City & Commuting

Commuting: Pay it forward

4 Comments 14 August 2010

Photo by Cory Grunkemeyer, who has an awesome name!

Riding on the commuting saddle has been very nice this week, the weather has been good and the wheels have been rolling. I notice the effects in my legs, especially the thighs and some nights I’ve been coming home too late to rest properly between rides. Still, I’ve taken it easy in the beginning, as is suggested and my energy levels in general have been good.

I have however noticed that some people really do not enjoy cycling and seem hell bent on making commuting a misery for everyone else as well. That’s why I have become extra nice on the road (up to a certain point, of course) and this has taught me two things.

  1. You will take nearly the same time whether you’re totally in the zone and riding as hard as you can OR riding nicely, helping people, saving squirrels and just taking your time.
  2. When you act nicely, people usually respond similarly.

On my way to work on Wednesday, I saw a sight in front of me which resembled me three months ago – a beginning bike commuter. He had the kit on, helmet, water bottle, everything and he was a bit lost – just like me in the beginning. He, however, was smart enough to recognize me as someone who wasn’t riding there for the first time and he asked me whether the road took him to the neighborhood he was heading to. His workplace was about 15 kilometers away and I thought best to just make a detour of few kilometers and show the guy to his work. It’s also always nicer to ride with somebody.

That got me thinking, people train for road racing by riding in groups – why couldn’t you do bike commuting in groups as well, especially when distances are longer than your usual commute of 5 kilometers? It wouldn’t even have to be a permanent thing, just to teach the people the routes and help them a bit with their riding motivation.. I’ll have to look into this.

On another note, one of our readers asked about rest and nutrition during commuting, we’ll look into that as well in the near future.

Have you done good deeds on your bike, what were they?

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- who has written 201 posts on Coming thru!.

Markus is a bike commuter gadget freak who is learning the ropes of the bike world, you can find him all around the web - but you can start with his twitter at @banton.

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  • Hugo

    On Tuesday, I fished out a life belt someone had chucked into the sea, and left it by the side of the bridge.

    On Wednesday, I found the post it had been thrown from.

    On Thursday, I returned it back to the post.

  • Hopefully it will save someone’s life someday.

  • Bert_george666

    a few weeks ago i was riding home from work and noticed an older man (probably about 65) walking a large dog. a smaller dog had slipped through a crack in a fence and the large dog, while investigating, had wrapped the leash around the guy’s legs and down he went, head first into the sidewalk. this all happened in the span of about 5 seconds and without thinking i had turned around and was racing to him as fast as i could. he turned out to be ok. his dog didn’t take off and was not aggressive (thank god) and he had a small cut on his forehead and had broken his glasses. i sat there with him for about 15 minutes, gave him my spare bottle of water and made sure he was ok before i hit the road again. what surprised me if that in spite of the fact a dozen or so cars were driving past when this happened, not a single one of them stopped…

  • Well done! I’ve unfortunately noticed the same lack of interest from motorists – maybe they’re just too deep in their own, secure world that nothing else matters?

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Coming Thru (or Coming Through - as that URL was taken) is a daily updated bike magazine - a collection of writings and links that relate to biking in its every form. The idea started from when Maarten met Markus decided to finally start collecting the things we like about bikes and talk about our everyday adventures in dodging moving objects at high speeds.The site is run by a collage of cyclists, most notably by Canadian Johanna MacDonald, Belgian Maarten Patteeuw and Finnish Markus Sandelin.

It all started in the spring of 2010, after a record breaking snowy winter when Markus bought a house 25 kilometers from the office and decided to handle the commuting with a bicycle. It turned out the bike wasn’t up to standards for that kind of stress and the first weeks were more tragicomic than glorious. Thus the idea began to brew to actually document this journey.

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