Not Evangelism

Monday, February 21, 2011

How to Cycle More: Be Flexible

In 2010, I rode just over a thousand commuting miles on my bike. This year (2011), I plan to double that. As my daily commute is 22 miles, this target means I'll be cycling to work an average of two days a week.

Of course, it's rarely as simple as simply picking a set couple of days and cycle commuting on those two days every week. Real life gets in the way of plans; sometimes I need to have access to a car. Perhaps I need to visit a client site, and it's just not feasible to do so on my bike. Maybe my wife has asked me to get some supplies, more than I can carry. Or, because I work in the countryside, I need to get into town to do some banking or other personal admin.

How to balance the need to fit these everyday tasks with the goal of cycle commuting twice a week?

The answer, I find, is flexibility. Being prepared to drive to work and cycle home one day, and the reverse the next day means I get the benefits of having the car at the office during the day, and cycling too. The "old 4-2-2-4" I call it, being the number of wheels on my commute, morning and evening, over two days.

This week is a case in point. I have a site visit, a lunch meeting, and some errands to run over the course of the week. If I stuck to my allotted cycle commuting days, I wouldn't be able to cycle at all. But by shifting when I cycle commute - driving in one day, then cycling home that evening; cycling in the next day and driving home the second evening - I ensure I've got access to the car when I need it, whilst meeting my cycling commitments.

In some respects, this flexibility is a variation of my tactic of removing excuses - I can't possibly cycle today, I've so much to do! - and also increases my opportunity to cycle as well as the likelihood of doing so. Which brings me ever closer to that 2000 mile, twice a week goal.

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