There I have gone and said it.
Everyone should decrease the frequency of their commutes by personal vehicles. Statistics in the USA show that 40% of car trips are under 3.2km. That is walkable and ride able. I am sure it is the same in my home town of Arusha. Lots of people in my area, Sakina, work in town and it is 3-5km into town. It is ride able.
Kent Petersen ( kentsbike ) says it maybe better, but I want to give a personal touch to anyone who might read this from Arusha.
Is it realistic?
Bikes are okay to use.
First we have to change our mindset in Arusha and think of bicycles differently. They are not only for lower income people. They are just the same as a car, a means of getting from here to there. We shouldn't feel embarrassed to ride bicycles to work, errands, and school. Everything is relative. Everyone can just change the way they look at bikes. It is okay for rich and middle class people to commute by bicycle.
Maybe that is my role. Slowly try to make it okay to use a bike to get around some of the time.
It is not as dangerous as you think. How do you know it is dangerous when you have not tried it.
It is dangerous when bicyclists do stupid actions and don't ride defensively. I have ridden to work over ten years probably 1-200 times per year to work and had one accident and I was not being attentive and some pedestrians passed in front and I locked up the brakes and slid and crashed bruising my ego. Wear a helmet. Be aware. Don't trust anyone. Assume they are trying to knock you down. Don't assume anyone sees you. Pedestrians are actually worse. Look for paths and lightly traveled roads. Have fun. Ring your bell alot. Use lights day and night.
Smile when you commute. Have personal interactions with people and arrive at work happy. Well I can't smile but at least i can smirk.
Be realistic and start slow. Two days a week. Ride slow to work and make it exercise on the way home.
What to do when you get to work.
Shower at home before you leave. Don't use a backpack or pads in the helmet. change clothes at work. Maybe a wash cloth bath. Cool down the last 5 minutes before getting to work.
I still use a car.
See ya, Just now I am going to see my friend Pete's a bit past Usa River, by bike. I could drive but I will go by bike. It would probably take me 60 minutes to drive and it will take me like 90 by bike. Just trying to do my part.
Another time I will tell you how biking to work cured my bad back.