Considering taking up cycling to work? Here are some great tips to do so effectively, efficiently, and most of all safely.
- Start with an attainable distance
If your workplace is just a couple of miles away from home, you can choose to cycle to and from work on the first day. But if it is further away from home and the ride to work will most likely take you more than 45 minutes, then hitching a ride to work with a colleague then riding back home after work might be the best option. The point here is to make the bike commute work for you; focus on yourself and don’t mind what others are doing.
- Set manageable goals
It is a well-established fact that cycling daily to work offers numerous benefits to both you and the environment. It is one of the most impactful decisions you can make. But while you might have set your mind on doing this, cycling back to back days isn’t something many commuters can achieve right off the bat.
To make it easier for you, and minimize the chances of giving up prematurely, set small achievable goals like cycling to work one, two, or three times per week then increase gradually as you get more comfortable suggests Cormac Reynolds of GES.
- Always wear a helmet
This is one of the most important tips on this list. At the very least, you need to protect the most important part of your body: the head. If you are concerned about how your hair will look like when you get to the office, remember to carry a comb or brush.
- Wear reflective gear
Still, on the topic of safety, you need to ensure that other motorists can clearly see you on the road, especially if you commute early in the morning and/or late in the evening. This means doing things like wearing reflective gear and installing a flashing tail light on your bike. When commuting during the day, don bright colors that are easily noticeable.
- Don’t dwell too much on special clothes or gear
If you only have to cover a short distance between your home and workplace, there is no harm in commuting in your work clothes. However, if your bike commute feels more like a workout, you might have to consider some other options.
In Ferrera, a city in Italy, many women have taken up cycling to work, and it isn’t uncommon to see them riding to work in business suits with their briefcases strapped to the bicycle rack. They often wear low-heel pumps and use platform pedals.
- Invest in some cycling shorts
If your ride to work lasts more than 30 minutes, a pair of cycling shorts may help make the commute more comfortable. When cycling for long distances, the ride can get very uncomfortable due to the pressure and friction created at your nether regions where the fabric seams intersect. However, bicycle shorts (worn without underwear) don’t have this problem and are well padded to offer more comfort when riding a bike.
- Do a test ride over the weekend
If you aren’t sure about how long it will take you to get to work on your bike, consider doing a dry run on a weekend before your first commute. Move at a relaxed pace, leaving room for increasing your speed if you were ever short on time.
- Seek out alternative routes
While it may make your commute longer, using an alternative route with minimal traffic might save you a lot of time. The time that you would have otherwise spent navigating traffic. Explore bike paths in the area and mark out the best ones.
- Learn how to deal with a flat
This skill will come in handy should you find yourself in trouble.
- Always bring a cell phone with you and request assistance should you face major mechanical issues
If you can and have enough time to change a flat or fix other mechanical issues, then you don’t have much to worry about. However, if you are running late or don’t know how to go about the repairs, you’ll need to call someone to come pick you up.
- Carry your clothes to work ahead of your commute
If you are planning on wearing special clothes while riding and changing into your work clothes when you get into the office, it will be helpful to bring the clothes with you the day before the commute.
- Set aside time to clean up before work
After cycling to work, you might need to take a full shower before joining your co-workers, for obvious reasons. If you have a shower at the office, half your problem is solved. Next, consider investing in a chamois towel (commonly used by swimmers) to dry yourself off instead of having to carry around a heavy towel.