Because I'm a wussypants.
I don't have any good reasons why I'm commuting to work by car every day. My office is about 3 miles away, there are sidewalks and trails that traverse the entire distance, I don't live in the arctic, I own a functional bicycle, and my office even has showers. The case for biking should be open and shut. Right?
The truth is, I did start biking to work back in December. Let me tell you how it went, and what my plans are to get back into the habit.
It all started, as most things do, with Mr. Money Mustache's post on getting rich with bikes, coincidentally his first post in the Get Rich With series. By nature I'm averse to physical exertion, so it speaks volumes that I dove into Mustachianism by starting to bike to work during the winter months.
I forget if I had a plan initially besides biking as many days as I could, probably with a day or two in between at first since I was (and am) out of shape. A group of coworkers are avid cyclists so they told me about how I should bundle up with gloves and head scarves, and use blinkies and headlights for night time; and they let me borrow theirs. All good advice! One of my coworkers, let's call him Dan, even biked with me my first day to show me the best route that he uses.
Everything was stacked in my favor — at first. As I recall, I biked in five or six times over a period of three or four weeks. It was always a little difficult to get out the door, but once I was on the road it was great. My morning routine was thrown off a bit because I would shower at work when biking, whereas normally I shower at home.
As I expected I was rather out of shape. The three-or-so miles took between 30 and 40 minutes, which includes traffic lights since the paths are along a main road; for a little context, the trip by car takes between 10 and 15 minutes depending on traffic. Throw in a shower and that's like 50 minutes — a pretty long commute in my book.
I didn't fully get used to all the equipment in my short stint biking. With the car I had to remember my keys and my wallet. The bike added gloves, hat, helmet, headlight, and backpack. Juggling those items, putting them on and taking them off in a certain order, was something I think will become much easier with practice. It was a mental load I didn't usually have to deal with while half asleep. Also I had to deal with another change of clothing, so that's one more thing.
The last pain point was the darkness. It gets dark early in the winter. Biking to work was nice because the sun is out in the morning. Biking from work was not so nice. I would be ready to leave for the day at 5pm, and by then the sun was down — that's where the blinky and headlights saved my life a few times.
None of the above "excuses" was insurmountable. Combined, they were enough resistance that I couldn't keep up the habit more than a few weeks. Actually my excuse to stop biking was because I flipped over my handle bars braking incorrectly. Pro-tip: when you've got momentum and need to stop, brace yourself while you're jamming your brakes. Otherwise you'll get thrown forward and onto the ground. Also, always wear gloves. They kept me from cutting up my hands something awful.
I wouldn't be a very good Mustachian if I let that keep me away for long. I recognize that it's a difficult process to train myself for new habits. With this in mind I have a plan of attack for rebooting my biking commute.
Two of the big pain points of my first attempt were 1) darkness and 2) coldness. Luckily the season after winter is spring, which should dispatch those issues quite nicely. I also find that I'm prone to waves of guilt — like, it's Monday already and I haven't biked yet, and even if I bike tomorrow that's only once this week and OH GOD WHY AM I SUCH A BAD MUSTACHIAN. It's very demotivating.
So here's the plan. Starting March 11th, when Daylight Savings Time begins, I'm going to bike once a week. It's a small enough commitment that I won't be able to weasel my way out of it, and I also won't let myself feel guilty for only biking once.
My ultimate goal is to commute by bike more often than not. But for the time being I'm out of shape and my number one goal is to build the biking habit. The rest can come later.