Riding your bike to work is way cooler than driving your car. Riding helps you save money, stay in shape, and know your city. It’s good for the environment and you may just discover you’re not as dependent on your motor vehicle as you thought. It takes a little preparation and some getting use to you but whether you have a 2 mile or 20 mile commute, riding can be very beneficial and fun!
Here’s some tips for a successful commute…
There are several items that are essential for commuting and you don’t want to leave home without them:
- Bike – Duh. Any bike will do, but have a professional mechanic take a look at it first to make sure it’s in good working order. Any of our local bike shops can help you out.
- Lights – Front and rear so you will be visible while on the road. You can choose battery operated or rechargeable. Just make sure they are bright and on your bike.
- Lock – You’ve got to protect your assets. Make sure you have a good lock. We suggest a U-lock style over the very easy to cut cable lock.
- Tools – Carry a spare tube and tools for fixing flats or other basic maintenance. Don’t know how to fix a flat? Attend one of our Open Bike Nights on the first Thursday of each month to learn how to do common repairs.
- Bag – Just a backpack will do for most short trips but depending on what you need to bring you might consider a rack and panniers. These specialized bags feature waterproof fabrics, easy grab and go flexibility and they mount to your bike instead you.
- Clothes – You need to be comfortable while riding so be sure to have plenty of layers so you won’t get too hot or too cold. You can also invest in cycling shorts with padding, items with reflective thread and other features and a nice rain coat in case the weather turns on you.
Now that you have all your gear you might want to do some preparation so your commute goes smoothly.
- Determine your route. Plan a route ahead of time and test it when you are not working. This way you can work out all the kinks. It’s important to determine how long it will take and add a buffer so you’re not late. No one likes to start the day with an angry boss. Other things to keep in mind… rush hour traffic could cause a slight delay or you may consider a less traveled road, one with bike lanes or a greenway to avoid it all together. You’ll also want to make sure there is a good place to lock your bike. Think open space where everyone can see your bike, because people are less likely to tamper with it. Also, you may be riding in the dark or at dawn or dusk so have your lights on so everyone can see you.
- Make sure your bike is in good working order. Check to make sure everything is working as it should. If you’re not sure, take it to a local bike shop for a tune up. These normally only cost $50 and they are well worth it. It’s also good to know how to do basic maintenance on your own, like change a flat tire, so look online or ask someone who knows to teach you so you’ll be prepared.
- Know how to ride safely and legally. Whether you have been riding for decades or just started it is important to know how to ride on the road so you are safe and courteous to those around you. Group rides are a good way to learn the proper etiquette for riders. You should also check your local laws to determine expectations for you and drivers.
The last thing you need to commute by bicycle is will power.
We’re not gonna lie, some days it’s tempting to sleep in and drive but when you get up, get your gear and start pushing those gears, you’ll be glad you did.