Bicycle Commuting Tips
With warmer days approaching, it’s a good time to consider commuting to work to add some extra miles and cardio fitness to your schedule. Should you only have one day to do it, Bike-to-Work Day hits this year on May 17 in 2019. Here are a few tips to help make that first commute day less daunting and more enjoyable.
– Clothing: Check the weather the night before so you can decide whether you should wear light breathable material on the hotter days, or brace for a chillier morning with add-ons like arm or leg warmers. It’s better to take too much then to take too little as most items can be removed and left at work. Wear bright colors when possible, and consider reflective material.
–Tools: Taking an extra spare tube or two, a multi-tool, and a co2 pump/hand-pump will help you avoid being stuck on the side of the road, it may also help you save another commuters day.
–Lights: Along with brighter cycling attire, lights will help you be visible to other commuters and motorists. Run lights not only during the dark but also during the day as research has shown there’s an incident drop of 19% when cyclists ride with day time running lights (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22884376). Have charging cables or extra batteries stowed at work to charge for later. Take spare batteries with you or an external battery pack should your lights decide to go out mid-ride. Tip: Having more than one rear and front light will help you continue should any of the lights run out of battery.
-Panniers/Backpacks/Messenger Bags: Choose a comfortable bag to take work clothes in, shower essentials, and tools with you. Consider weight, ease of use and bags with ventilated back panels. Tip: Look for commuter bags that include a rear light strap to attach a rear light for better visibility.
Using an app like Ride with GPS (www.ridewithgps.com), Strava’s Route Builder (https://www.strava.com/routes/new), or Map My Ride (www.mapmyride.com) will help you find not only the best route but the safest. These apps have accumulated data for the most trafficked areas in your city by cyclist and generate a route based off that data. Additionally, should your commute need to change due to traffic jam, road closure etc., you can map out an alternate route using these apps.
-Cash: Bring extra cash with you in case you need to purchase food or stop at a bike shop for any repairs.
–RideShare: Should you find yourself stranded in need of a ride home or to work, download to your smartphone your choice of ride share apps, e.g., Uber, Lyft, etc. that service your local area in advance of your ride to make it easier to schedule a pickup.
Tip: Call or text your ride share service ahead of the pick up to make sure they can accommodate your bike. Be familiar with removing both wheels to stow in the vehicle trunk if necessary.
While commuting the streets or bike paths; plan ahead, stay alert, be courteous, ride defensively and most of all have fun!
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