Cycling has always been my favorite way to get exercise. The only challenge is that I live in Minnesota, USA where we can have as many as 6 months of winter weather. Since my hands and feet get cold very quickly, I started looking for options to extend my cycling season. That’s when I discovered the all-weather benefits of velomobiles. At first my intention was just to ride it for pleasure like I had been doing with my recumbent bicycle. For that, a velomobile was perfect, allowing me to go out for winter rides when the roads weren’t too terribly full of snow and ice. It was loads of fun, and as I became more accustomed to riding velomobile, I started thinking about ways to ride more. That’s when I decided to try commuting by velomobile.
I direct a youth music program on Sundays during the school year. The one drawback of doing that is that I don’t get to do a Sunday ride. This was starting to really bother me. I wanted to get my ride in, but I needed to also work Sundays. So I hatched a genius plan: I would ride to rehearsals! It took some planning and experimenting to find a way around the mess of traffic and commercial areas between my home and the rehearsal location, but once I came up with a good route, I found myself really looking forward to Sundays. Not only was I having fun riding my velomobile, but it also gave me time to really relax before and after rehearsals. That mental downtime turned into more productive rehearsals with the added benefit of a whole bunch of teenagers getting exposed to an alternative form of transportation.
A few months later my new Bülk arrived. The pleasure I got from riding it and the desire to ride it as much as possible led me to decide to try doing my daily commute to the local high school for lessons with the Bülk. I discovered that I could fit my trumpet into the cargo space. At first I planned to just try it out for a month to see if it was practical. My lessons start right at the beginning of the school day, a time of the morning when I’d much rather be sleeping. I used to wait until the last minute to wake up and even skip breakfast. However, I found I was so excited to get to ride my new velomobile, that I was willing to wake up early enough to not only ride to the high school, but even take time for a proper breakfast. Even though I had been riding my indoor bike trainer every day, I found commuting burned enough extra energy to help me go to sleep earlier at night and sleep better. In addition, I found commuting to lessons helped me wake my mind up and put me in a better mood for teaching. Even though it takes a bit longer to cycle to lessons and back, by the time I factored in how long I would spend commuting along with riding my indoor cycle trainer for exercise, I found combining cycling and my commute was actually saving me time.
When I read the promotional material for the Bülk saying it could change your life, I thought that was just creative advertising. Now that I’ve had my Bülk and started riding it regularly, I can say that it is not just advertising; it really has made a big difference in my life. I’m riding more than I ever did before, I’m motivated to eat healthier, I am sleeping better, and I’m much happier. I’m not quite ready, given the harsh winter weather we can have, to completely eliminate the car from my life, but I am happy to say that my car usage has dropped to just a couple times a month. Once my fall teaching schedule starts again, I plan to return to commuting to rehearsals and lessons and I’m really looking forward to it!
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