Starting a new weekly group ride isn't easy. Getting the word out is difficult, and then getting people to show up after that can be a challenge, too. The Monday Commuter Convoy is no exception.
Chris and Karen have stuck with me pretty much from the beginning, and now Karen's on vacation for the next few months. I've had a few others come and go, and I've run across people who kind of "accidentally" joined the group en-route. That said, with only two regular riders and a few occasional ones, it's not quite a convoy yet.
The convoy is attracting a little tiny bit of interest in the local media. This started with a post on kcbike.info a while back ago, then with a KC Star letter to the editor and kind of took off from there. I've been contacted via e-mail by commuters in other cities and by other members of the press both local and elsewhere. No other exposure yet, but it's prompted me to try a little bit harder to get more people to show up. This isn't just about getting to work on a bicycle, nor is it just about being up at the crack of dawn to ride. Here are a few reasons I started it, and why I'd like to see more people commute with the convoy on Monday mornings:
- To get other bicyclists introduced to commuting by bike
- To show that almost anyone can do it. Trust me.
- To create visible bicycle traffic with no doubt that we are commuting
- It's fun, healthy, and safer than you may think.
- It's better than 2 cups of coffee at waking you up.
Some push-back I've gotten from would-be participants revolves around the schedule and the temperatures we're seeing here in KC. Let me address those:
There are two reasons I want to hit Merriam Lane no later than 6:05 AM. The first of which is traffic once you get downtown. Traffic starts to really take off around 6:40 or so, and the less time you spend on the arterial roadways after 7:00, the better. The second reason is temperature. the 6 o'clock hour is the coolest hour by far on a normal summer day.
If you don't need to be at work until 8:00 and leaving at 6:00 seems counter-intuitive, it gives you time to relax at a local coffee shop, let the sweat evaporate a bit, and center yourself before work. It's also great "you" time before work if you're into meditation/prayer, reading, devotions, or catching up on the news. You don't need to be at home to do those things. Bring a book, the newspaper, or even your laptop. I do.
As far as temperatures are concerned, I advocate using the bus system to decrease your exposure to the heat and sun. You can get within a few miles of most anywhere in Johnson County using the JO buses. On some hot days, I take the bus halfway home. If I need to or want to, there are 3 other stops I can use ranging from a few blocks away to 3 miles. I'll gladly help you find a bus route to get you close to home, so don't let that get you down.