You commuters out there, did you know that you are idols? It may come as a surprise, or not, but your grocery cashier, that medical field worker, barista, customer and motorist who passed by, idolizes you. It always takes me by surprise because I’m just living my life on my bike, but every one of us is an inspiration to someone who interacts with us that drove to work today. How many times have you heard “I’d love to bike to work but …(insert example)”. Actually I get as many comments running errands and buying groceries as I do commuting to work. I expect this is because I’m more visible (carrying my pannier) and accessible then. People seem fascinated. But is being an example enough to get them commuting too? Maybe not in itself, but it’s a step. If you see an interested person repeatedly, it’s a good opportunity to give encouragement. A nurse at my dad’s assisted living center is close to trying it. She rode a lot when younger but hasn’t for a while. She approached me one day because she’d seen me bike there and I told her about some routes she could take to work. I asked her about it recently and she was unsure about whether her tires would hold air, or if she would need a new bike. I recommended a tune-up, and if she liked the bike she should try it out first. My cashier acquaintance, who called me her idol, looked thoughtful when I asked her if she could bike to work, and said she probably should. Both are a nudge closer to trying it.
It’s certain that in this weather future commuters could be scared by the possibility of sweat. People genuinely seemed terrified of sweating. Give them a few pointers about how you deal with it. Some lucky commuters have showers at work and use them. Others make do with baby wipes, or sink baths and a change of clothes. I have a small microfiber towel and try to arrive a few minutes early to mop up and cool down. Also, I might dunk a light, long sleeved shirt I use to keep the sun off of me in water to use as air conditioning on the ride if it’s really hot. With a little planning one doesn’t have to look that soggy, and if you mention the reason for the dampness you might find another interested future commuter.