Small Steps

It’s spring, and there are many more bikes on the road. Others want to start biking. But changing to any new mode of transportation is a big lifestyle change and takes time. Just like learning to drive:

Baby Steps

When I finally started biking, it was intimidating because I didn’t know “how” to do it…. just like all the other things I found intimidating.

Baby Steps

But biking was one of those things I had to learn by doing.

Baby Steps

Over time I learned how to adapt my lifestyle.

Baby Steps

So if you are considering biking, you can’t change overnight. Break it down into small steps.

Baby Steps

Perhaps one day you’ll wonder how you ever got around without a bicycle.
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41 Responses to “Small Steps”

  • Mike Essig

    Nice (if unplanned) reference to Rule #5. (see http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/#5)

    Love your cartoon.

  • Ryan Grimm

    Good cartoon.
    Are you a member of the ‘Slow Bike Movement’ on Facebook? Someone posted the link to this site there.

    Good stuff, keep it coming!

  • Quincyclist

    Yes, take babysteps. Four years ago today I began riding again for a partial commute then after a time tried a Sunday dry-run for the full scale commute which I then did occasionally. Now it’s just the full commute and on weekends trying to get around – a 12 mile radius without using the car. I like to map new routes out on googlemaps ahead of time.

    I had decided at first that I would just see how late into the year I could last and was surprised to find I could make it even on the coldest as well as rainiest days which meant that I could ride year-round. I guess that makes me a “5” (actually a “5-” as I am very leery of riding when it’s snowing or until the streets have been salted – I learned that the hard way).

  • awesome cartoons!

  • CPTJohnC

    I love the last panel — great advice for anyone considering taking up bike commuting.

  • L

    How right you are ! I’ve been there (pssst … quite sometime ago …. now am old hen … err….err ..I mean old-hand in bicycling)

    ‘Small Steps’ is timely for there are going to be more ‘fine days’ for joyrides (i’m sanguine :-D ) with friends …. besides the usual day to day bicycle-commutting.
    Best regards to you, Bekka and all your other ‘disciples’ here.
    Disciple L

  • Yay for learning by doing. Small steps are key to learning by doing, as is a supportive community. It’s funny, but I feel like this theme keeps popping up everywhere for me (in my professional life I’m working on doing it in math ed). And despite the fact that I spend my life pedaling crazy bikes now (like my bakfiets), I started my commuting on a Giant mountain bike and used to use plastic garbage bags as my primary weatherproofing :) OK, I still use plastic bags more than I should

  • Bikeyface:

    Here is what I love about your artwork:

    It captures the inner life of the biker. Yesterday: a downpour and an appointment. OK I went. Got wet. So what.

    Today: appointment. Feel tired. Yet: I must ride.

    thanks Bikeyface

  • Jodi

    Ahh! I love this!

    I’m thinking about trying to bike around the city all the time, but I have to admit I’m scared. I just moved here and it feels very intimidating!

    Thanks for making these comics, they’re great!

  • Kevin Love

    A suggestion for the second to last panel: It looks like the cyclist could use a skirtguard to keep her skirt out of the spokes.

    Skirtguards come as factory standard equipment on many city bikes, or can be ordered from places such as Dutch Bike Bits at:

    http://www.dutchbikebits.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=43

  • Tobias

    Living in Sweden I have made a similar journey, except that I have been biking since early childhood so I’ve gradually built up my bike habits over the years.

    But even if I live in a European country I get those comments “What, have you been biking TODAY?” Why wouldn’t I? It’s only a small blizzard outside :)

    As for the special clothing and equiment needed, yeah some are pretty much essential for a painless bike ride.
    Studded tires in the winter (living in the northern part of Europe means quite a lot of snow/ice on the roads in the winter, even if they are pretty good of clearing the roads of snow),
    rain wear when needed (including overshoes which is a great invention, takes up hardly any space but protects your shoes from getting wet)
    panniers (bike bags) are essential for me as I can pack a whole week worth of grocery shopping (single household),
    I always carry a pump and an extra tube (+ tools, fits in a small compartment in one pannier)
    I am thinking of buying a trailer for transporting larger items, not everything fits in those panniers… (bought some glulam lumber the other day for shelving, could not fit THAT on my bike, but a trailer (or a dedicated cargo bike) would have solved that problem).

    I don’t ride in special cycling clothes, just my normal clothes, neither do I wear a helmet (most cyclists in Sweden do though) as I feel secure enough without one.

    Have not really had a need for a car (except for transporting those larger items), so still have no drivers licence (I am 30+). The first panel sums up some of my worries with driving pretty good :)

    Great site, I love you illustrations, thank you!

  • Kat

    Proud to be a number 5. I do need to get some studded tires for next year, falling on the bike path was not fun.

  • weaselq

    As someone trying to bike more in preparation for having no car at college, my biggest fear is riding in the street with cars. I feel like it’s too dangerous if I can’t keep up with their speed, which I feel I can’t.

    • fred_dot_u

      weaselq, you can’t let fear prevent you from enjoying to ride a bicycle. Consider instead to research a cycling safety course, even if you might have to drive a distance to attend. Cycling Savvy is the one most often recommended by safe cyclists, but barring that, the LAB also has some courses that are almost as good.

      Your speed is not as much of a factor as you might think and a good class will teach you to “lead the dance” as the expression goes. Look up Commute Orlando blog or Cycling Savvy for some useful information and links.

  • Rebecca

    I thought I was ready for step 5, but riding to work with the weather in single digits (15 degree drop from the day before), feeling slightly uggy and in heals resulted in me needing to be rescued most of the way up a hill and puking in the car. Don’t skip steps!!

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