Riding to work has become my favorite way to start (and end) the day – giving me time to fit in exercise, clear my head and complete my commute in a bit more time than it would normally take to drive.
But commuting by bike does take a bit of effort and preparation. Here are some tips for those thinking of riding to work:
Claim your day(s)
With two children, it’s crucial Steve and I share the rides and the parenting responsibilities. By claiming our days for riding, we ensure balance (and a happy marriage).
Carry only what you need
A Delta Mega Rack Post Porter Seat Post Rack with Pannier Support and two small pannier bags allow me to carry anything I need for work – including paperwork, clothing, and even my laptop. But the weight can quickly build up, so I try to keep the items to a minimum, usually leaving heavy electronics at home, and avoiding bringing home lots of paperwork the night before a ride day.
Prepare the night before
Maybe it’s obvious – but getting the bags packed and the bike ready the night before minimizes the chances of bailing on the ride in the morning. It also gives me time to think about what I need when off the bike – the item I tend to forget the most often is the keys to my office!
Double up at work
Rather than carrying my toiletries to and from work, I leave a set of everything I need (shampoo, face wash, moisturizer, makeup & hair supplies including hair dryer) at the office with a couple of towels so I can jump in the shower when I arrive.
Hanging my kit up in the shower room gives it time to “air out” before I have to put it on again. And yes, I have to put it on again – although sometimes I will bring spare socks for the ride home.
Don’t have a shower? When I work out at lunch, I find a few wet wipes and dry shampoo goes a long way.
Keep the outfit simple
Lighten your load by keeping your outfit simple – a cotton dress (my current favorites are from New York and Company) and pair of ballet-style flats are perfect for bike commute days. But don’t forget the essentials – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten underwear, only to have to buy a few pairs at our local pharmacy.
Plan your route
Whenever possible, I like to avoid riding on the main roads – using RideWithGPS.com, I was able to string together backroads from our house to my office. It adds 3 miles to the commute, but gives me a beautiful ride past farms (and away from traffic).
Leave enough time
Remember, you need time not just for the ride, but also for getting ready for work – for me, that means at least 1 hour (45 minutes to commute, 15 minutes to shower and change), but ideally I give myself 90 minutes.
Track your ride
Riding my bike to work is not without risks. While it won’t prevent accidents, to make it easy for Steve to find me should something happen, I use Garmin LiveTrack during my ride.
I also make sure I’m wearing my RoadID with my name, age and emergency contact information.
On ride days, I give myself a special treat – a latte and muffin from a local bakery. To prevent it from spilling on my bike when I put it in my water bottle holder, I keep a few “stir n plug sticks” in my bag (did you know that’s what they were called?)
Do you ride to work? What other tips would you share?