5 Steps to Start Bicycle Commuting to Work

1.       Set a commuting goal

2.       Plan your route.

3.       Check your bike over.

4.       Plan your clothing and gear needs.

5.       Commute by Bike Your First Time

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Set a Commuting Goal

One of the easiest steps but also the most important. Set your goal of how often you want to commute to work by bicycle. Is it once a week, giving you flexibility in your schedule and weather? Is it so many times of month? Set one and then write it down and create a way to track it. Goals that are written down and tracked are more likely to get completed. Share your plan with your friends and co-works, this will create some accountability. Maybe you’ll even have some people interested in joining you.

Plan Your Route

You may or may not be able to ride the same route you drive to work every day.

When you’re driving to work look at the shoulders and road conditions. Do you see other cyclists on the roads you use? Drive other routes to work and see if they are better. Ask others who bike to work how they go.

Use Google Maps with the bike feature for some inspiration if you are not sure about the best route. Strava heat maps are another tool to help your planning.

Maybe you don’t commute the full distance to work. We know of several people who drive to a certain point and then ride the rest of the distance in to work on their bike. They enjoy the benefits of riding and often save a lot on parking.

Do a dry run one day when you are off. You’ll familiarize yourself with the route and not be as worried the first time you’re doing it for real. Bring some friends along for the ride and have fun with it, get breakfast or lunch close to your work and then ride on home.

Check Your Bike Over

Just like you maintain your car to make sure it is reliable you’ll want to make sure your bike is ready for its new roll. Check the conditions of the tires and the gears and the brakes. A bell on your bike will come in handy to alert others of your presence. If you are going to ride in low light or darkness you’ll want lights. If you have any questions come by the store and we can go over your bike together. Do you have a way to fix a flat if you were to get one?

Here is a link to help you inspect your bike.

If you increase your bike commuting there are accessories that you’ll want to consider but aren’t necessary to get started.

Puncture Resistant Tires – These reduce the likely hood of getting a flat. If your route has rougher roads or sections with debris you’ll want to consider these.

Fenders – If you ride in wet conditions or after a rain shower these will help keep you dry and your bike a little cleaner.

Clothing – There really is no bad weather to commute in just poor clothing choices. Cycling apparel has come so far from gear to keep you dry to apparel to keep you warm. If your desire is there you can commute in temperatures below freezing to over a hundred degrees.

Plan Your Clothing and Gear Needs – So how are you going to get your stuff to work?  Can you ride to work in the clothing you work in? An easy solution is to drop off some extra clothes when you drive to work one day. Many commuters bring in their cloths for the week and drop them off the first of the week and bring the dirty stuff home at the end of the week.

Pro Tip: If your clothes are dry cleaned find a cleaner near work to take your clothes to or have your clothes picked up and dropped off at work.

Lots of bag options are available to get your gear to and from work. Many commuters use a messenger style bag to carry their clothing and electronics in. It can be multipurpose on and off the bike. Backpacks are popular as well.  You can install a rear rack on your bicycle and attached bags. Panniers are popular but there are also briefcases for laptops that attach to the rack and bags made to carry dress clothing.

When starting out you want to keep it simple to keep it fun. Just drop off your clothing prior to the day you plan to commute to work.

Commute by Bike Your First Time

You did all the preparation and the hard stuff now do the fun thing and enjoy your commute to work by bicycle. Have a great ride. Don’t forget to take a few photos to document the occasion! Congratulations on your accomplishment!

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