We all have our own reasons to commute by bicycle, be it health, environmental or something else. (Not convinced? Check out our cycling benefits post!)
So you have a bike (or are signed up to a bike sharing program in your area), and are ready to go. But wait! If you’ve never ridden to work before, there are a few things you should consider. We don’t want your first cycling commute to be your last after all!
Here are our tips on preparing for your first time:
Plan the route:
- Find a way through nature instead of along big roads; side streets, roads with bike lanes or wide shoulders, and bike paths are good options too; check Bikely or MapMyRide for route suggestions
- Before your first commute, cycle the route once for a good estimate of travel time
If you have your own bicycle:
- Check tires are still in good condition and your lights are working (and bright enough). If the bike is quite old, it might be a good idea to take it to the nearest workshop for a tune-up before riding
- If you need to take a bag (e.g. for your work clothes), a backpack works well for short routes/cooler weather; alternatively, try a rear rack with panniers
- Take a bottle of water for your trip, and maybe a snack if it’s a long ride
- Be prepared for bad weather: pack a light poncho
- Don’t forget a lock, a small pump & a tire repair kit, and it doesn’t hurt to include a small first aid kit
- Wear a helmet
Stay safe & comfortable:
- For your first ride, choose a nice day
- Dress appropriately; if it’s a long ride wear fast drying gear and change at work. Also bright colors help you get seen by motorists more easily
- Leave early enough to give yourself time in case of flat tires, getting lost etc
- Have breakfast before leaving, you’ll need the energy
- Ride conservatively, stick to the road rules and indicate turns ahead of time
- Don’t ride too close to the curb, leave some room to maneuver
- As Tory says: “Ride when you can, and keep it fun. The more you ride, the more fun it will be, and…the more you’ll ride.”
So don’t stress about having to ride every day, start slowly and build it up over time
Pro tip: If you don’t plan to ride every day, take some spare clothes to work for the days you’re riding.
Over to you: What do you think about cycling to work?
Let us know in the comments below.