According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2.3 percent of commuter trips in Washington DC are by bicycle. This whoops a truly pathetic national average of 0.55 percent, and I'm proud to be a part of it.
According to Bay Area Bikes bike to work calculator, I
- saved $8.28 by not driving and
- saved the earth 19.4 lbs of toxic emissions
over the course of my 20 mile round trip ride from the home to work and back.
Now, I wouldn't have driven if I hadn't biked because both my home and office are very Metro-accessible, but I definitely saved $5.70 in Metro fare.
One of the nice things about my new job is that it is very bike friendly with a secure bicycle room and a locker room with showers. I love that I get a good workout on the way to work and it's a very pretty commute, actually.
Be comfortable. Figure out a way to get as much stuff off your back as possible: buy bike racks, leave your shower gear at work, heck leave your dress shoes at work. If your shower solution is a gym near the office, see if they can rent you a locker. If you aren't commuting by bike every day, you could even leave spare clothes at work.
Dress for the weather. I've blogged many times about how I enjoy being out in the weather ... if I'm don't get cold and wet. In the winter, that means a windproof layer over every bit of exposed skin and, if you are going to ride in the rain, a waterproof one as well.
Be visible. Light colored or reflective clothing is good. Lights are required. Lights are first and foremost about making you visible to others. If you are riding on trails or through dark neighborhoods, you will also want to be sure your headlight effectively lights up the pavement in front of you.
Plan ahead. Trying out your commute route on a weekend is an excellent idea. If the weather turns ugly mid-day or you don't feel up to the return trip for any reason, know your backup plan. Is there a bus or subway route? Can you carpool with a co-worker?
Enjoy the ride.
This post is part of the November Green Moms Carnival on saving money through green means.