Follow these tips on how to master the bike commute and you’ll be safely enjoying the fresh air while getting in some extra exercise on your way to work!
Happy Bike To Work Day! Woot!
When I lived in NYC, I used to take the subway to work. Anyone that has commuted by way of the MTA knows it’s not the most… pleasant… way to get around. After a few particularly bad subway rides in a row, I decided it was time to get over my fear of riding a bike in the city and become a bike commuter. I mean, would I rather get fresh air and exercise on my way to work or sit in a stuffy subway car with a bunch of agitated New Yorkers? No brainer.
I rented a Citibike and before long, I was getting my very own bike! Yea… I kinda went from 0-60 REAL fast. Whatevs. Now, I’m a city cycling pro(or so I’d like to think) who’s biked her way through both NYC and Austin, Texas. Now this pro is here to share tips on how to master the bike commute!
Map It Out
First things first, do some research and find a good cycling route. Most cities have designated bike lanes. Stick to those as best as possible, even if it means going a little out of the way. Google Maps is great about calling out what routes have them.
Obey Traffic Laws
When you’re riding alongside cars, act like your driving a car. Stay on the right side of the road (at least in the good ol’ U.S. of A), stop at stop signs and lights, signal when you’re turning and check before you move over. I’ve known cyclists that have gotten pulled over and ticketed for running a red light, so if safety isn’t a big enough incentive to follow the traffic laws, maybe a $200 fine is.
Unlike being on the subway, bike commuting is not the time to zone out. You need to keep an eye on other cyclists, moving cars and parked cars randomly opening car doors. Besides other modes of transportation, lookout for pedestrians, dogs who don’t like moving things and pigeons (those suckers will fly up right in front of you). Also be cognizant of road conditions. Potholes and glass shards are not particularly bike friendly. Keep your ears open, as well. You’ll need to hear if something is coming up behind you or around a corner. If you want to listen to something on your commute, get a speaker or open ear headphones that allow you to listen while still being able to hear the road around you.
It pretty much all comes down to safety. Wear a helmet. Put lights on your bike. Avoid riding in the dark or in inclement weather. Wear reflective clothing. Get a bell and don’t be afraid to use it. If you’re approaching another biker and want to pass them, say, “On your left” or “On your right” to alert them.
Assume the Worst
Ok, this sounds bad, but just because you’re a safe biker who follows the rules doesn’t mean other cyclists, pedestrians or automobiles will be following the rules. Keep an eye out for cars that are turning without signaling, pedestrians crossing in the middle of the street, etc. Basically, act like a fortune teller haha.
Now you’re ready, my diligent student. Get yo’ gear. Get yo’ bike. Get to work! Seriously… you’re late.
Will you be celebrating Ride Your Bike To Work Day? Tell me about it (or any other fun fit & fashionable thing) by joining the Fit & Fashionable Friday Link Up (full rules here).
How do you get to work?
Are you a bike commuter? Any tips to add?