Post Content

Gwen Stewart Posted by: Gwen Stewart in the Bureau of Community Health and Prevention

I did not think I wanted to be a bike commuter.  I did not want to dodge cars on busy streets.  I did not want to be sweaty when I sat down for morning meetings.  And I most certainly did not want my colleagues to see me walking around in my biking shorts.

But on Google Maps one day, I noticed the bike route option.  In a fit of procrastination, I looked up how to get to work from my house.  To my surprise, there was a back route that was mostly bike path and dedicated bike lanes. It’s longer, but it’s largely stress-free. I did a weekend test-run and timed myself. Suddenly, bike commuting became an option. I saw that I could actually bike to work without constant fear of calamity.

But I still didn’t want to be the sweaty weirdo you fear will sit next to you.  Fortunately, because biking provides a constant cooling breeze, it’s not the sweat-builder that running is. And biking in the New England morning, the air is cool even in summer. I use my most breathable clothes for the ride and change when I get to work. To my surprise, I realized that I’m cooler biking in the summer than I am taking the T and bus.

That left the issue of biking shorts. My commute is long enough that they are essential, but being essential does not make them flattering.  Wearing a short sporty skirt over them solved the problem.  I can still move, but I don’t look like I have delusions of winning the Tour de France. And I can retain some of my dignity.

One thing that I always remember to do is wear a helmet. Any impact on my hair is nothing compared to the impact on my skull if I had an accident.

And now, I’ll admit, I love being a bike commuter, even if I’m only a fair-weather one.  I love the free feeling of cruising down the bike path, the thrill of speeding down a hill, the fact that my trek takes me past flowering trees and fuzzy goslings. There’s also the fact that my round-trip commute burns about 700 calories that I can squander any way I please. But the main reason I bike to work is that bike riding, at its core, is just plain fun.

I read a blog posting from a couple of years ago that reminded me how lucky I am that I get to bike to work.  Many communities still don’t have safe routes, though that is slowly changing.  Initiatives like Mass in Motion are working with partners across Massachusetts to make every community as bikeable as my community.  The bike lanes, dedicated trails, and clear signage along my commute was the work of people I’ll never meet but who made it easy for me to make the healthy—and fun—choice.

Written By:


health communication writer and editor

Recent Posts

Good News – Spring is Coming Soon! posted on Mar 4

Good News – Spring is Coming Soon!

“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.” ~Proverb This winter’s been tough. Mother Nature’s been downright cruel – testing our patience for months now. Some of us have seen more than five feet of snow dumped on us, disrupting routines and   …Continue Reading Good News – Spring is Coming Soon!

8 Fun Things To Do When You Are Stuck in the House! posted on Mar 2

8 Fun Things To Do When You Are Stuck in the House!

It’s early March and winter is slowly coming to an end. We’re getting closer and closer to spring, but not close enough for me! As the saying goes, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Knowing that warmer days are   …Continue Reading 8 Fun Things To Do When You Are Stuck in the House!

Weekly Flu Report, February 27, 2015 posted on Feb 27

The latest weekly flu report shows another drop in rates of flu-like illness in Massachusetts over the past seven days. Even as these rates decline, it’s still fair to say that flu continues to circulate – which is why it’s so important to do what   …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, February 27, 2015