I moved house in 2000, I decided to start biking to work every
day. This started a pseudo-religious conversion, such that I am now something
of a bike-to-work zealot (read bike nazi). For me, the benefits are simple:
I exercise instead of commuting, I'm wide awake once
I get to work, I'm
saving money, but
most important of all, I forget all the daily work bullshit
terms of organisation, its pretty easy. In my opinion, essentials include:
You need to plan ahead a little. I
have a shower room at work where I can leave shoes, trousers, a towel and a
wash kit. I bring in fresh underwear daily in a small backpack. I can manage
a shirt too if folded carefully and
placed in a plastic bag. Dirty laundry comes home with me at night. I ride
throughout the year - the only weather that stops me is dense fog or frozen
roads (too dangerous, not too cold!). Bad weather is offset by good clothing!
My bike is an old aluminium hardtail, which is slowly being converted to a
commuting-specific bike as parts wear out. This mountain bike has the advantage
of robustness and hence reliability without a big weight penalty (approx
11kg). Specifically, I have:
- good rain
- a shower
at work (unless you ride really slowly)
- a safe place
to park your ride (not an issue in Switzerland)
- good lights
for the winter.
The first year of commuting
in Germany was
a 12 kilometer ride in each direction, which in year one amassed
- A road rear cogset
have been replaced with progressively lighter ones. I'm currently
Fat Freds which have almost no knobs. When these wear out I'll probably
for some 1.5" smooth tires, as I almost never need the knobblies.
- I have a lock-out 80mm
front fork. If I had the choice I would choose a rigid (and lighter)
front fork as I almost never need the bouncy travel.
- I've got light-weight
plastic snap-on mud guards which stay on all year round. It's a bitch
if you get caught in heavy rain without them, even if the rain is warm!
- Lights are from Lupine.
Even if they are pricey, they are an essential luxury in the winter months.
- Gore jacket in the
backpack, or on my back for about 4 months of the year.
- Days ridden:
- Total kilometers:
- Total time:
- Aborted rides:
- Reason for aborted
rides: Rain (2), forgot keys (1), forgot underwear (1), broken lights
(1), hangover (1).
consumption: one drive train (cogset, chainwheel, chain), one tyre
(rear), one mudguard, 1 set
handlebar grips, 1 pair
shoes, 1 pair gloves (total
- Flat tyres:
petrol savings: 350 litres (cost €400). Servicing would have added
about another €250.
- Most useful
accessories: 1. bell, 2. 20W lighting system, 3. Gore jacket, 4. mudguards.
- Golfing fact:
I ride through the St. Leon golf course, home of the German Open.
temperature: -3°C (on my very first
falls, etc.: None
- Road accident
- Chased by a
dog: 5 occasions.
- Chased by a
horse: 2 occasions (admittedly the other side of a fence)
- Chased by screaming
teenage girls: None
- Abused by motorists:
3 (all people I knew)
- Moronic comments
by pedestrians: 129
- Weirdest fact:
almost riding into a large Indian elephant
from a nearby
- Traffic offences
committed: 2 (daily average)
- Stopped by the
- Otherwise stopped:
once by golf-course
- Emergency roadside
- Flies swallowed: