Bike to Work Week is just a few days away now and a great time to start your new commute! If you’re new to biking to work, or even biking in general here are 10 tips below that can get you started.
Check Your Gear:
As you’re planning your new commuting habits, check to see if you have all the necessary equipment and its condition. Your check list should include: a well-running bike (make sure its serviced by a professional if you haven’t road in a while); a properly-fitted helmet; a bike light for those early morning and late evening commutes; and a backpack that fits all your work related items.
Chart Your Route: Make it Attainable!
Before setting out on your normal route to work, make sure your commute is safe and attainable. Maybe you only live a few miles away from work, but that route has windy roads and minimal shoulders; or maybe your roads are safe, but it’s a long commute. If your normal commute is unsafe, chart out a different route to work. Map out alternate roads that are safer and connect to trails. An easy way to check for trail connections and safe biking roads is with Google Maps’ Bicycling layer. This layer will show you official trails in your area and safe roads to ride on. If your commute is longer than your body or schedule can handle, consider driving to a destination close by and riding the rest of the way.
Choose a Road with Minimal Traffic
Choosing a quiet road when considering your route will be helpful to keep your stress level down. Even the most experienced cyclist will be more stressed in the presence of heavy traffic. Also, think about it from the motorist side: Have you ever been stuck in traffic on a slim road just because there’s a cyclists ahead of you and no one can safely pass them? Quieter roads are better for everyone.
Set an Achievable Frequency:
Keep with a frequency works for you! Commuting by bike 5 days a week, sounds like a great plan, but is it something your schedule can handle? Set a commuting goal of one to three times per week then add more frequency.
Do a Dry Run on a Day Off:
Commuting by bike is completely different than commuting by car – make sure you do a dry run on a day off. If you’re doing it on a weekend, make sure you know the amount of traffic the road gets during rush hour.
Don’t Worry About What You’re Wearing:
We’ll let you in on a secret: You don’t have to wear lycra to be a cyclist. If you have a short commute and are able to ride in your work attire, then do it! All you need to ride your bike is a properly-fitted helmet and working bicycle.
But DO Consider Riding Shorts:
It doesn’t matter what you wear while riding, but if you’re commuting longer distances you may want to purchase padded riding shorts. Your butt will thank you.
Learn How to Fix a Flat Tire:
A flat tire will ruin anyone’s day, especially if you’re on a busy road and need to get to work. Know how to change a flat tire. There are plenty of videos on YouTube to learn or check with your local bike shop to see if they have any fix-a-flat workshops.
Take Clothes and Food to Work the Day Before Your Ride:
Lugging around extra clothes and food while you’re riding can be uncomfortable. Take work clothes and your food with you to work the day before your ride.
Biking to work with a friend can keep you motivated and improve your visibility on the road. Check your company’s HR Department to see if there is a cycling group or ask your riding buddies that work near you if they would like to change their commute with you.
If you don’t have cycling friends here is a good way to make them: www.nationalbikechallenge.org. The National Bike Challenge, powered by Strava, is a fun way to log your riding miles and see how other locals compare to you May through September. TMACC is hosting a local advocacy challenge on the website called “Chester County’s Bike Challenge Presented by TMACC”. We will have monthly rides and prizes to give away during the challenge. Sign up today!
Celebrate Bike to Work Day!
A good way to get tips and encouragement is to celebrate biking to work with friends! National Bike to Work Day is May 19th and all over the country advocacy and biking groups are hosting fun rides. If you live or work in Chester County, make sure to sign up for TMACC’s Bike to Work Challenge at www.tmacc.org and bring your co-workers! The more riders you bring, the better chance at winning the TMACC Bike Horns Trophy. If you don’t live in Chester County, check your local TMA or bicycling advocacy group for a ride.