How I got into bike commuting

I remember asfather-and-son-biking a child my father would take me to school before he went to work. It was always in his car. Then one spring day he told me we will ride our bikes tomorrow. I was excited, as this sounded like an adventure. The first time we rode, the morning air had a good bite to it. We took off and rode many side roads. It was wonderful to sense the outdoors rather than being locked in an enclosed vehicle. The adventure was thrilling and we made it to school in no time. Riding our bikes in the long days of the year was always a treat for me.

Fast forward to adulthood. I am an American and I helped a company start up a plant in the former East Germany. I lived there with my wife and our first daughter. Our house there was fairly close to work and we were able to make it work with only one vehicle. A few years later and the same company moved me to another plant in Germany- this time in Bavaria. We now lived a good distance further away from work and our family had recently grown in size too. A second car or another alternative to get to work was required.

My wife was going to need our car more often than me. When my wife needed the car, she would drive me to work, but that took 30 minutes out of her day and she did not like doing that very often, especially with small kids. The other option was buying a car, and I did not want to have to cover these additional costs, if I could avoid them. The next option was to take the public bus to work. This was time consuming option; it literally took one hour to commute by bus. It was not bad, because I could read or work on the laptop. However, I found I would get car sick on the bus. Definitely not a great situation.

I have been an avid runner since the 1991 and thought instead of running every morning, maybe I could try biking instead of the bus. After using Google maps to find the best route to avoid the freeway and minimize the amount of traffic, I tried out the commute one Sunday afternoon on my old mountain bike. It took me 75 minutes. I was exhausted and I realized this could work. The first year I would ride in the morning and take the bus that evening and on the next day ride the bike back home in the evening. I was getting exercise, loving the experience and learning.

The following spring I bought a commuter bike. It was a Bergamount Alumnimum frame commuter bike and took that for my first ride. Holy cow, it was fast. My commute time went from 75 minutes to 55 minutes one way, and with this bike I was able to start commuting both ways in a day. It took a while, but it was great exercise. I got rained on, I sweated, and I learned about lights, I learned how to change a flat, and how to do simple bike maintenance.

Commuting became an adventure and was fun again like I remember as a child growing up. I hope to share my knowledge that I have accumulated with you here on this blog.

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