10 Great Tips for Riding to Work
When you commute by bicycle you'll save money, get a good workout, avoid traffic congestion and do your bit to cut local air pollution.
Here are some handy hints to get you started.
1. Service your bike
Are you using a bike that has been in the shed for a year or more? Have it serviced by your local bike store, or take a Bike Maintenance Course. Make sure you undertake a quick safety check every time you cycle, checking your brakes and tyres.
2.Choose your cycling wardrobe
Many people cycle to work wearing their usual work clothes, especially when travelling under 5kms at a leisurely pace. For longer distances bicycle shorts and jerseys may provide a higher level of comfort.
3. Be seen on your bike in daytime and at night
Day time: Wear light and bright colours during the day to ensure you are visible to other road users.
Night time: Invest in reflective clothing or vest, and good quality head and tail-lights if you plan to cycle at night time or at dusk.
There are many lights on the market with prices ranging from $15 to $1000.
4.Consider a bike buddy
Is there anyone who lives nearby that might want to cycle to work with you? Knowing someone is counting on you to ride can strengthen your resolve to cycle and they may be able to show you some good routes to take. Riding with a partner also provides additional visibility and an extra set of eyes on the road and traffic... Safety in numbers!
5. Select a cycle route
Be the master of your own destiny!
Initially, choose routes with fewer cars, slower traffic and easy to manage intersections. Most importantly remember you do not have to travel the same route as you would in a car. You can utilize parks, cycle ways and backstreets to avoid traffic and hills. Why not ask other cyclists you know what routes they take and what they recommend?
6. Do a test run
On a day you would regularly take your car, drive the route and look for things such as wide lanes and traffic flow. You may even try a test ride on you bicycle on a weekend prior to riding the route on a busy weekday.
7. Start slowly
Slowly increase your distance and speed over time, but do not overexert yourself. As a beginner, cycle for 20 minutes and aim to cover about 5 kms. The bike hardest trip to make is the first one. After that, they get easier. We promise.
8. Planning your day
The most important thing is to develop a routine, so you know what to expect and how to adjust to variables (time, weather, how you feel). Know what you need, where it is, what your schedule is and what your options are.
- Take a full bottle of water every time you ride and a snack in case you run out of fuel.
- What are you doing after work? Don't forget your lights if you are staying out until after dark. Playing sport or doing the grocery shopping can all be accommodated if you plan ahead.
- It is good to have other travel options if needed. For when you don't feel like riding or your bike has a flat, keep a public transport timetable handy or call a cab (riding regularly will save you more than enough money to cover this luxury). Know a friend nearby who drives to work? The more backups you have, the more comfortable you'll feel committing to your bike. And paradoxically, the more you ride, the fewer times you'll feel the need to actually act on those alternatives.
- Make sure you check the weather. Is it cold or warm, rainy or dry? It only takes a few minor adjustments to make sure you have all you need
9. Grooming and Avoiding 'helmet hair'
Many people who would like to cycle to work worry about how to make themselves presentable at work.
Check if your employer provides shower and change room facilities. If not, an alternative may be a nearby gym or community facility.
Read these handy tips.
10. Bicycle parking - keeping your bike safe
Always lock your bike no matter what length of time you are leaving it
for. A good lock, like your helmet and lights, is a small investment
with large gains.