You have seen a cyclist commuting to work and wonder how they manage to do all that? Perhaps it has crossed your mind can you too go biking to work?
Especially when it’s good for your health, finance and overall well being of the environment. Biking to work can be the perfect way to save money, reduce the carbon footprint, and increase independence.
But despite all those obvious reasons to start biking to work; you feel it overwhelming to hop on a bicycle and commute for the first time.
In the ideal world of bicycle commuters, you would have the luxury of dedicated bicycle lanes right to your office. But unfortunately, we are talking of reality where to find a bicycle lane on to work is a blessing.
But don’t worry as I am here to help get you rolling with my 10 easy tips to get started.
Keep Your Plans Achievable
If you are new to commuting you should not make big plans. Yes, there are so many opportunities in store for you, but let the progress be slow and steady.
Having grand plans to commute is good but its the achievable goals that really matters and keeps you motivated.
Begin with an achievable goal to commute just once in a week; that too on your preferred day in a week. If you feel comfortable commuting and consistent then add more days to your routine.
Proceed gradually to your goal of commuting daily to your workspace, so it’s easy on yourself to be consistent.
If you have several miles in lines to work; consider asking your friend or a co-worker for hitching and return back home commuting. Don’t worry about what they would say; many times asking politely does wonder and you never know without asking if the next person is looking for a company on the drive to work.
Read Also: How Long Does It Take To Bike 20 Miles
Carry Out a Practice Run
If you are nervous or uncertain whether your commute to work using a bicycle will be successful, why not carry out a practice run?
As well as allowing you to become more familiar with your route to work, it also means that you have a more realistic overview of the time it takes to reach your destination.
Further, you should always be comfortable with your bike before riding around town. Take some time to practice, try some range of motion riding on a calm street, and be comfortable riding a bike again.
Cycling is among one of those things you never forget and thus require just a mild practice.
Biking To Work: Plan Your Route
Although many people can access maps directly from their smartphone, there can be instances when this is not a viable option. The shortest path on road is not always the best one.
There can be more traffic to contend with during rush hour, so safety must be constantly maintained. In addition to this, a weak Internet connection could mean navigating becomes more stressful than it needs to be.
Take some time the day before to look for the quiet streets, bicycle lanes and canals to analyze what could be the best route possible balancing both ease of travel and time.
For further help in the process, you may also try various services like bicycle route planner that helps you ride away from busy traffic.
Read Also: Why Fixed Gear Bikes Are Good For Commuting
Do Not Stress About Clothes
Yo do sweat and your clothes too may get a little untidy commuting; but it does not mean you should give up on your goal biking to work because of some stress about clothes, hi-gene or sweat. It’s just part of whole biking experience that everyone faces and find one’s own solution.
Ideally, commuters like to take shower at their office before getting dressed up in their work clothes. But that too is not always the case as there are many who do not. It’s not hard to find someone commuting in their work clothes and even business suits.
So it’s you who decides what you are wearing on commute and whether you like or not to take shower in your office ( Yes you have to get a little early ). Even if your office don’t have showers you can clean yourselves with a moist cloth in the restroom.
That is why I always carry a nice chamois towel to dry off quickly. These special towels designed for swimmers are light, soft on skin and are easy to carry.
Also Read: Best Bike Skirt (Cycling Skorts) for Women
Follow The Roads, Not Just the Lanes
Depending on the distance of your commute you might be able to commute through clear streets or need to follow the busy roads. When riding on road be cognizant of your surrounding vehicles, fellow cyclist, pedestrian and swinging doors of parked vehicles.
You need to be extra careful around parked vehicles; as you never know which door will come swinging right at you. Although it feels its all their fault they too don’t expect us coming from behind and get us in catch 22 situations when they instantly swing their doors on us.
When following roads with dedicated bicycle lanes try to ride in the middle; as it gives you the flexibility to move between obstacles.
Do not restrict yourself from moving between the lanes when required. In my experience, I have found most drivers to be friendly towards cyclists; opposite to popular beliefs on social media.
Always Obey The Traffic Rules
Riding bikes doesn’t mean you need not worry about traffic rules or the rules no longer applies. Yes, there are many traffic rules that are no longer relevant to a cyclist on bikes.
But there are a few common rules that still apply; for example, you need to stop at the signal, ride in a predictable manner, make yourself visible at night and use hand signals to communicate. There are different hand signals that you can use but least learn the most basic ones.
When riding its a good practice to maintain a safe distance from others and be watchful. If not necessary one should not move between lanes too often causing confusion.
Further one should avoid undertaking trucks or lorries at all costs unless quite experienced; commuting on a busy traffic. At last take it easy on your first ride; there is no need to go super fast maneuvering aggressively on roads drenched in sweat; as the reward is less than the increased risks of accident.
Read Also: Is It Legal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk?
Biking To Work – Choose Your Bike Carefully
To choose the right bike you need to ask yourself a few basic questions. How long is your commute? Are you exposed to unpaved terrain? is the area hilly? A mountain bike would be more appropriate if the area is hilly and exposed to plenty of unpaved tracks.
In case you are riding mostly on roads a road bike is more effective and easy to ride. Similarly, with your dress and riding style, you should switch between a backpack or a pannier based on crosswind intensity.
I personally prefer a road bike to commute in cities and hybrid for the outskirts, small towns, and villages.
Maximize Visibility with Lights and Reflectors
Traveling to work on a bike can occur at different intervals in the day. In addition to darkness, bikers also must contend with challenging weather conditions. As expected, dark environments can mean cyclists are challenging to see, so cyclists must take precautions.
Bicycles should have a white light on the front and a red light on the back. In addition to lights, the bike needs reflectors to enhance visibility at night.
Furthermore, those commuting to work via bicycle should also invest in reflective clothing design with cyclists in mind.
Wear A Helmet – Safety
No one wants to be in an accident; that truth but you should be always prepared to protect yourself In the unlikely case of an accident. When crashing into a car or any other vehicle the most vulnerable part is your head as there is less possibility of a recovery in event of any damage.
If you are worried about your life and safety on road its better you follow the lanes and wear a helmet to protect your head. I personally prefer BASE CAMP Adult Bike Helmet ( Get it On Amazon ) with Rear Light for its great design, safety features, excellent fit, and great value.
Do not forget to buy a pocket comb to address hair issues after you take off your bike helmet at the office. When riding at night prefer to use cycling vests with reflective properties.
Be Prepared to Cycle in All Weather Conditions
Although cycling to work on a sunny day can be blissful, there can be times when there is heavy rain. Those commuting to work in these conditions need to ensure that they have the right attire, such as waterproof garments.
Depending on the time of day you travel, you could be contending with cold weather in the morning and evenings, so purchasing warm clothing designed for cyclists is a worthwhile investment.
It can also be worth having a spare set of clothes to hand, just in case the worst-case scenario arises.
Learn Some Basics of Bicycle Maintenance
When commuting to work one should know some basic things like how to adjust seat height, lubricate your chain, maintain appropriate air pressure in tires, clean your Seatpost, how to replace a chain, check brakes, and know-how to replace chains, tires and break pads.
You will not always require to do that other than keeping your bicycle clean and maintaining appropriate air pressure. But knowing these skills helps in longer commute as findings a repair shop can be sometimes tricky especially if you are out of the town, city or village.
You may find this article ( 101 Maintenance Tips For Bikes ) helpful keeping your bike maintained, clean and always ready for a long ride.
Arrive Cool, Calm and Collected
The secret to a successful commute is drinking plenty of water. Regardless of how far a person travels to work using a bike, ensuring your water bottle is filled allows you to stay hydrated during your commute.
When cycling to work for the first time, it is not long before the adrenaline is pumping, and it feels like you could pedal forever. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case, and it often leads to severe exhaustion.
Pedaling at a moderate pace ensures plenty of momentum when cycling to work, without the risk of using too much energy too soon.
One of the reasons why traveling to work using a bicycle can be difficult is because of the timing allowed to travel to a destination. Despite the benefits of cycling to work, there can be more challenges to contend with compared to those driving.
Fortunately, leaving earlier can be the perfect contingency plan and allows any unforeseen circumstances to be dealt with calmly.
Although commuting to work using a bicycle can be the perfect substitute for public transport, there will be times when public transport will need to be used in conjunction with cycling to work.
Following the prior tips should mean you arrive at work in a calm and collected manner.
Taking some wet wipes along with you allows you to wipe down the seat after your journey and can also be used to refresh yourself before starting work.