I used to ride back and forth from work for 16 mi. every day. I recently bought a car for snow rain and such, but it has killed my drive to get out and bike. I was wondering how other people integrate biking into their life when they also have a car?
I guess you have two main tasks, and they involve preparing your "internal" (psychic, mostly) environment, and you external (domestic, mostly) environment.
About internal environment:
- You have to convince yourself, or keep convinced, that you actually LIKE TO, WANT TO and SHOULD ride your bike;
- You should think AND feel AND know that riding a lot is wiser than driving a lot. There are innumerable hard facts to support this point of view;
- You have to look suspiciously to your car all the time. It is a temptation, and should be a last resort since it is all the time tempting you to succumb so that it can do its harm (this is somewhat metaphorical, but somewhat literal, too).
- Resist any eventual harassment from family, friends and neigbours in favor of the so-called car culture. Watch these videos, they are awesome, and can help YOU to "harass" car-cultists!
About external environment:
- Biking should be simple, not complicated. Leave your bike close to the exit, and your car keys far away from it. Keep your bike-related belongings close to the bike, and the bike always ready to be ridden.
- Don't depend on special preparations for riding. Use fenders, "sofa" saddle and platform pedals if necessary, so that you can use regular clothes.
- Have more than one bike if this will make you ride more, even if one of the bikes is just for errands.
- Keep fit. The more you ride, the easier it is to take one more ride. The less you ride, the harder it is to be back in the saddle again after a "long" time.
- When making long term decisions about your house, your work, and your new purchases, your habits, your schedules, etc., avoid the ones that will put you closer to your car and/or further from your bike.
I guess all this is essentially personal and subjective, but I think this is the general way to handle this issue.
Hope this helps
While it's important to keep a positive attitude for your bike, I'd say it's equally important to keep a negative attitude for your car. I have a car and I hate it really bad. I hate it for polluting my, already fairly polluted city. Hate it for being 15x heavier than I am, so it is essentially a contraption whose main goal is to carry itself first, and then me. Hate it for depleting oil reserves. Hate it for having to park it and take up some space in the area where I work, a space which could otherwise be used for a park, or children playground, or a hotdog stand. Hate it as it is also a lethal weapon, and I hate weapons. Hate it because it makes lot of noise. Hate it for trying to make me fat, lazy and spoiled.
That's it. :)
Above all this is a matter of mindset and discipline. I've found myself in the same position since starting a job much further away from my home than my previous job, so I know how you feel.
You've got to want to ride and get into the mindset that you have no other option but to ride to get to work. This is easier said than done and if you're like me, it's extremely hard to convince yourself of in the morning. My suggestion to you, which I've had decent success with myself, is to throw your bike on/in your car on the way to work on Monday. Ride home that afternoon (because the ride home is the best part of your day, right?). The next morning, you don't really have a choice but to ride in. You can either throw the bike back on your car Tuesday afternoon or ride your bike home again. Just make sure you're riding at least one way each day and you'll get in at least 4 half commutes a week.
That might be enough to wean you back off of the car and back onto the bike full time.
Sign up for a race or century in the upcoming summer. I find having a goal or something to work for motivating.
I check the weather forecasts all the time, a bike ride on a sunny (usually still cold) day in the midst of the Pacific Northwest winter are awesome rides.
As others have said, I will drive with my bike to work to get in a lunch ride, or even leave my car at work, bike home, then in the next morning.
I would also recommend a second (or third) bike. Having a mountain bike can open new trails and part of the fun is if it is muddy or snowy. I keep my old bikes when I upgrade and take my old bike and turn it into a rain bike. With proper gear and nice fenders riding in the rain and cold is not that bad. Snow and ice much less so.
Four things: fitness, endorphins, money. Also something a bit more intangible.
Keep a check on your weight. If you find it going up because you're cycling less, then there's a good reason to ride more. Who knows? Maybe weight control was the reason you got a bike in the first place? That was certainly the case for me and the knowledge that I am now slim and fit means that I'll keep cycling for good.
Two, how good do you feel when you get off the bike after 16 miles? Remember that feeling.
Three, I know you guys get cheaper gas than us Europeans, but surely when you fill up your car it must hurt your wallet?
These are all motivators for me. I need to get 8 miles from home to the train station each morning, and mix it between car and bike. Started cycling it a few years ago when I did the odd journey through the summer. Became 2-3 days a week, my fitness being the limiting factor. Last couple of years (in the summer) have averaged about 4 days a week. Always used to restrict myself to daylight months (for me this was about April thru August). But this last year I have started night-cycling, even though I've probably only averaged a couple of days a week thru the winter. But I don't beat myself up if I don't fancy the ride, and many times I don't fancy it in heavy rain (largely the "sitting on a train for 90 minutes in soaking clothes" aspect), but mostly I do it because I love it and would prefer to be on the bike than in the car. There's the intangible bit. If you like it more than the car, you'll be motivated to do it.
I saw my car sitting in the driveway for months unused & said why am I keeping this thing so I gave it away. But my wife has a car so that is something like having a car myself. I can get a ride to work or rehearsals of one of the may choirs I am in but I don't because I love biking. I found that by doing it enough I started to like more outre situations like biking in the rain for example. I think that is it. The more you do it the more you will see the benefits in terms of your fitness, weight loss, the way it make your legs look, your general state of well being, and your financial well being. If you use quicken and if your spouse has a car at the end of the year total up bike vs. car expenses. You will be amazed. Then there is the ego boost part of it. Don't be afraid to groove on the awestruck responses you get -- "You BIKED here? Wow!" Or if you ride in cold nasty weather as I do, "I have trouble getting out to my car and this one rides here on his bike!" You find if you do it often enough you appreciate it even on days when it sucks and yes sometimes it just sucks, if there is say a chilly 10mph wind directly in your face the whole way. Recently I started to be bothered by asthma, but I am coping with that although my average speed is down about 1mph. I use a balaclava if it is even slightly chilly that helps.