By Kevin Dudley
The benefits are numerous, so let’s explore the benefits of riding your bike to work, and touch on what you need to do before you start cranking.
- It’s good for your health. Riding to work requires you to use energy, thus providing a good mode of exercise. It always feels good to get a bit of exercise before heading into the office. If your commute has a lot of hills, all the better! Getting your heart rate up helps burn fat and keeps you in shape.
- It’s good for the environment. One less car on the road is a good thing. The more people that ride their bikes for their daily commute, the better. You can’t make everybody be more environmentally friendly, but you can do your part.
- It’s good for your bank account. The price of gas typically increases as the summer months roll around. Those are the same months that offer the best biking weather. Riding your bike to work saves two trips in one day. Getting healthier while spending less on gas is a great reward. Depending on where you work, you might also pay less for parking, too.
- It’s good for other bike riders. When you ride your bike to work, you develop a better appreciation for and understanding of fellow bike riders. The next time you’re in your car and you see a cyclist, you can relate to them.
Riding to work can seem daunting at first, but once you start, it starts to become routine. Here are some tips for before you start commuting by bike:
- Make sure you have a reliable bike. Keep your chain greased, your tires pumped and your brakes working. Your biking experience will only be as good as the bike you’re riding.
- Know your route ahead of time and choose it wisely. Don’t make up your route along the way. Spend some time with a map, choosing the best route to ensure your safety. This might mean taking a different and/or longer route than you would in a car. Try and find the streets with bike lanes, as those are much safer.
- Drive your route ahead of time. Once you’ve chosen your route, drive it in your car so you’re a little familiar with it. Note the hills and sharp corners, as well as the intersections that pose the greatest risk.
- Outfit your bike with the necessary gear. Do you want to track your progress through apps like MapMyRide and Ride with GPS? You might need a smart phone mount to connect to your bike. You might also need a rack and some side packs. These add weight to your bike, but they might be necessary if you need to pack a change of clothes. A rearview mirror might also be a nice purchase.
- Ride the route on a weekend. This way, you’ll know the amount of time it takes to get to and from work. It will almost always take longer than in your car, so give yourself extra time once you begin riding to work.
- Don’t be a dummy. Wear a helmet.
Riding your bike to work takes a lot of preparation, but the benefits are worth it.