Today is Bike to Work Day in Denver, the official day Denverites are encouraged to swap their car for a bike ride on their daily commute. This year, like last year, I am excited to be participating – not just for the cause but also for the 3 free breakfast stations along my route into work. YAS.
Truth be told, bike commuting is still fairly new for me. I bought a bike when I first moved to Denver but rarely rode it and relied on my car for just about everything. My commute was 11+ miles by car (9.5+ miles by bike) and for someone who had never biked commuted before, I didn’t even consider it to be an option. I lived in suburban-ish neighborhood where most of the things I did (groceries, restaurants, gyms, work) were not convenient to my apartment and were easier to get to by car.
A few apartments later, I found myself living in Capital Hill, an urban neighborhood outside of downtown Denver and when I started at Ibotta, my commute shortened drastically to a mere 3 miles each way. Some days, I drove to work when I had things to do before/after work (and on bad weather days), but most (nice) days, I biked and it truthfully changed my world.
(In Pittsburgh, I do a lot less biking simply because most places I go are either walkable or require a car due to distance.)
Now that I’m back in Denver for the summer without a car, my primary mode of transportation is my bike. And I love it. I never want to live in a non-bike-friendly city and for the rest of my working life, I want to live close enough to my office where bike commuting is an option.
As a gal who does *not* usually spring out of bed, ready to go in the morning, 25 minutes on my bike helps me wake up, get my blood flowing and think about my upcoming day before I have to be ‘on’ at work. The same is true for biking home after work – I like the time on my bike to decompress after busy days in the office – although, in Colorado, we typically have afternoon thunderstorms sometimes I’ll light rail to a stop near my house and bike the 1 mile home instead of 4.2.
But I also love biking for a slew of other reasons:
- No sitting in traffic (!!!)
- Built-in 60 minutes exercise each day
- No cost! (no Uber or parking expenses)
- No polluting (yay for doing tiny things to save the Earth!)
- Bike lanes and bike paths = less interaction with cars (and distracted drivers)
- Self-reliance/feeling empowered
- Breakfast burritos at the office cafe
If your city has a Bike to Work day, I encourage you to try a bike commute. Definitely for the free breakfasts along the way but also, if there’s ever a day to try it, it’s when a whole bunch of fellow bikers are out, going your same direction – it’s a lot less terrifying than trying to navigate an unknown route for the first time on your own. After the first day biking, it’s easier to visualize how it can become a regular part of your routine and, soon enough, maybe you’ll find yourself in love with it like me.