Have you ever seen an office worker bike commuting on his way to work? Looks cool, eh? Using a bike on your daily commute to and from the office has lots of advantages. For starters, biking is good for your health. It’s also good for the environment since bikes don’t produce greenhouse gases that damage the atmosphere. Lastly, it saves you some gas money too! Whatever your reasons are, cycling to work is a good and fun activity — but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. So, before you jump into the wagon train, here is everything you must know before you start cycling to work.
1. You need to wear a helmet
When it comes to braving downtown traffic, your safety should always be your priority. High-quality bike helmets are designed to protect your head from serious injury in an unlikely case of an accident. But wearing a helmet messes my hairdo. If this is the case, just bring a brush and touch up as soon as you arrive in the office.
2. Start slow
This is not a problem if you live just a few miles from work. However, if you live several miles away and cycling to work will take you at least an hour, it’s important to start slow until you get the hang of it. For example, you can begin by hitching a ride with an office mate or taking the bus to the office and then ride your bike home.
If you are just new to the habit, we discourage you from biking to work every day. Begin with an achievable frequency like cycling to work three times a week until you become more familiar with the route and the energy and time it takes to cover the distance.
3. Don’t practice on a weekend
Trust us, the downtown traffic is more hellish on a weekday! To make sure that you don’t get the wrong expectations, we discourage you to practice on a weekend. No matter how nervous you are, bike your way to work on a weekday so you know what it feels like. Just start slow and then pick up the pace once you get more comfortable.
4. Find the best route
For most bike commuters, the best route isn’t always the shortest. Most of the time, it’s the road to work with minimal traffic. Consider checking out various bike paths in your city and plot a way to work using not so busy roads.
5. You don’t need special clothes and gear
Most bike commuters don’t splurge in specialized gear. If you are the casual type, you can cycle to work using your office clothes. Some people even do it in business suits! Alternatively, you can wear more comfortable clothing when bike commuting and then just change to your work clothes as soon as you arrive in the office.
6. Invest in high-quality cycling shorts
This is especially true for long commutes. The difference between cycling shorts and normal shorts is night and day. Pressure and friction can easily irritate your sensitive regions causing chafing and saddle sores. Bike shorts are designed to significantly improve the comfort of your ride. You can get the best bike shorts here.
7. Make sure you are visible to other motorists
If you are cycling to work early in the morning or late in the afternoon, we strongly encourage you to invest in reflective clothing and bike lights to make yourself more visible to other motorists and avoid any accidents. If you are biking under broad daylight, bright-colored shirts will do.
8. Learn how to change a flat tire
Flat tires happen. And they happen in the most unexpected times. If you want to become a serious bike commuter, you need to be ready for such circumstances. You can learn how to change a flat here. If you don’t have the right tools, get them here.
9. Always carry a cellphone in case of an emergency
While this is pretty much a given, it doesn’t hurt to remind you to always bring a cellphone with you when you are cycling to work. This is especially useful if your bike fails or if you need a ride.
10. Clean up before you sit on your desk
Your office workers may not tell you but yes, they hate the smell of sweat in the morning (or even in the afternoon). If your office has a shower, take advantage of it. If not, you can use a soap and a washcloth to give yourself a spit bath in the comfort room. Do whatever you can to look fresh and ready for the day after your bike commute.
11. Always keep a watchful eye on parked car doors
The cars buzzing on your left side pose a lesser threat than parked cars on the right. If there are people in the car parked ahead of you, they might be getting ready to open the door and may not notice you coming up behind them. So, always be vigilant and alert.
12. Get a bike bell
Some pedestrians may not notice you coming up behind them. Get yourself a bike bell to get their attention before it is too late. Here’s a quick buying guide on how to get the best bike bell in town.
13. Familiarize yourself with local traffic laws
You want to be a responsible bike commuter. And responsible bike commuters know and obey the law. Bike regulations differ from city to city so it’s best to consult your local authorities about the prevailing bike laws in your area.
14. Get the best bike lock
You need to make sure that your bike is safe and secure when you are working. Protect your investment, with high-quality bike locks. Here’s a good selection along with some helpful tips on how to protect your bike in the streets.
There you have it! We hope you find these tips helpful when cycling to work.