30 day challenge begins: biking to work

The overwhelming winner in my 30 day poll was “Bike to work” so that’s what I’m doing during the month of July. In the third week of July I’ll be out in Boston to speak at SIGIR, but any time I’m heading into the Googleplex during July, I’m planning to bike there.

Is there something good for yourself that you’ve been meaning to do? Why not try it for 30 days this month? The month will end whether you try something new or not, so why not tackle something new?

77 Responses to 30 day challenge begins: biking to work (Leave a comment)

  1. How far do you live from work?

  2. im not drinking any beer or soda and not eating fast food this month.

  3. I actually just started doing the same thing this morning! It’s good to know I’m not alone 😉

    For me, though, it’s only about a half-mile ride; nothing too bad. What will you do if it rains?

  4. Keep on riding Matt!:)

  5. What Bike have you got ? and you are going to be wearing a helmet i hope – I got mild concusion when i hit a kerb on a badly liughted street in london a few years back.

  6. You can track your calories burned, miles on the bike and time using the Garmin Edge 305.
    It’s an awesome bike computer…

  7. Thank God you didn’t choose “not blogging” for 30 days. We’d miss your posts!

  8. Hi Matt, sorry to be off-topic; might i suggest an option to have follow-up comments emailed?

  9. That’s awesome! 🙂 I should start working out, I’ll start today and I hope I don’t quit in 1 month 😀

  10. I’m going to read one book a week for the next 30 days

  11. I’m in on the 30 day challenge: No beer, bread and 1 hour of exercise per day: http://is.gd/1kqQb (Hope posting the link is okay, if not please remove)

  12. cool ! all the best !!

  13. Okay, no martinis, just the occasional wine and crunches and push-up each day.

  14. Inspiration comes from a variety of sources. Late in december last year my closest sister was in a bad car accident and was paralyzed below the chest. She spent a little over 2 weeks in intensive care and then, beginning january 2009, lived in a physical rehab facility until late May 2009. Around mid-February I decided to exercise more because I COULD use my legs (to exercise) but wasn’t, and here was my sister without the use of hers. I felt like a huge asshole for taking my moving legs for granted. That was my inspiration. I’ve been exercising 5 days a week since then and my determination to keep up the regime has turned into a habit which I now do without even thinking. I’ve lost 30 lbs so far. I’m 6’4″ and have gone from 230 to 200 lbs.

    This isn’t really a 30 day self-challenge, but the point of my story is to let people know that sometimes if you can’t find the motivation, the motivation finds you. Unfortunately for me it was in the form of my crippled sister. She is slowly getting back movement in and feeling in her lower extremities if anybody is interested, but she still has a lot of hard work and rehab ahead of her.

  15. I’ve been meaning to take up crack cocaine and this post has inspired me to do so for the next 30 days! 😉

  16. When I lived in Santa Clara, I biked to work in Sunnyvale 3x weekly and miss it a lot. CA is great for bike lanes and people who actually know that a bike is “not a toy.” I used to take several days of “business casual” clothes in on Tuesday and change at work to reduce the clothing load.

    So good luck with your rides.

    Tip: Panniers > Backpack for commuting.

  17. Great that you’re taking the challenge! I cycle to work every day (30 mins each way) and love it! It’s a great way to wake up in the morning and keep fit!
    Let me share with you one tip, consider getting an air horn for your bike. There’s nothing like honking a 115 db horn at drivers who haven’t noticed you on your bike! It’s a satisfying thing! lol!

  18. Stay hydrated!

    Depending on how hot it will be, you may want to invest in a Camel-Bak or similar water bladder system. They sell some that you can put in any bag at REI, if I’m not mistaken.

  19. Yes, I would also like to know, how far is the distance between your home and the GooglePlex? Any hard climbs on the distance?


  20. You will love it, I started two weeks ago and I feel fantastic when I get to work. Don’t forget the helmet.

  21. Awesome! I can’t wait to hear how it goes. I find that I loose weight more quickly from biking than from anything else.

    In the spirit of your 30 Day assignment, I am going to write 1000 words each day this month. Also: for this 30-day period I pledge to keep, permanently, any pets that I buy or adopt.

  22. Michael Weir, you seriously made me tear up a little. I’m glad you made something positive from a negative situation. 🙂

    Since my betta fish recently died, maybe I’ll get a new pet for my desk and try to keep it alive for at least 30 days…

  23. Yay Matt!

    Hope you have a great experience with this!

    Give us a climate report for your route… Do drivers… Ignore you? Wave at you? Honk at you? Throw at you?… or… Flip you off? I’ve biked in all of those climates and some are a lot nicer than others. 😛 Maybe you have bike paths all the way and can avoid drivers?

  24. Go for environment! go for a muscle ASS! 🙂 (also: in new zealand they have dressing rooms with showers in many offices so that people that what to come running or by bike can wash before working)

  25. I’ve been meaning to start biking to work since forever, but it’s so cooOOold.

  26. Do I see a typo in the last sentence?

    I’ve been meaning to give up booze for a month….sounds like a good idea

  27. Share your route on Bikemap and embed it here http://www.bikemap.net – so we can see how much of an effort that is 😉

  28. Used to bike a lot when the commute was 10 miles one way. Now at 25 miles, a bit too much for me. Maybe I should try it once – heard there was a back road.

    EGOL, the honking was simply the most annoying thing for me. Maybe after Matt’s experiment Google will figure out a way to tune down the horn, whenever a teen gets behind the wheel.

  29. Mr Cutts,

    Do you listed to podcasts or audiobooks whist velocipeding.
    If so; what ?

    I like Cnet’s “Buzz out loud” and Neal Stephenson books.
    PS tried to find a clever word for cycling but “Pseudonym: cycling” did not do anything in Google. if you have “define:” it would be good to have Pseudonym:

  30. The cold weather is the best for riding!

  31. I walk from the house out to the office (about 150 feet) every single day. Boy am I in shape!

  32. Good for the environment which is nice,

    Myself I voted for no sugar. Mainly because you looked healthy and in quite good shape in one of your recent videos. Maybe more arm muscles also? Thought you maybe already does some low intensive work out? And sugar isn’t really any good at all.

    But biking is nice. Also I remember from Microsoft:s building in Palo Alto large extremly nice parks close by with no one at all in. And everyone was using the car. Outside the city it was like deserted but the cars.

    Maybe more people will stark biking with the increase in understanding of the damage card does. And you will get more biking-roads with trees and stuff like we have here (but maybe you already have it).

    A good thing anyhow of people with some influence to use that to be an example. It often seems strange to me that it is so uncommon. Gives some more believe in humans general to see here and other places that it is starting to become a little more common.

  33. PS

    I’m trying to juggle myself. Thought it could be good for the brain due to some research and also ideas I got from a couple of studies in close by areas. The positive effect was quite surprising but such of course is very different between people.

    Very cheap also. Tree balls cost me only 29 swedish kronor (maybe $3 – $4 US?)

    Was also thinking about a vacation which was 3 – 4 years since. Maybe that monkey world in UK I saw on Animal Planet.

  34. Excellent advice Matt.

    I’m going to exercise everyday – every single day – no matter what.

    Thank you!

  35. Hey Matt,

    Which bike you have?? For cheaper travel you can also get an Gas fueled bike which is latest launch. How far you stay from your work place?

    Have a great experience with this! (And share it 🙂 So will enjoy!)

    Good Luck


  36. Thinking of sending one spam tweet @mattcutts everyday for 30 days 🙂


  37. Bravo Matt. You are an inspiration. My friends Linda, Terry and I are heading to SES and looking forward to it. The Google booths were always so amazing and informative, very typical Google!

  38. O(∩_∩)O here,many people bike from Chengdu to Tibet in China.

  39. Inspiring Matt, you’ve come a long way with your fitness goals these past two years. July is fitting for riding your bike to work, like the Tour de Mountain View. 🙂

  40. Inspiring thoughts Matt, Really its a 30 day challenge for me to do exercise regularly 😀

  41. John Scott Cothill

    Hey Matt,

    As an avid cyclist (I try to do 20 miles a day, twice – before and after work) I’d just like to point out a cool app for the G1. It is called ‘Cardio Trainer’ (http://www.worksmartlabs.com/) and it maps such things as average speed, min and max, how long you’ve been in the saddle for, climb… and it maps it all to Google Maps.

    As well as having their website that you can log in to (for free) to view map and statistics, they have a Facebook widget so it displays something like your past 10 times and distances as well as adding an update to your profile as soon as you’ve finished. So, no slacking otherwise all your friends and family will know about it! I love this on the G1, I’ve recently been able to slice my time down for completing a 20 mile circuit just due to this.

    Good luck Matt! Oh and I’m sure you’ll feel much better through the day after a bit of peddle power, I know I do!

  42. Good thing Matt… don’t stop after 30 days though…

    I am biking to work for about 2 years now… the only real “challenge” is the big bridge over the river. But even then… I am faster @work now.

  43. Good choice!
    I’ve started biking to work 2 months ago and now I’m a bike addict 😉

  44. I have been reading your blog for…. about a year, i suppose… and it’s always very informative. But your 30 day challenges have definitely inspired me to do some of my own. I couldn’t stick to just one a month though. I’m about 7 months pregnant and have been a bit complacent… I had to give up some things, of course, and in the process I seem to have given up too much of who I am and seem to just go to work and come home and read pregnancy books and I’m starting to feel like my life is already revolving around the baby. So, anywho… it’s time I take some of ME back. So, here’s my list for the next 30 days, so far:
    1. Read Daily Bible… daily, of course
    2. Read 2 non-baby books (a small amount, yes… but in light of working 50+ hours a week and being constantly tired and still reading baby books, too… i had to start somewhere)
    3. Start playing piano again for 1 hour a week
    4. Drink 2 bottles of water a day (i usually have trouble finishing one)
    5. Exercise 4 times a week
    6. Keep track of progress and how it affects my attitude in a journal every week
    7. Put together recipe book (something I’ve been meaning to compile for quite some time)

    And of course… I’m going to constantly be searching for more inspiration on things to add to my list

    Thanks again and good luck with your biking to work!

  45. i tried biking to work couple of years ago, it was fun, because i had shower at my office. I did it for more then two weeks, than i stoped=)
    have fun biking to work!

    i stsrted yesterday shooting the ball in the morning ant the basketball playgroud, i like it, and i think i try to do it for a long time, maybe all summer

  46. This is great Matt! 🙂

    It was a healthy and good for the environment choice. I hope you live near the Googleplex though… otherwise it will be more difficult.

    You have to take photos or film your bike rides!

  47. It must be hot there….anyways all the best…..

  48. I’ve started going for daily walks now the weathers getting better here in the UK, gets me away from my desk anyway!

  49. Dang! You got shocks, pegs… lucky! You ever take it off any sweet jumps?

  50. BradleyT just came up with your next 30-day challenge, Matt…go to Alaska with your uncle and hunt wolverines!

  51. Glad you decided to go with the biking. It’s good for you and it’s good for the environment! Hope it turns out to be a positive change for you.

  52. Good luck. Seems like that area is pretty bike friendly. If I tried that in this area (RTP), I’d get hit.

  53. You the man Matt! We all want to see your biking in action. How about a video or photo of you biking. I’m sure it was more about saving energy than making your “work”. Personally I voted for something easier for you to do without breaking a sweat :0)

  54. You the man Matt! We all want to see your biking in action.

    No we don’t, at least not all of us! 🙂

  55. Great Idea! I think I will do some sort of exercise everyday. Awesome excuse to take the kids surfing 🙂 The wife will enjoy the break as well when I get 4 or 5 of them out of the house. this is going to be fun!!

  56. Matt,

    A little unrelated to the topic (I voted for the bike ride as well, though I am still curious about just how far of a ride it is) I have noticed that in every picture and video I have ever seen you, you are always in a t-shirt. It was like Matt modeling tshirt colors as I scrolled through the videos the other day. Just once I want to see you in a collared shirt on a video.


  57. Got me thinking about what I can do for 30 days. I’m going to read a bible passage every day, I need some redemption. Good luck with the biking!

  58. Matt,

    When I move to my new house, I’ll switch also from car to bike to go to work.
    +1 to go.

    Good luck to everyone switching !

  59. I have this image of the Googleplex being some mythical construction like Emerald City, Willy Wonka’s Factory or Dr Evil’s lair – or is it just a couple of rented offices above an old gymnasium?

  60. Right, I’m in.

    No work for one month as of tomorrow!

  61. The name of the game, (lets get fitter) its easy to say than do. Ive been going the gym for six months and I thought I was very fit. Had a health check with the consultant I was informed that my Cholesterol levels were way to high so I have been told to give up my favourite vice. The point is I train five times a week, dont drink ,dont smoke, dont eat flesh sleep healthy and try not to get stressed. and to be told to give up my only vice (cheese) is going to be such a body blow

  62. How far do you live from work?

    Less than 500 Meters 🙂

    Matt, I hope you mean “Push Bike” as just a “bike” could be a motorbike.

  63. oh spaeking of doing somthing good for your self i took the gamers pledge at the week end http://hauntingthunder.wordpress.com/2009/06/27/the-wargamers-pledge/

    Its where you paint more wargames figures than you buy 🙂

  64. I’ve just been reading a Scientific American article about how exercise is great for the brain (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fit-body-fit-mind) – so you’ll be having a daily *mental* workout, too!

    BTW, if you’re looking for a a personal organization challenge for the 30 days, I’m running a weekly ‘Organizing Mission’ challenge (it’s free) at http://www.getorganizedwizard.com/52missions/.

    It’s only 30 minutes a week, rather than something every day. But as you say, the month will pass anyway, so 4 lots of 30 minutes spent organizing your life could well make a difference. 🙂

  65. I voted for the bike ride.
    Are you posting any pictures to show you actually are biking to your work?

  66. yeah! we want proof 😉
    how’s going?

  67. I wish I could get motivated to stick with an exercise/diet for 30 days. Don’t get me wrong, I train most days of the week, but just lost that enthusiasm I once had. I’ll get back from the gym feeling great and determined to cut out some of those treats, but by later that night, the chocolate/wine/brandy comes out. I keep telling myself that this is why I train, so I can enjoy some of the “naughties” without the consequences. But I’ve got a wedding to get ready for next April, need to beef up so the future Mrs M remembers why she agreed to marry me LOL.

  68. I’ve been bicycle-commuting since the end of 2002- 15 miles one-way at my last job, about 5 miles each way currently (although I often take longer routes). Other than a few weeks of injuries/sickness and really bad weather (okay, and some times of laziness), I usually bike 4-5 days/week. (A few years ago I also started riding at lunch.) I have a stash of clothes at work (replenish every 3 days or so by using my touring bike or using a Topeak quick-release rack, or when I drive), and do a quick change in the bathroom (I wish we had showers!).

  69. Bravo Matt! I have taken a leaf out of your book and decided to go hiking with my family once every two weeks. Its a great way to get back to nature, and spend time with my adorable nephews. I don’t know why i’ve been putting it off these past few weeks!

  70. I’ve done enough biking when I was going to highschool. Every day 16 miles on a bike,.. and way to often against the wind which are strong in the netherlands as the country is flat like water. Since then I’m not interested in getting anywhere by bike anymore. I do like to walk though, which I do every day to my office. Not reaching 20000 steps per day though. More close to 10000 per day.

  71. I’m so excited you’re giving bike commuting a try! My wife and I used to ride everyday but now have to rotate since one of us has to take our 4 month old to daycare. Still, it’s the best way to start/finish each day.

    A few points gleaned from my wife’s EPA coworkers and our NPR bike commuters:
    – talk to the die-hard commuters at your office and get any local tips (traffic, roads, Google amenities) that they can offer.
    – Try to shift as much of your routine as possible to the office. The less you have to cart each day, the happier you’ll be. If you can get a locker and a shower, keep all your toiletries and at least a few pairs of shoes there. A lot of folks at my office leave all their clothes there.
    – If you don’t have it already, invest in some good gear (there is no bad weather, just bad gear.) Get a good blinkie light, The planet bike rear blinkie is so bright and varied it could give you seizures. Great purchase for 25 bucks.
    – Keep your bike in decent shape. Pumping your tires regularly and keeping your chain lubed is about 90% of it.
    – Finally (and I know I don’t even have to tell you), obey traffic laws. It makes me mad when others don’t, as I feel like it gives those of us who do a bad name.

  72. Like your 30 day challenge this month! I am a biker myself. I decided to recommit to biking and am riding to work so far 7 straight days with a little extra added on each day. I Definitely feel a lot better, am saving a little gas, and also leaving a little smaller carbon footprint.

    Keep it up!


  73. “Dry in July” for me!
    No booze, not one drop til 1 August. This is a serious challenge…
    Very curious to see how much better if feel.

  74. Great idea Matt! You’re not only saving gas and helping the environment but your also helping your health. I have started walking or biking for 30 minutes a day around lunchtime. It’s amazing what it does for your energy throughout the rest of the day!

  75. Reminds me of the Sufi practice of “taking an aim”. Provoking personal growth by specifying a measureable, realistic goal, that will provoke growth (if not awakening you to how unconscious you are), and will occur for a given period of time, and declared publicly.

  76. A wonderful idea, I wonder how hard it would be for Google to create a bike to work day for everyone say once a month to start. If a progressive company like Google could do it, it would be bound to spread.