Commuting: Pay it forward

Photo by Cory Grunkemeyer, who has an awesome name!
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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By Markus Sandelin

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.