Thursday, November 7, 2013

To Bike or Not to Bike?

That is the question!

I've been debating on getting a bike for the better part of a year now. DC is a fairly bike-friendly city. There are numerous trails and lanes to make commuting via bike possible and even enjoyable. However, one thing DC does NOT have going for itself is the number of bike thefts. When I first moved here three years ago, my bike got stolen right outside my office building. It was locked up, but not well enough, apparently. Anecdotal evidence tells me this is quite common: every single person I know who has a bike in DC has, at one time or another, had their bike stolen while living here. These accounts are backed up by actual reporting as well.

Giant Women's Bike $400 @ Bike Rack DC
Despite the bike theft problem in DC, I've decided to answer my own question with - TO BIKE! I have weighed the pros and cons and have decided that there are more pros than cons, so I'm in the market for a bike come the spring. In fact, I'm in a perfect position to own a bike:

1. I live a convenient 2.5 mile commute from work. The ride to work is downhill and there is plenty of space for bike riders along my route. My commute home will likely leave me sweaty, but since it is the end of the day, oh well!

2. Free bike storage both at work and at home. My office building does not charge a fee for bikes, but it does for cars. Likewise, my apartment building doesn't charge for storing your bike in the parking garage. Beat you all, car drivers!!

3. Biking will cut down on the time it takes me to run errands. I currently either walk or use public transportation. With my own bike, I will have the freedom to come and go as I please.

4. I'll save money over the long-term by not riding public transportation. I already save a lot by choosing public transportation over owning/driving my own car. Biking will increase my savings after the initial investment cost.

U-Lock with Cable $68 @ Bike Rack DC
The next few months will be devoted to saving and researching. But what I can say for sure is I've learned a few things from my experience getting my bike stolen and won't repeat them. For example, I'm getting a U-lock. Maybe two. Secondly, I'm registering my bike with the police. I'm not sure what good this will do, but at least I can say I did what I could to discourage bike theft.

And I didn't even touch on the obvious here - biking is great exercise! And more reason for me to boycott boring, money-sucking gyms!

2 comments:

  1. I got a bike this past spring! i didnt ride to work too often (mine is 7.5 miles away!), but I loved having the option. I got a Kryponite lock too.
    I keep my bike in the parking lot of the condo and I carry it up to the 2nd floor office at work. So far so good! we have a lot of thefts too. All you can do is register it and lock it up tight :S

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  2. I'm sure thefts in big cities are always higher than elsewhere. Maybe some of it is that DC is becoming more bike-friendly and more people are abandoning their cars in favor of bikes. So more supply = more opportunity for the thieves!

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