Biking to Work on Your Bike

Bike to Work Day Blues

by Scott T.
Today is Bike to Work Day 2009 and I just wanted to put in a little opinion column:

You know what? We hear a great deal of moans about Bike to Work Day from our customers. We hear you. We rarely get here by car. It is a peaceful, wonderful, easy ride in that wakes you up and gets you ready for your day. But Bike to Work Week, all the grumbles come out:

“I’m driving to work on Bike to Work Day”

“It is a scary day to commute by bike”

“I am staying home”

We all know that sinking feeling of losing what makes us who we think we are.
MTV making your favorite band popular…
Seeing your worst enemy at your favorite dive bar…
Discovering that Chipotle is owned by McDonalds (even though it isn’t anymore)…
Learning that eggs weren’t bad for you all those years that you ordered egg white only omelets…

Guess what?
That band still made good music.
Your dive bar still had a cute bar tender that gave you free beers every so often.
Chipotle still makes a mean “food log”.
And now you enjoy those fatty omelets more than ever!

Riding a bike with a group of cyclist is fun. Conversely, riding a bike with a bunch of people at the bottom of the commuter-learning-curve is scary. I know it is too late for this year, but we should take these folks under our wing. We should teach them the rules of the road. We should teach them the basics of how to flow with cars and avoid their doors after they park. If we educate the masses, we will all be safer.

Or, we could just all stay home and let the newbies rule OUR street, listen to OUR favorite band, go to OUR dive bar, eat OUR food log and let’s forget about the egg yolks.

Nah, we have to ride! It is part of us.




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20 Responses to “Biking to Work on Your Bike”

  1. Wayne F. says:

    If the roles were reversed and we cyclists took over the road in cars and caused accidents and expected free gas, Drive to Work Day would cause quite the commotion.

    Let’s educate the public about what being a cyclist is and make Bike to Work Day just another day, instead of an abomination.

  2. Pam says:

    I’ve only commuted via bike a few times and it was nice to have all the friendly, helpful people along the way, as it can be intidating commuting from the suburbs into downtown. I was also pleasantly surprised by all the people that offered help when I was fixing my flat. Days like this are helpful for those of us who need a little hand holding to get more comfortable with commuting via bike!

  3. beth pedrick says:

    We need to go to the govenor asking for a law requiring all cyclists to WEAR helmets. Not attach them to their bag or their handlebars or sitting in their closet. I can’t tell you how many people I saw on bikes this morning without helmets. I would LOVE to ride the beach bike on LBI without a helmet ocean breeze in my hair(not to mention it turns my hair blonde) BUT I never do it. Too many cars or other cyclists not paying attention even the ones (cyclists) that know better. How much money could the state make if every person riding a bike without a helmet was ticketed and fined $20.00? It would certainly get the point across. Remember when the bike cops were out in force in Wash park ticketing bikes that went over 15 MPH – They made a point and should continue making that point. And if I get a ticket – than I deserve it – call it the swear jar for the state.
    I also do not ride my bike on bike to work day. Sorry

  4. Brandon says:

    Amen.

  5. JimmyJam says:

    I have to admit, that I am one of those people who sarcastically shouts that I plan to drive my SUV all day today to offset all of the people who are riding their one day for the year. I guess I have a hard time understanding the point of Bike to Work Day. If this city is trying to educate people, don’t you think there are better ways to do it, besides just saying, “Hey, everyone should ride their bikes to work on this one particular day.” In my opinion, they should spend this money and effort educating both cyclists and drivers as to the laws regarding bicycling in traffic — not to ride on sidewalks, come August cars must pass with 3 feet of space, where the designated bike lanes and bike routes are, why you should wear a helmet, etc. I suppose, that Scott is saying that it is partly our duty to educate these people by “taking them under our wings,” but I think the city has a bigger responsibility to educate these people instead of just throwing a Bike to Work Day.

  6. Chris says:

    Bike to work day was a lot of fun. I bike to work everyday, but getting free coffee and breakfast just blocks from my house is a bonus. It’d be nice to see it happen once a quarter, rather than once a year in order to raise awareness. Bicycle safety is important…but I disagree with Beth saying it should be a requirement for everyone to wear helmets. That’s a breach of the very freedoms we enjoy in our country. If someone wants to put their life at risk, then let them do it, it’s their choice, not ours as a collective. Making it desirable for the state to enforce such a law to acquire mass amount of money they don’t deserve is pointless and just another excuse for them to take our hard earned money. It’s bad enough they take a % of our paychecks, come on! Just like Obama’s recent law change on tobacco. No one’s forcing people to smoke, it’s their decision and their right and freedom to kill themselves. Not wearing a helmet is only hurting the person not wearing it, not anyone else around so it shouldn’t bother those who choose to wear one.

    Hope everyone had fun riding to work today. I definitely saw an increase in the number of people on bikes this morning and that was exciting in itself.

  7. chase says:

    here’s a rant for you…since august of 2008, when i got a sputnik from you guys, m-f is “bike to work day” for me, with very few exceptions. but today was no different than any other day except for one thing. my girlfriend, who works a bit further from home that i and works in a much more formal office setting wanted to ride to work with me, she has on ocassion biked to work, but it’s rare. she is a “nube” you could say for bike commuting, still getting excited to ride and making sure she is super prepared, sometimes overly. these “nubes” riding to work don’t really scare me, if they get ticketed for running a light or not having a helmet on, they’ll learn. it’s the hardcore spandex clad, cleat wearing, giro true view glasses, cyclo-maniacs that do, some of these guys (and gals) are seriously agro. we were approaching the platte trail after crossing the pedestrain bridge, with a few more cyclists than usual, but everyone was in order, even pace, spaced fine. about to head down the ramp to get on the platte trail, signaling our turn and all. when out of no where this guy, no “on your left” warning or anything, comes zipping by, cutting us off and leaving the scent of arrogant, smugness behind. apparently the courtesy and friendliness doesn’t apply to him because he is a “cyclist” and we were a pack of “nubes” riding to work, on a day in which many people get excited to ride in. i’m assuming this cyclist was on the juice and prepping for his next century ride, and probably not a Salvagetti customer, judging by the way he lacked compassion for any other person on their bike this day…unless maybe that person had on some spandex, orange tinted glasses, cleats, and a yellow jersey. sorry for the length but it really makes me angry witnessing the elitism of some people, seems the goal of some is to keep bikes off the road, and hog it all for themselves, scaring potential daily riders back into their autos.

  8. Ben says:

    Scott, was good to see you on the trail this morning…even if you were out of free stuff.

    Beth, I usually don’t ride with a helmet. If I’m riding around town, there’s little chance of me wearing a helmet. If I’m in a collision with a car, I’m more likely to be crushed than to have a head injury.

    Now, if I’m on a long ride on the Cherry Creek Trail or out on the roads, up in the hills, then damn skippy I’m wearing a helmet. In town, I just don’t find it necessary.

    There’s a really interesting article from Copenhagenize about helmets:
    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2009/06/get-yer-torches-its-bike-helmet.html

    Bike-to-Work day is great, I spoke with lots of people who said they ride every day, but I did notice a lot more bikes than I usually see on my daily commute. Most people were following the rules, but I saw far too many people on sideWALKS. I know jumping into traffic can be scary, but most (most) drivers would rather *not* hit cyclists, especially when they’re out in force, and especially when there’s plenty of police around.

    A big kudos to everyone who biked today and everyone who bikes every day! Hopefully some people liked it so much they’ll ride more often!

  9. gck says:

    “Let’s educate the public about what being a cyclist is and make Bike to Work Day just another day”

    +1.

    What’s the point of bike to work day? To get people over the hump. Show them that it’s not so crazy or impossible. A few of them will keep doing it. Some of the rest will remember how it felt the next time they pass a cyclist while they drive. And as someone else already said, eventually that makes us all safer.

    Of course, they only get over the hump if it’s kind of fun, or welcoming, or at least not intimidating. It’s not the day for helmet wars or etiquette lessons. That can come later.

    As for leaving it to the city (or state) to educate cyclists? No thanks. I’ve seen how well they educate the drivers they currently license…

  10. Nick says:

    I’m not sure why all the everyday bike commuters complain about bike to work day. I saw hundreds more smiling faces today, which in turn brought a massive smile to my face. Help each other out and we’ll all have a blast.

  11. Patrick says:

    Hm…I’m a spandex wearing, ready for my next century ride (MS150 this weekend planning to take the 100 option on day 2) Salvagetti customer. I actually rode in a Salvagetti Sputnik as well. :)

    I would never cut anyone off and I actually like Bike to Work Day. I live up in Firestone and work downtown so I can’t commute as often as I like. Just cuts into sleep time too much. But riding about 40 miles one way I certainly passed numerous people (many on the Platte) this morning and after a while the “on the left” thing just get old. Especially when it’s obvious the person you’re passing can hold a line anyway.

  12. chase says:

    …maybe i should’ve counted to ten before over generalizing about the “cyclist” stereotype painted earlier. i love riding my bike, thank you salvagetti, and love bike to work day b/c i can share my love for riding my bike with friends and loved ones that may not have that same love for riding their bike, yet. i wish that whoever decides these national days, would make this one happen more often to encourage people to get out more often. becoming a bike commuter or cyclist can be intimidating, and days like this help to ease that feeling.

  13. Finch says:

    i like that article Ben! Get mad about the people riding like jerks, standing in the path, running lights, etc, that stuff is much more dangerous to everyone than guy J. deciding not to wear a helmet. Also, tie your shoes and tuck the laces! No one ever talks about that one!

  14. mikev says:

    great article. you fine gents were able to pass my wife a cliff bar mid-stride this morning.

    i love the idea about cyclists educating each other–especially newbs. i just noticed all the info you have on your site–great stuff.

    perhaps salvagetti’s can lead the charge through your own expertise as well as user suggested/contributed content.

    here’s my suggestion: in neighborhoods like capitol hill, cars: drive on the one ways. bikes: ride on the other roads.

  15. Chris Goodwin says:

    Today was bike to work day? I thought I saw more bikes today than usual. I hope it sticks! :)

  16. Jay says:

    I LOVE riding my bike for whatever reason. It always puts a SMILE on my face whether it is for commuting, running errands, or wearing lycra & going for a 3+ hour ride. Helmets are highly recommended however we do not need mommy government telling us more of what we can & can not do (be careful if you want socialized health care because they will then require helmets) . It bugs me as well when I have cyclists zipping pass me with no regard & no warning. I tend to loudly remind them that I was on their right. Remember, there are rude people everywhere, on bikes and in cars. Unfortunately we will never be able to ‘help’ them all. Thanks Scott & Salvagetti for all you do!!

  17. Iron Jaiden says:

    Agreed completely about making bike to work day as friendly and open as possible for all cyclists.
    Hell I wish the city would take the day seriously and allow volunteers to post up every couple of blocks downtown to help direct bike traffic and keep things running smoothly.

    On another note though about required helmets you really have to be careful with laws like that. The spirit of a law is that it’s supposed to protect a person from the rest of society, not from oneself. The minute you start forcing people to protect themselves with no effect one way or another to the people around them you start defining what is “good” for people and what is “bad”. Of course helmets are smart, but required? What about fattening foods? Those are certainly bad for you. The sun causes skin cancer, should there maybe be a law requiring SPH 15?

    You get the idea, slippery slope.

  18. John says:

    Hey, if we can get more people biking we are all better off. I would bet that Denver is the most bicycle city in the country…so let’s enjoy more people riding, as it will only result in more lanes, more paths, and more presence for safety and satisfaction.

  19. Doug says:

    Patrick you are totally wrong…. you can’t assume someone your going to pass is going to hold the line. It is just lazy and rude to buzz someone without ringing a bell or saying “passing.” If I feel a douche getting ready to buzz me without being courteous and giving me a warning, I intentionally will drift over to force that person to slow down or say something. Hopefully I can do you that favor some day :-)

  20. Jim says:

    Denver City and County run a pathetic bicycle program. Denver is only focused on recreational cycling, not transportation or utility cycling. With the amazing weather and climate here this should be the most friendly city in the country to ride a bike…It is not. The answer is Portland. The Mayor only focuses on high visibility shallow press opportunities. The Be Bikes are a joke. Ever try to cross Colo. Blvd at 12th and live to tell about it?

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