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Biking to Work, SolutionSet Style

Posted @ 8:42 am by Caroline Sekar | Category: SolutionSet | 0 Comments

On my morning bike ride down Market St. to the SolutionSet San Francisco office, I’ve taken to counting the number of other bikers I see. The numbers are pretty impressive:  on June 18th around 8:30 am, I counted 45 other bicyclists on the 2.4 miles of my commute.  At one light there were 12 of us lingering in the crosswalk waiting for the light to change. On June 24th around 8:45, I counted 37 other bicyclists. At one light there were NO cars waiting but 9 people on bikes. Woo!

I haven’t been counting bikers long enough to substantiate any trend beyond “there are more bikers when there’s nice weather,” but my gut tells me that the trend over the past couple of years is definitely up, up, up. As gas prices and environmental consciousness go up, biking also seems to increase. This makes me happy. More bikers mean fewer cars on the road. More bikers mean safer biking (packs of bikers are easier for cars to see). Finally, more bikers on the road means more people are outside, enjoying the weather, burning calories, and getting revved up for the day ahead.

But what, you ask, does this have to do with SolutionSet? Well, here at SolutionSet San Francisco, about 10 of us ride our bikes to work each day (9 pictured above) – that’s about 15% of the office! I thought I’d do a little survey of some of the bikers and why they choose the two-wheel commute.

Why do you bike to work?

Vadim: It’s the commute I look forward to at the beginning and at the end of the day. How many people can say that?

Damien: To save money on parking, to be healthy, and to reduce my pollution, and because it is more fun and faster than driving or public transit.

Haroun: The list is long-

1. It’s faster than bus or even driving
2. Don’t need to pay for parking
3. The exercise helps clear the mind, both going to work and leaving work behind
4. Health benefits = better quality of life

Eric: Riding your bike to work is a great way to have a scheduled workout every day.  Also for me it is great to get outside and enjoy the ride. Unfortunately here in Louisville I am missing bike trails to work but there are roads near the park that are nice (see my rescued turtle pic and video).

What would you say to someone who is thinking about biking to work?

Vadim: Just do it. It’s much easier and safer than you think.

Dustin: Don’t give up. If you’re scared, ride during rush hour with all the other bikers in a big group. Don’t ride the busiest streets. Learn bike etiquette. Be vocal. Smile and don’t judge. Check your tire pressure every few days. Avoid pot holes. Learn the roads that have dedicated bike lanes. Get a bike map. The trolley tracks are real… and painful. Ride the Wiggle, it’s famous! Ride on the weekends for practice. Pop a wheelie.

Caroline: Try it. Actually, try it two or three times so you can get over the “I’m scared of this because it’s new and strange and there are potholes” and start to really love the ride.

Eric: I would suggest they try doing the ride on a Saturday first when there is less traffic and they can take their time.

Haroun:  This is just me, but as far as tips, I would say:

* Gloves – it’s hard to type with road rash on your hands
* Ride aggressively, being aware of traffic
* Make sure bike fits well and is properly set up
* Lights lights lights
* Mountain biking techniques can help you out of the Muni tracks and other road hazards
* Helmet  – maybe I’m just old, but we get paid to use our minds, try to keep it around for a while!

Finally, if you’re thinking of biking to work in San Francisco but you need a little help, here are some resources:

* 511 BikeMapper – A good way to find bike routes throughout the Bay Area
* San Francisco Bike Map – A good resource to put in your bag in case you get lost; shows the steepness of each bike route.
* Bikely.com – Cyclists use Bikely.com to share their favorite bike routes.
* Google Maps Walking Directions  – Also great for finding bike routes! Click on “Get Directions” and then make sure to select “Walking” in the dropdown

Bike on!

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