Drive My Bike

The Mixed Blessing Of Equipment Failure
August 7, 2008, 4:30 pm
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I go into the office a couple of days a week, and work at home the rest. Usually, I ride my bike to the office, but this week I had several situations come up that made biking a challenge, so I drove my car. I hadn’t ridden for several days, and seeing all the bikers on the road, while I was in my car, was just killing me. On one of my normal office days I ended up staying home because I was getting my DSL service upgraded, and I was supposed to be at home to meet the technician who came out to prep for the upgrade. Well, the technician never showed up, but I did get the upgraded DSL, and I have been loving it. (12Mb Fiber for you geeks out there) Anyway, today I was working at home, enjoying my new DSL, and all of a sudden my the DSL quit working. Not just slow… but bam… dead stop. I fiddled with the router for a few minutes, but I wasn’t even getting a DSL signal light. So, I called my DSL provider, and was informed that there was a big problem at the central office, and they had dispatched technicians, and they said it would be back up again within 24 hours. Within 24 hours?!!! That makes things a bit difficult when you need your Internet connection for work. Argh!j0427672

There is a bright side to this. Instead of jumping in the car, I rode my bike to the office. I hadn’t ridden for over a week. It was in the middle of the day, and it was hot, and I was a bit tired, and it was great! It kind of freaks me out that I have become so hooked on this bicycling thing. I guess there are certainly worse things to get hooked on. At least this addiction pays back with things like fitness, peace of mind, less concern with gas prices, and just plain fun.

So yeah, equipment failure isn’t always a bad thing.

By the way, my last article ended up being featured on’s home page, which brought in a lot of new traffic over the last few days. That was quite a surprise! So welcome to all the new readers, and thanks for all your great comments.

Consumer Revolt: Homebrew Electric Bike Conversion

A friend of mine recently met a consumer who had enough of the rising gas prices and decided to take matters into his own hands. This guy bought a cheap bicycle and did his own conversion to electric drive. Apparently this unorthodox bicycle drew quite a crowd at the local grocery store, and my friend  was able to chat with him and get some pictures.Homebrew Electric Bike

If necessity really is the mother of invention, then as gas prices continue to rise I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg! If you would like to know more, there are more details in this wiki article. Homebrew Electric Drive

Have you seen other examples of consumers getting fed up and coming up with creative solutions to their transportation needs? If you are still commuting completely by car do you have a “tipping point” in mind where you will have to find an alternative? What will you do?

A One Horsepower Solution

Folks in a dental office in Arlington, WA decided to find an alternative solution to get to work once prices hit $4 per gallon. Most of them owned horses, so they decided to ride their horses to work!

The dentist, Dr. Keith Leonard, often rides his bike to work, and wanted to encourage people to find alternative means of transportation. He issued a challenge for people to get to the office without their car in the month of July, and is even awarding T-shirts to those who do so. He recently had his bike stolen, and is considering installing a bike rack at his office so that employees and patients can have a safe place to keep their bikes while there. Way to go Dr. Leonard! If more independent professionals did things like that it could really make an impact on our vehicle driven society.

Here’s the article if you’d like to check it out. They have a few pictures of the ride.  I did note that there were a couple of bicyclists in their group, along with all the horses. As a bicyclist I would think you would want to be careful about drafting in that situation. 🙂

Have a good day!

More Crowded Today
June 24, 2008, 8:52 am
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I left about 10 minutes later than usual today, and I noticed about twice as many people out riding.  I don’t know if it was the time difference, or what, but there were a whole lot more bikers on the road today, and most of them looked like commuters.  It’s encouraging to see more people bike commuting on “my route”, which is a fairly main road.  I waved at a couple of the riders that I could make eye contact with, and almost had a few seconds at a light to chat with a guy coming up behind me on a mountain bike, but before we could stop the light was green and I turned to make a quick stop at McDonald’s for a couple breakfast burritos to eat at the office, so we both sped away.

I don’t think it is just that I am more aware since I am riding now, because other people tell me they see more bikers as well.  The gas prices just keep going up, so I would think that more and more people will start bike commuting.  Have you noticed more bike commuters lately?

NBC Today Show: Bike Commuting Increasing
June 16, 2008, 1:59 pm
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Jim Langley caught this very cool clip from NBC’s Today show that talks about how many people are bike commuting these days.  Good catch Jim, and great blog!

Is $5 per Gallon The Tipping Point for Bike Commuters?
June 11, 2008, 8:59 am
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A recent survey about commuter pain reveals some interesting opinions…

“At the time of the study, gasoline was at a national average of $3.67 a gallon. At a price level of $3.50 a gallon, 9% of respondents said they would consider changing their commuting habits… an additional 22% said they would seek other commuting options if gas hits $4 a gallon, and if prices make it to $5 a gallon, a total of 66% of drivers said they would look for new ways of commuting.”

Wow… it sounds like $5 per gallon is the magic price point when most people will say “Enough!” and start to actually do something different for their commute.  Based on the way things are going it doesn’t sound like that will be very far in the future.

What about you?  If you already commute by bike then why did you start bike commuting?  If you are not a bike commuter what would it take to make you consider becoming one?

I’m Doing It!
June 10, 2008, 1:42 pm
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About a month ago, I got this crazy idea that I would start riding my bike to work.  Maybe it was the gas prices, maybe it was the need for exercise, maybe it was just wanting my life to just be a little more basic… I don’t really know… but I decided to make the leap.  I hadn’t owned a bike in years, so I looked around a little bit, without really having much of a clue, and I bought a “comfort” bike at Costco.  So it began…

Being the kind of person that I am, I have now become quite obsessed with all things bicycling.  My Google Reader has subscriptions to a bunch of blogs, and I can’t wait to read the new posts.  I know the URLs to a bunch of online bike related stores, and have actually done business with a few of them.  I’ve found a couple of local bike shops that I like, and a few that I don’t.  I’ve learned enough that I’m not sure I should’ve bought that Costco bike, but I’m going to stick with it for a bit.  I’ve spent far more money on “the other stuff” than the original $250 I told my wife I needed to get started.

But the best part of all is that I am actually doing it.  I am riding my bike all over the place now, and I really enjoy it (Well, ok, there’s been a few rides that I thought were going to kill me).  I’ve “officially” been commuting for two weeks now, and have logged almost 50 miles in those two weeks.

I’ve also learned that my idea wasn’t so crazy, and there are lots of people doing exactly the same thing.  I want to share my journey, so that’s why I’m blogging here.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy the journey along with me.