Active commuters are the happiest commuters. By cycling to work, you’ll start the day with a natural high.
With so many obvious benefits to cycling, there is no good excuse not to ride your bike to work. Here are a few tips to help you start rolling.
Find a Reliable Bike
You need a bicycle that can ride through all types of weather, but especially rain. Spending a few bucks more on a bike is well worth it as you want to avoid frequent repairs.
But, you don’t want to spend too much on a new bike if you plan on locking it outside as it will just be a target for thieves, waiting to get snatched.
Generally, $400 to $900 can get you something sturdy and reliable.
Look for a bike with wide tires. They offer a better grip in slippery conditions and help spread the load. Hub gear bikes are considered the best for commuting.
Lock it Up Safe
There’s no surefire way to ensure your ride never gets stolen, but a quality lock will significantly reduce the chances. Don’t skimp on the lock.
If you can’t store your bike in a secure indoor location, make sure to always park it in a well-lit area with CCTV cameras.
If you are in the US, register your bike at bikeindex.org. If you’re in the UK, register it at bikeregister.com.
Before you decide on a lock, check what the sold secure website has to say. It’s a non-profit run by the Master Locksmiths Association. You don’t necessarily need to get the best lock; it just needs to be better than all the other locks on the bike rack.
Gather Your Gear
First, you need to ditch your briefcase and replace it with a commuter backpack. As the name suggests, such backpacks are specially designed for commuting.
When you’re an active commuter, it’s best to pack light. If you need to bring more luggage to work, consider getting a pannier rack for your bike.
That’s the beauty of bicycles— they are highly customizable. If your bike doesn’t have fenders, make sure to get some. You don’t want to walk into the office with a trail of mud on your back.
Commuter bikes usually come with dynamo lights. If yours doesn’t have a dynamo light, consider getting one. Dynamo lighting is convenient, durable, reliable, and environmentally friendly.
In some countries (such as the US), adult cyclists are not legally obliged to wear helmets, but you will do yourself a great favor if you get one. It goes without saying that it can save your life.
If you’ll be riding on busy streets, it’s best to get a bell. No matter how dorky it may look, it will help make sure you get to work on time.
Flats are a fact of life for cyclists, so they are no excuse to be late to the Monday morning meeting. Make sure to always bring a flat-fixing kit, and learn how to use it before you actually get a flat tire.
Don’t ride your bike on sidewalks. Commuters who bike on sidewalks endanger pedestrians and themselves.
While cycling laws vary by state, you should be able to take the middle of a regular car lane. This allows you to avoid potholes, gravel, or other obstacles that can be found on a road’s shoulder.
Cyclists have their own language and most drivers can understand it, so make sure to learn how to use hand signals. By using hand signals, you can indicate which direction you plan to turn or when you’re slowing down. Hand signals help make the road safer for everyone.
Avoid listening to music through earphones or headphones as they block too much ambient traffic noise. Because you need all of your senses when cycling, they are not a safe option.
Prep Your Office
When the day is hot, there is not much you can do to avoid a sweaty commute. Whether you can or cannot take a shower at the office, you need to strategize your clean up.
Stashing extra towels, toiletries, and clothes at your desk is a good idea. Keeping an extra suit jacket and a set of dress shoes is also recommended. Old newspapers will come in handy when you need to dry off your stuff after a rainy commute.
If you live more than a few miles from your office, you need to make sure the distance is doable for you.
Before you start biking to work, take your new bike for a few longer test rides. For the first couple of times, you can hitch a ride to work, then ride your bike home.
Since commuting is not the Tour de France, you get to choose how often you will ride your bike to work. Start with small goals, such as commuting by bike two or three times a week.