
    > Recently I acquired an Electric Assist bicycle and my plan is to loan it people interested in
    > getting started commuting via bicycle. I have one fellow who wants to try it.
    >
    > With gasoline prices well over $2 a gallon and traffic congestion severe, parking expensive (a
    > parking permit would cost me about $700 a year), and beautiful weather, there are many reasons to
    > commute via bicycle.
    >
    > So, my suggestion is to encourage them to ride but don't stop there, give them a hand getting
    > started on the right foot.
    >
    > Jon Isaacs

    i just started riding to work. i saw a few others at work doing it so i started partly because of
    that but also because of the money it can save me. over the past few years i have been keeping close
    records on my car expenses. it averages out to around $200 per month and i just use my car 4 days a
    week and travel 2500 miles per year! i'd say my work is about 5 miles from my house. i found it no
    problem but there are no hills either. i use a mongoose crossways 250 that i got a little over 2
    years ago,seems to be a decent enough bike. anyway i feel bike riding to work is worth the effort
    and it gets easier very fast.-guy from long island
     
  11. M Gagnon

    M Gagnon Guest

    "> "Mike" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > I haven't posted much around here, but I commute to my factory job(about 7 miles with a 200'
    > > climb at the end over the distance of 1/2 a mile), when the weather is nice. ...
    > >
    > > I guess my question for you guys is this. Would it be possible for your average out of shape
    > > person to make that ride? Should I attempt to encourage people, or would I just be setting them
    > > up for failure? Based on what I know about where people live, most of the other people that live
    > > in the city that I live in are 75' above the river(the route that I take is along the river,
    > > with about 30' in variation until that climb at the end) and 1 to 2 miles further away from the
    > > plant than I am.
    > >
    > > Suggestions? Comments?
    >

    I think a lot depends on the environment. It looks like the factory is somewhere out of town, in an
    industrial sector and just outside a valley. The 200-ft climb per se isn't terrible, although in
    flat country it might look impressive. So the main factors to consider are:

    - Is the 7-mile road a busy one or a bike-friendly one. I like main roads, especially for commuting
    or general A-to-B riding, but newcomers might feel intimidated. If there is a side road, or an
    "old road" near the "improved road", it might be nice to point that out.

    - The 200-ft climb might look impressive. If it is very steep (as many private roads are), it might
    be hard to climb unless one has very low gears (typically not offered on cheap bikes) or unless
    one is well trained. In a bizarre twist, a macho attitude might prevent people from walking up
    that hill. Indeed, it's strange that people would be fear being laughed at if they walk the hill
    but not if they drive by car...

    - Your workload might be a problem. For example, people who work all day long lifting heavy weights
    might not be that willing to make more exercise and commute that long.

    - If the shop is out of town, I guess you all have free parking, but no public transit...

    WIth the above factors, I don'T think the ride would be a problem for the typical employee,
    especially if they start to do it when the weather is nice and it's not windy. There are a few
    things that might increase the number of bike commuters:

    - good bike parking (secure racks, etc.);
    - decent routes;
    - a sponsoring programme, where you (or another commuter) would chaperone one or two newcomers for
    a few days;
    - a "plan B" for what-if situations, such as a list of collegues who would offer a lift back home if
    the weather turns sour, if there is an emergency at home, etc.

    Regards,

    Michel Gagnon
     
  12. "YourBuddy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > "Mike" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > I haven't posted much around here, but I commute to my factory job(about 7 miles with a 200'
    > > climb at the end over the distance of 1/2 a mile), when the weather is nice. I get very
    > > interesting reactions to this at work. I'm always asked by my coworkers if I've lost my license
    > > or if my car has broken down.
    >
    > I know the feeling. I usually get asked if I had a DUI. People look at me like I'm crazy for
    > riding in the Florida heat.....

    Yes, I know the feeling. When I was in college I worked as a tech on the second shift and had a 7
    mile commute home. I wheeled my bike out one night (equipped with lights and everything needed to
    ride at midnight) and without me saying a word the retired fellow working as the security guard
    started going around asking if anyone could give me a ride home. I had to catch up with him and tell
    him that I was bicycling by choice.

    And then I got the "are you nuts?" look.

    Tom
     
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