Outside the window handfuls of yellow leaves slowly drift down and settle around the trunk of the tree they spent all summer dangling from. Fall is in full swing around these parts and although it seems natural to pack up your summer gear and roll your bike into the garage, now is the best time to really get some use out of those two wheels. Commuting to work or school by bike has a wide variety of benefits and fall is the ideal time to start with the colorful foliage and cooler temperatures. A two wheeled commute is easier than you think and we’re bringing you some tips to get you started and keep you hooked.
The first key to commuting by bike is simply enjoying it. The majority of daily bike commuters ride to work because it slows them down and allows them to enjoy the fresh air, their local scenery and the feeling of being part of the community. It’s not a race and you don’t want to treat it as such. Allow yourself enough time to enjoy the ride and the surrounding scenery.
Love Your Bike:
Any bike will make a great commuter bike as long as it’s comfortable and in good working order. You don’t have to own a brand new road bike or a custom made commuter bike. Mountain bikes, cruisers, hybrids, cross bikes, road bikes and touring bikes are all great for getting you around as long as you’re comfortable and the wheels aren’t square. If you own a bike that’s in good shape but doesn’t feel great when you ride, take it to your local bike shop and ask them for recommendations. Maybe a new seat or a quick adjustment will be all it takes for you to fall in love.
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. It’s a general tip because we’re all different and our idea of comfort varies. Wear what you feel best riding in and carry your work clothes and shoes with you or keep them at the office. If you have a shower where you work you can easily freshen up and change into clean work clothes before you start your day. No shower? No problem. Give yourself a quick clean-up with a couple of wet-wipes, some deodorant and a clean change of clothes.
Rock Your Gear:
Commuting on two wheels doesn’t have to be a huge investment when you’re getting started, but there are a few key pieces of gear that are essential for a safe and enjoyable commute. Always wear a helmet and make sure you and your bike are properly lit if your commute takes you through the dark. Wear a headlamp or attach a white light to the front of the bike so that you can navigate your way. Attach reflectors or a red light to the back of your bike to help night drivers easily spot you.
In a perfect world the sun would shine everyday and your bike would never have any mechanical breakdowns. However, weather is always a variable and even a healthy bike can have issues. Keep an eye on your local weather and be prepared with proper clothing and rain gear. Carry a basic bike repair kit including an extra tube and a lightweight air-pump for on-the-go repairs. If your bike knowledge only includes adjusting the seat height, carry your cell phone and some extra bus fare in case of mid-commute breakdowns. You don’t have to be a bike mechanic to be a two-wheel commuter.
To hydrate on your commute: