National Bike To Work day occurs on May 21st this year. Many of the folks working at Pedal ride to work, some of them pretty religiously. At some level, biking to work is no more difficult than driving to work. On the other, a bike is not a car. On a bike you’re exposed you to the elements. Your bicycle’s carrying capacity is probably not as expansive as your car’s. Your workplace might have a nice parking lot, but no bike parking. The list of possible impediments can easily become too large to manage. The purpose of this post is to pass along some tips from the shop’s frequent commuters.
- Rain gear changes everything
- Good lights are a must
- Fenders area great
- Allow plenty of time
- Bring water
- Just do it!
- Consider how you’ll carry everything
- Good lights and maybe a place to charge ’em at work
- Plan your safe route
- Talk to your employer about bike parking for a day (or forever)
- Flat pedals are terrific for commuting
- Slow down and enjoy yourself. Not every ride has to be a workout (maybe I’m saying this more to myself than to you).
- Part your hair in any way other than how you wear it normally. When you get to work it can fall into place without helmet hair.
- ALWAYS bring fresh underwear
- Front and rear flashing lights
- I like a cable lock in case of an unscheduled stop somewhere the bike will need to stay outside.
- Be prepared to fix a flat.
- Pack what you might keep in your car’s glovebox. For example: an extra mask, contact lenses, deodorant, Tylenol, etc…
- I’d second that hair tip with a backup hair retention device in case things go south (clips, headband, etc). Humidity and helmets can be a real mess.
- Construction season is upon us. Plan accordingly and maybe have an alternative route in mind. It’s a fun way to learn a new neighborhood (and maybe a better route).
- Choosing the fastest route isn’t always the best option. Instead, I find myself better motivated to ride when I pick a more scenic route that prioritizes low-traffic and makes me feel connected with my neighborhood and community.
- Wear something comfortable. Bring a change of clothes or shoes if you need to. Check the weather before you leave and LAYER UP! Investing in a pair of rain pants was the best decision I could’ve made for commuting.
- Know your rights when it comes to riding. Commuting can be stressful — especially in high-traffic areas. Learning basic cycling tips, such as riding two feet from the curb (versus making yourself as small as possible) or signaling while in traffic allowed me to feel empowered as a cyclist and safer on the road.
Jim, The Silver Fox, Kindle
- If you are averse to getting wet, be sure to check the weather report for the ride home. Rain gear?
- Be sure to keep your bike in good running order.
- Find a bike friendly route / don’t be afraid to go a little out of your way to have a more pleasant ride.
- Do it because you enjoy it. If it’s not for you don’t force it and spoil leisure riding for yourself. (Editor’s note: on the other hand, you’ll never know if you don’t try it once.)