5 Slick Tricks To Help You Start Biking To Work
So you've decided that you're going to ride to work. Good call. There are some pretty amazing physical and mental benefits from pedalling it out on the way to work. But don't get ahead of yourself. If you haven't biked a lot, there are a few things that you might want to consider when it comes to commuting to work on two wheels instead of four. So here are 5 Slick Tricks To Help You Start Biking To Work:
Don’t Run Out Of Gas
Some people think that because they’ve biked a few times or because they’ve been able to hit a certain distance that they’re ready to bike to work. And they might be. However, it’s important to consider that you don’t have control over your route when you’re headed to a set location. In the past, you may have been able to bike 20km or 30km and if your ride to work is only 25km, that may seem like you’re golden. But have your rides been uphill and down or have you been nice to yourself, planning routes that are easy to handle?
Before you try to get to work for Monday morning, try riding the route you’ll take a few times on the weekend to make sure that you’ve got the gas to get there. Maybe you don’t, and that’s ok. Finding out Saturday at 1pm sure beats finding out early Monday morning.
Save Some For The Trip Back
Sure you can make it to work, but can you make it back? You need to consider if you’re going to bike to work AND back home. You don’t have to. Maybe you take the bus home, or catch a ride and then bike home the next day. There’s nothing wrong with knowing your limitations. Knowing your limits is safe. But if you have decided that you’re going to bike home, make sure your body can handle it. One heroic bike to and from work is not worth two days off because your legs don’t work.
It’s possible that you don’t bike to work every day. Maybe you bike to work every 2nd day, or twice a week. Whatever the case may be, saving some for the trip back is about making a solid plan. Maybe it’s the case that the plan involves knowing that you won’t be able to bike back. Maybe the plan involves knowing that you’re going to need Karen from accounting to give you a lift home.
Dress For Success
You’re going to need some cycling shorts. Now you may have sworn to yourself that you’d never be caught dead in a pair of spandex, but now it just might save you. Here’s the thing about a nice pair of business casual khakis; the seams are in some highly uncomfortable places. You might look pretty GQ or Cosmo when you’re at the office, but that’s not going to work when you’re pedalling it out.
Speaking of clothes, you’re going to need some. Store a change of clothes at the office the day before you’re planning on biking. Ideally you work in an office that happens to feature a shower, but even if it doesn’t it’s a very good idea to have a towel waiting for you. There’s a good chance you’re going to sweat. A change of clothes, deodorant and a towel are the bare minimum that you’re going to need.
Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That
So you’ve figured out how long it’s going to take you to bike to work. You’ve got a change of clothes, you’ve got a towel and you’ve got some deodorant. You’re all set. Unfortunately it’s 8:56am, you work in four minutes and you’re still wearing cycling shorts and sweating like it’s the middle of summer. You failed to account for one thing; getting ready takes time.
Commuting to work (eventually) will be like a reflex for you but right now, when you’re first getting started, you need to focus on the plan and the plan needs to include the amount of time that it’s going to take you to get ready once you’ve biked to work. While your employers might love the fact that you’re healthier, that you feel great and that you’re energized at work, they might not appreciate the fact that every time you bike to work, you’re 18 minutes late getting started.
You may have ridden a hundred or even a thousand times. You may have put enough kilometers on your tires to make it across the country, and maybe even back. But none of that matters when a driver parked on the side of the road opens their car door right in front of you. However, it is possible to avoid these accidents through careful riding.
Pay attention. It sounds simple, but there are plenty of ways to be distracted when you’re riding. While you might enjoy a soundtrack to your ride, lose the headphones. You need to be able to hear every single thing around you. Further, while you might be excited to document your ride with an Instagram story or two, stow the phone.
That’s Not All Folks
Now there are lots of other things to take into account when you make the decision to bike to work. No one likes inside out cycling shorts hung up on your cubicle. No one. It’s ok to bike in the rain. You’re not sugar and you won’t melt. Stick to the road. Let pedestrians do their thing too.
Most of all, enjoy yourself. Biking to work can turn a mundane activity into an invigorating start to your day or a great way to burn off some energy after a hard day’s work.
It’s also a very good idea to know how to take care of your bike when it changes from pastime enhancer to your primary mode of transportation.
Luckily, we wrote a guide to help with the care and feeding of your bike.