Where I live, it approaches dangerous to bike on the road. When a road has a speed limit of 45 mph, turns, and no shoulder at all, it's difficult to bike. This is not in a rural area.
Note that Portland is investing in bike infrastructure now, and it makes certain crossings easier, but I think the bikers came first, not the infrastructure.
Keep in mind that I have a 15 mile ride to work, and no, moving is not an option.
If you shower before you ride then you have twelve hours or so head start on bacteria - it takes them that long to multiply, excrete and cause a stink. So even if you are glistening with sweat at work then you can change your clothes, wash your hands and face, sit at desk, work, no smell needed. If you do stink then maybe it is because you lack fitness and basic hygiene, which is nothing to do with there not being a shower at work.
When was the last time anyone washed a seat in a car? Never! A car seat is one of the most disgusting places to sit. Would you not change the sheets on your bed for years? No. Yet sit in the same seat in a car, year after year, with a greenhouse around it, sucking in carbon monoxide from the tailpipe in front - no idea why people think that is hygienic.
You need to get practical!
Biking 15 miles to work is not practical in 100+ degree weather with humidity averaging between 60 and 90 percent. Moving to be within biking distance of work is not practical when jobs change every few years and there are two of us living in the house which is fairly central to both workplaces.
And I wash the interior of my car yearly - your phobia about 'dirty car seats' is fairly silly.
I'd say trying to not die from heat exhaustion or stroke while riding uphill on a bike in 100+ degree weather is practical.
That's around 37 degrees celcius for us non-US people =).
I'm from Sydney, and we often have low 40's (Celcius) during summer. We currently have raging bushfires over here in some areas =(, and it's easily 40 degrees.
I bike to work (and also for fun on weekends) during that sort of temperatures, and I've never been worse for wear...
I also jog regularly during that weather (although I find that harder than biking - less breeze).
Mate - you're not going to get heat stroke from riding your bike a few Km at 37 degrees, seriously...
As your fitness improves, you'll probably find it easier.
Just stay hydrated (you do carry water, right?), apply sunscreen, and you'll be fine. Sure, it's harder work than driving a car, but exercise is hard work (despite what those late-night TV ads tell you).
> Where I live is too hot and humid to bike most months out of the year
That's such a defeatist statement, "too hot and humid to bike most months". I have a lot of faith in you. You could probably think of a way! It's not literally impossible! Maybe you could ride in the morning, before or just after sunrise. Maybe you could ride in a set of clothes, wipe yourself down in the bathroom, and then change into a fresh outfit to work in. You should try those things and three other strategies that you think of and then maybe I'll accept that statement "it's hard to bike during the summer".
There really needs to be better education regarding commuting via bike.
"I sweat too much" = you're likely out of shape.
"The weather is too inclimate" = wear appropriate clothing.
"I live too far away" = 15 miles in an hour is very reasonable.
Minnesota has heat indexes in the summer similar to the Middle East, in the winter we can get windchills <= -20F, yet Minneapolis is one of the best cities for cycling in the United States.
What is appropriate clothing for my example? I'd guess most appropriate would be naked, though I'd still be drenched. There is no clothing that can fix this.
I love riding bikes, but it has never been a feasible solution for my transportation to work, given that I don't want to arrive looking and feeling disgusting, drenched in sweat. I could handle your cold, though. Perhaps you've never experienced extreme humidity coupled with high-90s.
You could still find a place close by where you could rinse off and clean up quick before heading into the office.
There are an innumerable number of ways you could make it work if you actually wanted to.
I can respect that it's far more inconvenient for you than it is others, and that may be enough of a hurdle to just never make it worthwhile.
As far as the humidity and high 90s, the Land of 10,000 Lakes gets our share of shitty weather. It takes a real commitment to continue through it.
Ok, so you sweat a lot =). That's alright, we're all different.
However, I'm a bit confused here - you're claiming you do cycle a lot - but you don't like cycling?
I have to agree with scarlson - most people who live less than say, 35 km (21 miles) could easily bike to work, if they wanted. With a reasonably level of fitness, you could do such a ride in under an hour.
Is it work - absolutely. But come on, you save money, you get to see the outdoors, and you get exercise.
Beyond 35 km, yeah, I'd probably think twice, if it was every day. However, I know of people who bike from Penrith to Sydney CBD here, a distance of around 56 km (35 miles) - each way.
And by appropriate clothing - I think he means bike clothes (i.e. lycra). Sure, you can't wear it around the office - but I just get changed in our bathrooms at work.
I have the luxury of being not only 2.5 miles from my workplace (I ride in daily), but I can bring my carbon fiber race bike into my office and lean it against my desk. I am very lucky.
I've gotten very good at doing a mild cleanup upon arrival at the office if I go for a longer training ride before work: a damp washcloth, reapplication of deodorant, and I'm usually good. I do shower and shave before leaving my house, though, so I am starting things off fresh.
That's not to say you can't bike for significant parts of the year, but there are definitely days where it wouldn't just be uncomfortable, it would be unsafe, to bike to work in Texas. Add to that that certain cities, like Austin, are also fairly hilly.
That shouldn't restrict you from ever biking though, as seems to be the excuse some people are using.
I do wish I could bike to work but I just don't feel safe. If there was a bike lane all the way to work, I'd feel safe enough to bike it.
Sometimes it's nice to have some strength in numbers; can you commute in with a coworker?
677 bicycle deaths vs 230 deaths for those walking. Interestingly many more pedestrians were injured than pedalcyclists injured in that same time period.
If there were dedicated bike lanes going to work, I'd be in them.
As it is, I walk or take my car.
I would never consider biking downtown, at least not yet.
I ride between 5,000-10,000 miles a year. I've had several crashes due to my own fault or other cyclists' faults in races. I've also been hit once and suffered a very minor broken wrist that healed in three weeks. I am pretty lucky.
Some of my friends have been in crashes with cars and they are all fine. It was scary at the moment and they got hurt, with some injuries such as a broken collarbones, but they're all still riding and healthy today.
Of course, they all LOVE riding bikes. If you don't love to ride bikes, it's tough to "get on that horse after it bucks you off," so to speak.
I want a pony. =)
I didn't move close to my job to spend 30+ minutes a day commuting.
I don't want to show up sweaty to the office.
I can run errands or meet someone for lunch. After work I wouldn't need to go home to get my car if I, on a whim, wanted to go across town for whatever reason.
Bay area is popular for biking because they make it difficult to park. Where I live they make it easy with large free parking lots. I'm in a large coastal city.
On a bicycle you have the Highway Code (or equivalent) on your side, you are also able to go into pedestrian mode if need be. Therefore you do not have to stop for anyone or anything if you do not want to. There are softer targets than cyclists and softer cyclists than you. So long as you have your wits about you then there is no need to be apprehended when on a bicycle.
You can even change your route to avoid having to stop, e.g. at a junction. You can also change your pace without arousing suspicion. There is no need to use a 'car park' or other area targeted by thieves. With an unassuming but well locked bicycle you need not have your ride be a cause of concern, even if locked up in an area you do not know well. In some cities parking is so expensive that the loss of a bicycle seat or wheel is 'affordable' risk.
By sticking to the tin box you are part of the problem and not the solution. Cities need regular citizens walking about in them to feel safe.
I know what I am talking about. My response to this was to ride a bicycle and never be a pedestrian in that bit of town again. I also moved house, seeing my own blood on the pavement was a bit much!
On your bike!
Maybe you should harden up and accept that life comes with the occasional slight discomfort.
Perhaps start-ups need to offer showers and changing rooms and safe bike storage, instead of ping-pong tables and air hockey?
As for safe storage of your bike, just take it into the office and lean it against your desk. Don't ask permission.
Small problem, the hills are many, varied, and of enough incline and length, to make them a challenge even to seasoned riders. So its rare to see them there. If anything I am more bound to find them on the 45mph roads as those tend to be flatter. Some of them do have bike lanes.
Now we have change the purpose of some parks to be more family friendly and bike friendly, these are normally connected to purpose built bike and walking trails; the Silver Comet is one.
So I think geography does influence it a bit. Even if I were within a few miles of where I needed to go the land just isn't all that much fun to zip about, unless on a motorcycle then those curves and hills are most fun.
By the way, how did you know where I live?