I love riding to work – not only is it a great way to multi-task (commuting AND exercising), but it’s an amazing way to kick start my day.
Get your ride ready
Beyond making sure your bike is tuned up and ready to roll, you may want to consider a few extra accessories, including:
- Bicycle tail light – to maximize visibility and improve safety
- Rearview mirror – a bar-end mirror from Sprintech lets me see what is approaching from behind, without attaching something to my helmet
- Rack and bags – it’s a little heart breaking putting a rack on the back of my beautiful bike, but it’s more comfortable than a backpack. After using a trunk bag for several years, I upgraded to two small pannier bags from Delta – one for my clothing and the other for papers and other client work.
Get your office ready
To reduce the items I need to bring with me on my commute, I keep towels and essential items (deodorant, face wash, hair stuff, etc) at the office.
Plan your route
Often the most direct route is the busiest, so take a look to see if you can avoid the major traffic by using back roads or going through neighborhoods. Drive the course, both ways, during your regular commute so you can evaluate the traffic and obstacles. If possible, ride the course during the weekend so you can determine how much time you will need and identify points on the ride where you may run into difficulty.
Plan your Kit
When dressing, think about comfort – layers will help keep you warm in the morning and can be packed up in the warmer afternoon – and visibility. My Bold Jersey from Primal Wear may not have matched my new bib shorts from Pearl Izumi (or the Saucony day glo orange arm warmers I wear racing) but did ensure I was easy to spot.
Schedule Your Ride
As much as I’d like to take to my bike every time the sun is shining, the reality is most days I need to have my car (at least until school ends). With the goal of riding at least once a week, my husband and I have declared Wednesday’s my “ride to work” day – weather permitting, I am absolutely a fair-weather rider.
Before heading out, remember to “file a flight plan” – ensuring someone knows your schedule and where you will be riding. I always send Steve a text when I arrive so he knows I made it to work safely.
Like it or not, every time we take to the road we are representing for all cyclists. And with traffic before and after work being heaviest, we have an opportunity to show a high number of drivers that we can share the road happily and safely.
With this in mind I wait my turn at lights rather than rolling to the head of the line, stop for pedestrians in crosswalks and school buses flashing their lights, signal all my turns, and wave/thanking drivers with whom I engage. (I try to always engage in these behaviors but I’m hyper-vigilant when commuting).
Enjoy the ride
Don’t forget to take a look around at all the things you may have missed while in your car – or just to say hello to the horses!
The Bike Guy’s wife, Kristin Brandt, is a full-time working mother, local business owner, amateur multi-sport athlete, and most recently, cyclocross racer.
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