More and more people are electing to leave the car and driveway and, instead, get to and from work on a bicycle, and with good reason. It’s healthy; it’s good for the planet, and, yup, we’ll say, it’s much more fun to whizz through streets rather than sit there in traffic. But of course, deciding to cycle to work isn’t just a matter of hopping on two wheels and navigating your way to the office. There are things you’ll need to know in order to stay safe, have fun, and make sure the practice fits in with your work schedule. We take a look at some of the below. Take a read, and you’ll be on two wheels in no time!
Get a Reliable Bike
Now, it’s understandable that if you’re only just getting into cycling, then you might want to get a cheap run-around bicycle just to see if you like it before spending big bucks on a fancy bike. But it’s worth keeping in mind that you’re going to be hitting the streets, so you need something that’s reliable. While it doesn’t have to be a top of the range option, it shouldn’t look like it’s going to fall apart. If you trust what you’re riding, it’ll be much easier to be confident as you zip through town. If you don’t want to spend money just yet, ask a friend if you can borrow theirs until you’re ready.
And a Lock You Can Trust
It would be nice to think that we live in a world where nobody wants to do you harm. Sadly, this is not the case. Small-time crime is common in most big cities, so if that’s where you live, you won’t be able to take any chances with your bike: you need a lock. The safest space to store your bike would be your workplace’s bike storage unit, but not every company has them. If they don’t, you’ll need to leave it locked up on the street. Don’t make it easy for thieves to take your bike away!
Exciting can be a powerful motivator. You might decide to cycle work on one Friday, do it for the first time the following Monday, and then announce to the world that this is how you’re getting to work now. This might be a mistake. As with any lifestyle change, it’s better if you start small. You’ll be much more likely to make it a permanent part of your lifestyle if you start small (say, cycling to work one to three times a week). It’ll also give you time to slowly get used to sharing the roads with cars. And talking of which….
It goes without saying that cycling can be dangerous. If you’re knocked off balance, then it’s likely that you’re going to fall off, and when you’re in the road, this can mean big trouble. Fortunately, much of your safety is in your hands. Wear a helmet, and a high-vis jacket when it’s not light out. You should also avoid listening to music or talking with people on your phone (anything that would distract you, basically), and always signal when necessary. If you are involved in an incident that wasn’t your fault, you can fight your corner by working with a company like the Blumenshine Law Group. Riding a bicycle on the road should become safer as vehicle drivers are better educated about how to share the road with cyclists, but if you’re going to begin cycling to work, you’ll need to know the rules about the best way to keep yourself safe.
Pick the Best Route
If you’ve been driving from your home to the office, then you already know the best way to commute…or so you think. When you’re cycling, things change slightly. The best route might not be the way you drive to work. The best cycling route might not even be what’s the quickest! You have different priorities when you’re cycling. A route that takes 30 minutes but winds through a scenic landscape would be better than a 20-minute route that runs alongside a road that’s packed with vehicles. You’re not just trying to get from your home to the office as quickly as possible: you want to try and make the journey fun!
Basic Bike Maintenance
You’ll have bought a reliable bike, but as anyone who has spent any time on the roads will tell you, even the most reliable of bikes can cause you problems. There’s a reason why cars cost thousands of dollars, and bikes hundreds of dollars (if that): cars are more robust. You’ll be well-served by knowing how to do the most basic of bike maintenances, such as fixing a puncture. There’s only so many times you can call into work to say you’re late because you have to walk the rest of the distance. Fix that baby up; it’s easy enough to do!
Snack at the Office
The good thing about cycling is that you’ll arrive at your workplace feeling fresh, alert, and ready to go. But you have to keep in mind that you’ll also have used up a lot of energy that’ll need to be replaced sooner rather than later. Make sure you’ve got some high energy snacks waiting for you at the office. If you don’t, you mind find that you’re struggling to stay alert a couple of couples after you’ve arrived! Peanut butter on toast, energy bars, and a protein shake should help you.
There’s also one more thing you’ll need to think about if you’re cycling to work, too: your smell. You’ll have worked up a sweat on your way, even if it’s only a little bit. If your office has showers, then give yourself time to freshen up before you’re due to work. If not, take a towel and freshen up that way. You might want to take things easy on the way to work by going at a gentle pace rather than a pace that’ll produce buckets of sweat!