Exercise. Save money. Fresh air. Avoid traffic. Enjoy nature. Whether you do it for you, the environment or your wallet, there are far more pros than cons for bike commuting. To those just starting out, the task can be daunting but we’ve got some pro tips to take you from frustrated on the freeway to blissful on the bike path!
PLOT YOUR PATH: Use the google maps cycling option or Ride the City to pick a route, and try a test ride on the weekend BEFORE you plan to commute. It gives you chance to judge how long it’ll really take you, figure out any necessary detours, and won’t make you late for your morning meeting.
BE NICE TO YOUR BACK: You can easily get by using a backpack, but the one thing that’ll take your commute from comfortable to cushy are panniers or a basket! They don’t have to be a huge investment, can be mounted on almost any bike, and are well worth it. You’ll get less sweaty, feel more comfortable and easily be able to pack more things, making after work errands a breeze.
STAY FRESH: A shower at work is a luxury, not a pedal-pushing necessity. If being a sweat monster at work doesn’t appeal to you, ride slowly the last few minutes of your trek to cool down. Get out of your sweaty clothes ASAP, wipe down with a clean washcloth and swipe on some deodorant before putting on your fresh clothes. No one will be the wiser.
DOUBLE UP: Keep a set of toiletries and a full “emergency” outfit at work, including underthings, so you don’t risk looking undone if you forget something crucial at home.
LONG HAIR DON’T CARE: Yes, you need to wear a helmet, even if you don’t have a shower at work but need to look good. Shake some dry shampoo in your hair beforehand to catch sweat, and pile your hair on top of your head, under your helmet. It’ll help with volume and avoid helmet head.
LOOK SHARP: Getting your clothes to work wrinkle-free can be a cinch with a little planning. Roll wrinkle-ables up gently in a dry cleaning bag before laying in your pannier or basket. An alternative is to drop off your outfits at work beforehand – one trip on the weekend is better than 5 drives during the week!
LAYER UP: Weather is unpredictable, and it’ll take a little while before you find your bike-outfit-groove. Dress in layers, and keep some rain gear in your pannier, so you’re always ready for what Mother Nature’s planning.
FLASHING LIGHTS: You can never have too many lights on your bike! Make sure you’re well illuminated so other vehicles, including other cyclists on the bike paths, can see you to help avoid getting hit.
DRIVE YOUR BIKE: By “driving” your bike and treating it like a vehicle, you’re more predictable to motorists which = less chance of being hit. Stay off sidewalks, stop at lights and use hand signals to communicate where you’re going.
Feel free to post your own pro-tips in the comments below, then get out and get biking!