Adjusting To Bike Commuting: Setting Yourself Up For Success
Bike commuting: it will fatten your wallet and slim your waistline, but trading in your car for a bike may be an intimidating thought. Even if you're only thinking of bike commuting part time, getting to work with your own two feet is an adjustment. If pedaling your way to the office appeals, here are a few tips to get you off on the right foot.
Give Your Bike a Tune Up
If your bike has been sitting around and collecting dust in your garage, it's probably time for a tune up. Take your bike to a local bike shop to be adjusted, aligned and put into tip top shape. Riding a bike that needs a little work here and there can make biking much harder and even unsafe. If your bike is a well-oiled machine, you're more likely to grab your helmet instead of your car keys.
Get the Right Equipment
If most of your previous cycling was trips around the neighborhood, you might find that you don't have much in the way of bicycle gear. If you're going to regularly ride long distances, make sure you have a comfortable helmet and a small bike repair kit for emergencies like flat tires. You may also want to invest in bike panniers, which will allow you to carry work clothes, a laptop and your lunch comfortably.
Plot Your Best Route
The best route by bike to work likely isn't the same one you use to get there by car. Try to ride on less-used side streets and of course take advantage of any bike lanes or bike paths that are available. Your local bike shop might be able to direct you toward maps of local bike paths and lanes. Once you've planned out your route, try it out on a weekday afternoon and get used to it without the pressure of bad traffic or a time crunch.
Remember: every time you ride your bike, you save yourself some driving and get some exercise. You don't have to bike commute five days a week in order to reap the benefits. Start with a goal of biking every Tuesday or make it a point to bike two days of the week. Gradually increase the amount that you cycle--or stick with the original goal. Either way, sticking with it is an accomplishment.
Ready to try it? If you still have questions, look around your area for a bike riding group or stop by a bike shop. Fellow cyclists will probably be happy to provide guidance and encouragement. Contact a company like Fort Myers Schwinn Cyclery for more help.