From the Blog

10 things I’ve learned from biking in Seattle

May is National Bike Month, and seven LimeMates teamed up to participate. Together, they biked almost 800 miles. Learn more about how we celebrated the month in a guest post from associate product manager Daniel Nelson.

ByMyBus

I didn’t start out as an avid cyclist. I started city biking simply because I disliked driving and parking in Seattle traffic. Some mornings, it’s hard to convince my half-asleep and pre-coffee brain that getting on a bike is a good idea. The trick is to convince myself that biking is easy, even if it’s not (and the post-ride coffee helps too). This is just like how we approach behavior change with Limeade: present users with doable nudges to set them up to succeed and reward them for following through.

I use this thinking to reduce as many barriers, and build in as many rewards, to how I bike. Over time, it’s completely transformed my experience.

10 things I’ve learned from biking in Seattle

  1. Getting my mountain bike stolen was the best thing ever. When I first started riding in Seattle, I used a heavy mountain bike with fat treaded tires and squishy front suspension – great features for downhill trail riding, not city riding. So when I got my all-aluminum Trek road bike, I felt like I’d cheated physics – it was awesome.
  2. Neighborhoods are better on a bike. Biking made it easier to discover nooks and crannies – like a coffee shop or a viewpoint – within a few miles of home. And getting around is faster and less stressful than driving.  
  3. Redefined victory. At some point, I noticed I liked the idea of biking hard. I also realized I rode my bike way less. I redefined victory: “winning” is now just getting on my bike (even for less than a mile!) as often as possible. Or if it’s pouring rain, I’ll leave my bike at work and catch a ride with a co-worker. If I got on my bike that morning, I’m still winning.
  4. Short is good. My commute used to be 14 miles each way with a 500-foot hill at the end. It was so unenjoyable, I hardly biked to work. When my wife and I bought our house, we optimized for bike-ability. Both our commutes are now shorter than 10 miles with a 300-foot hill at the end. The result? We actually bike.
  5. Prep before the ride. Charging bike lights, filling tires with air, lubing chains and packing a change of clothes? There’s a 0 percent chance I’ll do this stuff in the morning, but they’re the little things that make for a good ride. I make sure to prep the night before.
  6. My bike is a VIP houseguest. My bike lives on special hooks in my entry way so I can grab and go – it’s as easy as slipping on my shoes. I also keep it by my desk at work (thanks, Limeade!). This gives me peace of mind, saves a minute locking things up and ensures my seat is always dry when I’m ready to head home.
  7. Bribery works. On days I bike, I treat myself to nice coffee or a hot breakfast in the morning – or a beer after work. Guess what? I bike more.
  8. Biking is better with friends. My wife did the hard work of creating a bike-commuting habit, so it was natural for me to start biking to work too. When she championed a bike team with her work, I figured I’d join her (her team is creaming Team Limeade). Biking with a buddy is safer, and feels easier and faster.
  9. Employer support goes a long way. A few key details are outside my control but make a big difference: Limeade provides access to showers so biking in the morning is an option, Bellevue’s TransManage provides two free parking passes per month to regular bikers and Limeade is okay with employees dressing casual, which makes biking way less of a hassle!
  10. Set ambitious goals. My wife and I are training for a 400-mile bike ride across Washington to support programs for resettled refugees. It’s nudged us to bike way more and way harder than we ever have before. Instead of my normal two to three times a week, I’m riding four to six on top of longer training trips. As a result, my normal commute is actually getting… well, easy.