Sarah Guenther has heard it all. Even in Bellingham, one of the biggest bike-commuter cities of its size in the nation, people give excuses not to ride to work.
But Bellingham made a huge commitment to its pedal-loving citizens with its 2014 Bellingham Biking Master Plan, committing $20 million over 15 years to boost its network to 170 miles of cycling routes in the city, including 50 miles of “non-arterial” (neighborhood) streets and 45 miles of bike lanes.
Guenther, as the events educator at The Beauty InstituteSchwarzkopf Professional on Railroad Ave., knows how to look good after a bike commute. (She also works for Mad Dash Bicycle Couriers).
Her go-to product for a last-minute touchup: The Balm’s Meet Matt Hughes lip color. Takes two seconds to apply, and gives Guenther a style confidence boost.
Guenther’s favorite, don’t-leave-home-without-it item: Wool leg warmers, made from recycled sweaters from the Ragfinery. Cut off the sleeves, and bingo! Toasty leg warmers that will insulate even when wet.
Sarah Guenther’s Rebuttals to the Top 8 Excuses for Not Riding Your Bike to Work
1. It’s dangerous out there.
Yes, it is. But it’s dangerous driving a car, too. On a bike, you must be more aware because you are more vulnerable. At an intersection, be aware of your four corners, and don’t ever run a yellow. Be visible in traffic. Take side streets — the extra few minutes are worth it. Watch for car doors opening. Having that practice of awareness enriches my daily life. It’s a good habit to have.
2. It’s raining.
Wear acrylic or wool clothing and throw some rain gear over it. Bring a change of clothes in your bike bag. Dress in clothing that can be easily changed. Example: Leggings with a dress, or slacks and a sweater.
3. I don’t have the right gear
For $200 you can get a great pair of rain pants, a rain jacket and probably even some rain boots (a staple where we live, no matter who you are). Wear gloves and pack a second pair for the ride home. Most people pay more than $200 in car payments, gas, insurance per month. You can get a bike rack for $30 and fenders for the same price. Don’t feel like splurging for new bike bags (around $100)? Find them on Craigslist or make your own.
4. My bike has a flat tire.
Take your bike into The HUB Community Bike Shop and ask them to teach you how to fix a flat! For $5 an hour you can work on your bike and there are staff and volunteers there to help you. You can get a repair kit (patch kit, levers, pump) for $27, the equivalent of an entrée and drink.
5. I would if I didn’t have kids.
Most kids will trust you and love what you love, especially if you start them out young. There are many ways to transport kids of all ages. Teaching kids that being gentle on our environment is probably the most valuable lesson we can give them to prepare them for the future. It also encourages exercise, which is good for your heart, your head and your health. Teaching children that they don’t have to rely on gasoline encourages independence!
6. I have to look nice for work.
Leave a couple minutes early, bring a change of clothes, spruce up in the bathroom. You’ll need less makeup since you will have that rosy, post-exercise glow.
7. I live too far away
Bellingham’s excellent bus system allows you to take a bus into town and ride that last mile. Heck, as the days get longer and your strength and confidence grows, you may start wanting to ride home!
8. I‘m not in shape.
Most people can ride a bike, no matter their shape. The cool thing about a bike is that there are so many variations to accommodate your style, size, posture, etc. The great part about making a habit of riding your bike is that it gets you in shape!