Commuting by bike is a great way to get in some additional exercise, save on gas, limit your carbon footprint and decompress before and after work. Riding a bike in the city can be terrifying at first, but it can completely change the way you see the city. Here are some tips to make commuting by bike safe, fun, and convenient.
Follow the rules
Get a helmet, learn the rules of the road for your area, and always have a bike light in case you ride home after dark. It’s the law, and in some cities you will get a ticket for not being prepared.
Test your route
Find a bike-safe route on your city’s website or Google maps and test it out via car or jog to see if it’s safe to ride. Do you feel comfortable with the bike lane and on any rougher terrains, like hills? If not, keep looking until you find something that feels safe and manageable.
Get a strong lock
Most offices now have a safe place to lock up, but just in case, get a strong lock so you aren’t worrying about your bike all day. Get an integrated chain lock that is long enough to go around your frame, a wheel, and whatever you’re locking up with. Wire locks are incredibly easy to clip and cheaper Ulocks are easy to pick. You will probably spend more but less than the cost of a new bike. Make sure you lock up your wheels and part of the frame against a sturdy pole or bike rack. If you want extra security, use a ULock or second chain to lock up the back wheel and frame.
Keep a “freshen up kit” at your desk
No one wants to sit in their own sweat all day! Keep a stash of baby wipes, a clean undershirt, dress shoes, or cologne in case you get in a little grimier than anticipated.
Invest in a bell, brightly colored helmet, and some reflective gear. Ride cautiously and make eye contact with drivers to make sure they know you’re there and to share the road. Use hand signals to make sure you are seen and to communicate with drivers. Always be aware of your surroundings and look out for opening doors and pedestrians.
Enjoy your commute, and check with your office to see if your company offers any incentives for green transportation.