If you’ve never done it, commuting by bicycle may sound intimidating, stressful, and rather inconvenient. However, by simply planning ahead, you can reduce some of the major stressors that are associated with bicycle commuting. If you are thinking about leaving your car home, here are a few simple steps to get you started.
Get your bike ready.
Check the air pressure, look for any loose parts, and ride around to see it everything is working properly. A stiff chain or low tire pressure can make for a miserable ride, so plan ahead. Simple maintenance will greatly increase the smoothness of your commute.
Go on a few rides before Monday morning.
If you have not been on a bike in a while, you should go a few rides before you start commuting by bike. Riding around your neighborhood will allow you to become familiar with your bike and will also help you assess possible routes for your commute.
Plan your route.
Commuting by bike requires you to think outside the box, or rather, outside the car. Choosing a street or off-road trail that parallels your existing car commute may often make for a less stressful commute. If you think your commute is too far for a bike alone, try incorporating transit into your commute. All Metro Transit buses and trains are equipped with bike racks, allowing you to hitch a ride for a portion of your commute.
Where will you park?
Before you commute by bike, determine where you will park your bike during the day. Some employers provide bike racks or lockers for their employees. Metro Transit and the City of Minneapolis also provide lockers at several locations. Because you will be parking your bike all day, it is often smart to invest in a secure, weatherproof facility.
Plan your wardrobe.
Yes, commuting by bike is more physically demanding than commuting by car. However, simply planning ahead can reduce the effects of a sweaty ride. Some commuters bike in their work clothes, while others bring a change of clothes. Some work places also provide showers and facilities for freshening up. Figure out what your situation is, and work from there. Also remember, commuting to work is not a race. If you travel at a leisure pace, you may not even break a sweat.
If you are considering commuting by bicycle, need some more reasons to start commuting, or just need some tips on how to improve your current commute, here are a few links to check out.
Top Ten Excuses for not Commuting by Bicycle
Simplifying Your Bicycle Commute
Incorporating Transit into your Commute
Dressing for the Weather
Carry Things on Your Bicycle
Commuting for the Average Person