Like many of my peers, I regularly shell out $60 to fill up my car’s gas tank and sadly realized that I spend the majority of my day inside in front of a computer. While the thought of ditching my car and commuting to work by bike always intrigued me, I was deterred by my lack of biking experience and the prospect of sharing the road with aggressive drivers.
At the behest of my bike riding pals, I recently (and very nervously) commuted to work by bike and lo and behold, it was a fun and invigorating experience. Not only did I shave time off of my commute, but I also saved precious money on gas. It was energizing to be outside and empowering to use my own two legs for transportation.
Below are four tips that will ease the stress and increase the fun of commuting to work by bike.
Get the Gear:
You don’t need the most expensive bike for a successful commute. Most any type of bike will suffice for your commute to work as long as it fits you and you feel comfortable riding it. If your bike has been collecting dust, your local bike shop can tune it up for a minimal fee. And, don’t forget to get fitted for a helmet!
Map a Route:
In order to plan the easiest, most direct and safest route to your destination, check out the maps provided by your local bike coalition. While using Google maps is great in a pinch, the maps provided by many local bike coalitions outline existing bike routes, paths, and lanes, and they indicate the grade of a street so you can be sure to avoid those steep hills.
Plan Your Arrival to Work:
Depending on your office dress code and the amount you anticipate sweating, you might want to pack or keep a change of clothes (and stick of deodorant) handy at the office. If your office doesn’t provide showers, check out the facilities at nearby gyms – some even offer free trial memberships.
If your office doesn’t offer storage space for bikes, talk to HR about hanging hooks, cleaning out a closet, or buying a bike barn for storage. In New York City, the Bicycle Access Law was passed in 2010, which requires owners and managers of commercial buildings to permit employees to enter with their bicycles.
Always wear your helmet and be aware and courteous to your fellow bicyclists and motorists. Check out your local bike coalition for safety workshops and advice. The SF Bike Coalition even offers a four-hour Urban Bicycling Workshop for beginner bikers with the aim to make novice cyclists feel more at east on the street.
Even for the inexperienced cyclist, biking to work is a fun, healthy, and rewarding activity. What is your advice to beginners for a fun and successful commute to work by bike?
Image credit: infomatique via Flickr