Have you thought about commuting to work on your bike? Not only is it great exercise, but it is also a fantastic way to reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re feeling intimidated, you needn’t worry; even the most proficient city cyclist was once a novice. Here are 8 tips to make bike commuting an easy adjustment.
1. Know Your Route
Of course, your GPS can get you from point A to point B, but the roads may be busier than you are comfortable with. Consider planning a few routes, if possible, to give yourself options when traffic is heavy.
2. Go on A Dry Run
Before you are ready to ride to work, you should practice your cycling skills. Go to a park or quiet neighborhood to get used to looking over your shoulder, standing while you pedal, or stopping with one foot down. You can also try out your route at a quiet time on the weekend without traffic.
3. Find a Friend
Solo riding can be daunting, so you may want to bike with someone you know who has more experience. You can hop on your commuter bikes and ride together until you get the hang of it and feel confident to go it alone.
4. Be a Rule Follower
Cyclists should use the roads just as drivers do by paying attention to signs, watching out for pedestrians, and stopping at lights. If you are unsure of road rules for commuters, you can check with local authorities.
5. Space Case
Be mindful of how much room you take up when you bike. You should be comfortable with your space on the road and ride steady, rather than swerving into a car next to you or coming too close to the curb. If your commute takes you past parked vehicles, be on the lookout for opened car doors, which are a cyclist’s arch nemesis.
6. Up on Maintenance
Every time you get ready to commute on your bike, inspect the basics, such as working brakes, a clean chain, and tire air pressure. You should also know how to fix a flat because at some point, you may use that skill. Stop by a shop where you can find a city bike for sale to get a kit with a mini-pump, patches, adhesive, and any tools you might need.
7. Catch That Eye
Make yourself visible when you commute by wearing a helmet, wearing gear with reflective stripes, and outfitting your bike with lights. Anything that you can do to make it easy for drivers to see you can help you stay safe, especially if your commute has you on the road after dark.
8. Happy Trails
If you consider your bike commute a chore, it can be as tedious and annoying as sitting behind the wheel in traffic. Instead, find a way to make it fun. Whether you look at cute bike baskets to carry your stuff or an old-fashioned bell to let others know you are near, add some personal touches to keep your bike useful, safe, and enjoyable.
When you follow these tips, you can stay safe on the streets as you gain experience. Before you know it, you’ll be used to your new commute routine and loving the fresh air and free exercise.