Continued Discussion – Bicycle Commuting

Somebody please fix these numbers:

87% of daily trips take place in personal vehicles
91% commutes take place in personal vehicles
(Bureau of Transportation Statistics)

“…Each gallon of gasoline burned creates 20 pounds of carbon dioxide…”
“…Every mile pedaled rather than driven keeps nearly one pound of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Even a short, four-mile round-trip bike ride keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe…”
(Conservation International – What You Can Do)

Search on Google to see how efficient your auto is. I haven’t driven my car for a couple weeks and it feels so great! I ride all over. See my recent post on riding (bicycle commuting) home from the car service center 50 miles from my house. I’ve car pooled some places, with my wife to go see family or friends. Riding my bike to work and the store is simple and requires little more time. Of course, I admit, that my small community makes it easy to spontaneously go to the store on my bike.

Making it happen:

Some communities aren’t so small and require more planning but that shouldn’t stop you from being able to ride a bike to fulfill your daily chores including work. Bikes come in such a vast variety that you can literally find one that mozies around or one that rides like a bullet to do the job. From Touring bikes to competitive road bikes, you have your choice. If you work in a mountain town there are great trail bikes around.

a touring bike
road bike


I guess, the hardest part is building it into your day. I once had a customer that was busy enough with family and work that his daily commute was his exercise plan. He built it into his day and each way was about 17 miles through traffic. He was an investment officer. Every person has to figure how they are going to make it work if they decide to do it.

Bicycle commuting is the kind of thing that promotes good health, both physically and mentally. In articles all over the web you can read about how exercise improves mood and productivity at work. The increased blood flow to the brain and body may have something to do with this. Here are a couple articles about exercise and one specifically about exercise before work, 5 Reasons to Exercise Before Work and 7 Benefits of Morning Exercise. Think of the morning commute to work as this way to exercise and brighten your day.

Bicycle Power!

Obviously there are times when we require our auto but I believe that most of the time we can do the work of the auto under our own power and gain massive benefits for our bodies and environment as a result.

I suppose I’ll make an argument for using cars less and less in the next part of the ongoing discussion about bicycle commuting.

Fat Bike Packing – Day 2, Soapstone

Back out on the open road I descended on into Soapstone Basin by following the switchbacks down the mountain-side. The road was beleaguered by trucks hauling smaller off-road vehicles. The men driving these trucks were of size. They never move a muscle in order to move about.

This is how the Terminator won the battle against humanity.

Water. The spigots were an oasis in a country that shouldn’t have been devoid of water. There was a river nearby. This seriously shouldn’t have been the first water I’d seen in so long but I failed to trust the sources I did see because of the large populations seemingly living in such close proximity. This water was good. No nasty flavor, no hint of chlorine. Hell, it may have been free of Fluoride. Don’t tell anyone. It’s a good thing.

I drank a bunch. Topped off my reservoirs and headed immediately out to find a place to camp. I wasted an hour thinking I could find a place just there off the road. But in the end I paid $20 for a spot over a the Soapstone campground. At least, I thought, there should be running water there. I was wrong. There wasn’t a single spigot that worked. Turns out that the only running water at a campsite was the Lost Creek site, some 15 miles up the road.

So I grabbed a sweet site in the middle of the campground close to a toilet. It was open and spacious, like a comfortable house. I had room to walk around and contemplate my existence. After setting up camp I grabbed my extra bladder and headed for the sanitary station once more 1 mile back the way I came. I was able to bring back one more gallon of water.

I used it all before I left camp the following morning. Mostly drinking it.

I never really took stock before when backpacking how much I used water at camp, between drinking and cooking, one gallon per person per night seems to be about par for me. The next time I do this I’m simply going to bring an empty jug. And planning routes around water is such a legitimate thing. Which isn’t a thing I’ve ever spent much time thinking about! While backpacking in the true backcountry I just grab water where I find it. But it always seems more common. With bike packing, as this was my first experience touring altogether, water stops seem more dispersed and something to consider while planning routes and camps.

With all the consideration for water, the other main concern was food. I had definitely brought enough, with an emergency supply of bars and electrolyte powder as a luxury, just in case. But I didn’t have anything else. Night took its time getting to camp, descending slowly as I ate some more oysters and mashed potatoes. That felt like a dinner I’d repeat and recommend to others.
The camps adjacent to me were literally all trailer or camper oriented. I was there with a bike, empty car park, and a lone single man tent. My experience was so completely opposite of my fellow campers that it was nearly only laughable.

I built a nice fire out of some scrap wood I’d found around the area. While I didn’t mind the solitude a fire is about as useful as a cold fire pit when you’re not sharing it with someone. My fire-ring companion is my wife. We always enjoy them together. This time, I was alone and staring blankly into a fire that simply burned for warmth. There was no social gathering around this fire.

About 9:30 I stuffed the fire out and headed for the tent. I tied the bike to a tree so that the local children would have a hard time borrowing it for the night. There were a lot of children about. And I slept really well that night. It was quiet except for the one guy with his generator running into the night and early in the morning. Not sure what he needed all that electricity for. Probably his electric toothbrush.