Commuting to work by bike can be a fantastic way to keep fit, save money and help the environment. However, there can be times when cycling to work is the last thing that you want to do, such as in a rain storm or when you are already tired. These tips will give you some ideas to make your bike commute easier.
Ease into it
If you are not an experienced cyclist, don’t try cycling 10 miles each way every day straight away, as this is the quickest way to tire yourself out and lose interest in cycling to work. If you have a long commute, practice your commute on a weekend to see how easily you manage it, if you find it easy you can start cycling to work straight away. However, if you find your commute difficult, you may find it better to begin by continuing to improve your stamina on weekends, or alternatively you could start by cycling only one or two days per week to give your body time to recover and then gradually increase the number of times per week that you cycle to work until you are finally able to cycle every day!
Make sure that you have the right gear
Having the right gear, isn’t just about having a nice bike. It’s also about the clothes that you are wearing, how you are carrying your luggage, and even the types of lights that you are using. All of these will have an impact on how enjoyable your bike commute is.
Firstly, make sure that you wear the right clothes. Cycling in your work clothes may seem convenient due to not having to get changed, but if you have a long commute and the weather turns bad, you will end up regretting it. If you live in a country where it is warm for most of the year, you might be ok with just a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, whereas if you live in a rainy country like the UK, make sure you have waterproof clothes. These days you can buy lightweight waterproof jackets and over-trousers that take up very little space in your backpack.
Having the best possible backpack that you can afford is also important when cycling to work, especially if you have a long commute with a lot to carry. The last thing that you want is to be caught in a rain-storm with your company’s laptop in your backpack getting soaked. Certain types of backpacks are ideal for cycling to work. These include rolling backpacks, which are ideal if you need to carry a lot of stuff to work and single strap backpacks, which can’t carry as much, but are lightweight and fit snuggly against your body to due only having one strap and have less movement than traditional style backpacks. If you have too much to carry in a backpack, you can get a pannier rack for your bike.
When cycling, especially in the winter, lights can be a life-saver, so make sure that you have some. When buying bike lights, I recommend buying lights that are USB rechargeable, as this means that you can recharge them using your phone charger, which you can just throw in your backpack before heading to work. This ensures that your lights won’t run out of battery on the way home, which could put you in danger.
Leave yourself plenty of time
Arriving in work drenched in sweat and exhausted before your day has even started is never any fun, so make sure that you know how long that it will take you to get to work, and leave yourself an extra 5 – 10 minutes spare in case of traffic, tiredness or mechanical issues with your bike.
Make sure that you bike is running efficiently and safely
Having an old bike with worn-out parts is not only unsafe, it makes your ride far more unpleasant. If you can’t afford a high-end bike, make sure that your brakes work correctly, that your chain is in good condition and properly lubricated. Bikes are fairly easy to fix yourself with only a few tools needed, but if you are unsure of how to maintain your bike, you should take it to a reputable mechanic. This is especially important with winter approaching as it becomes more dangerous to ride in inclement weather.
Unfortunately, as great as cycling is, it can still be dangerous and you have to be careful. While it may seem to be a great idea to cycle fast through heavy traffic, it can only take one wrong move to end up under a car. Cycle carefully and be sure to take your time as it is better to be a few minutes late than under a car!