On paper, it would seem that a bicycle commute is the perfect way to get to work – quick, eco-friendly, good for your health and fun. However, many are disillusioned by what they think is holding them back from a cycling commute: weather, clothing, appearance and inconvenience are the main offenders.
Cycling to work isn’t as awkward or inconvenient as it seems. With our handy tip sheet, we’ll help overcome some common commuter hurdles and you’ll soon be hitting the streets, pushing pedals and commuting like a pro.
Tip 1: Preparing the bike
We ensure that our vehicles we drive are maintained, why not our bikes? Take time out to look over your bike and make any adjustments to it as required. Check the simple things like tyre tread, the chain, brakes and brake pads to ensure they are up to scratch. Ensure you have a spare tube in the case of a flat, and that the batteries in your lights are fresh with safety in mind.
Have some maintenance to carry out? Simply entrust it to your local bike shop and have it checked by an expert or alternatively if you’re the DIY type, get stuck in. In an earlier post, we looked at the Top 5 Need-To-know Bicycle Repair Tips which may provide you with the necessary knowledge to give it a go yourself.
If you’re smartphone savvy, check out our blog on bike apps for some great programs on bike repairs and maintenance.
Tip 2: Preparing yourself and planning your route
There’s nothing worse than a morning rush that gets you flustered and makes you late for work – only to remember you’ve left something important at home in your haste! Set out everything you’ll need the night before, and ensure everything is able to be carried on you or your bike.
Make sure your bike is suitable for your commute and that your carry-on is supported. You don’t want an oversized backpack packed with your work clothes that actually becomes a hindrance to biking.
Also to take into account is clothing and footwear. Ensure your clothing is of light-weight and that you have a water-proof option when cycling in less than desirable weather.
Ensure that you know the route you will take well in advance and identify any potential hazards along the way. That way you’ll know where to proceed with caution along the route and when your attention needs to be at its highest.
Tip 3: Thinking about lock up and leave
We often think that the actual undertaking of the ride in to work or the ride home is the most important aspect in regards to safety and security. But the one thing you need to think of is where can you lock your bike up safely? Does your business provide the infrastructure to store a bike out of view? Or does it have a bike rack that can be utilised? Remember to pack the lock if you’re locking your bike up – there’s nothing worse than getting to your destination and not having the lock for security, for both the bike and peace of mind!
Tip 4: Fitness
The idea of biking into work is appealing to many of us – enjoy the weather, fresh air, save on petrol and all while working on the Christmas bulge.
An essential to maintain satisfaction is to keep in mind your capabilities and the time and effort that will be required to get you to and from work.
If you’re a social rider, don’t expect to be able to cover a long distance in a short period of time and arrive to work without perspiration running along the forehead. Make sure that the distance (and terrain) to be covered is plausible under your current fitness levels and adjust your leaving time (and potential showering time at work) to fit. As fitness levels rise, you’ll soon cover the distance faster and be able to sleep in the little bit longer or get to work and hit the ground running.
Tip 5: Grab a mate
There is always the possibility that you’ll roll over when the alarm goes in the morning and the bike ride that was on the agenda the night before goes with it. To increase accountability, coerce a friend, spouse or colleague into joining you. Adding in the social factor and the fact that someone is about to show up at your door step, you’ll find it easier to get out of bed and look forward to the ride into work. With the ability to converse, you may also find the solutions to world peace or at least be able to express what has been bothering you at work throughout the day.
The benefits of cycling are numerous and with a few small obstacles to overcome through implementing this quick tip sheet, you’ll be riding into work in no time. Don’t let this New Year’s resolution get away on you – act now, make the decision and get on that bike.
Got another handy tip to help support this New Year’s resolution? Leave it in a comment below.