I’ve been feeling lazy lately. Instead of pedaling my way to work on the majority of week days, I’ve been tapping the gas pedal instead. I can blame it partially on the weather, the cooler weather makes it more difficult to get going in the morning, which makes me run out of time for cycling. Of course, this week we finally had some much-needed rain, and that too curtails my riding. If only I could figure out a way to ride in the rain without getting wet!
Wednesday, I rode to work after a rainy beginning to the week. I felt much more alert and ready to teach my 24 students how to write an expository piece on city wildlife. Yesterday, after driving a mere 5 1/2 miles, I felt sleepy and forced myself to look peppy. I quietly told myself on Wednesday, that I would ride my bike again on Friday. But of course, I woke up to a rainy morning and just can’t justify getting soaked on the way to school.
So how do cyclists in cities like Copenhagen do it? Well, for one they have an awesome bicycle infrastructure. Their bike paths are clearly marked and safely separated from vehicles. Another bonus, when a large number of people commute by bike it encourages others to do the same. I know that if a few hundred people were also on the streets bicycling to and fro, it would motivate me even more (I’m also secretly competitive so I would be out there peddling more often!)
Most cyclists in Copenhagen commute roughly between 2 to 8 miles a day (I found a very rough estimate in kilometers and estimated it into US miles, so it’s not exact). In contrast, most people in the United States including myself, commute a little further every day. When I ride to work, I end up riding a total of 11 miles round trip. Due to the distance of my commute it takes me about 45 minutes, and in inclement weather exposes me to the elements for a longer period of time. My one experience riding to work in light rain left me slightly drenched from the knees down. My rain attire only covered me from my head to my thighs since I needed to move my legs for pedaling.
Until I find the ultimate rain gear or humongous umbrella to cover my body while riding, I will continue wimping out. So, kudos to those mighty Nederlanders and their riding through rain, sleet, or snow! If you’re interested in city cycling, check out Cycle Chic, it’s a really inspiring bicycle site from Copenhagen.