Guest Post By: Pablo Monsivais, Ph.D., MPH
Associate Professor – Nutrition and Exercise Physiology
Last week I wrote about some of the wellness benefits of biking to work and the Campus Bike Challenge. This week I give you a bit more detail about the Campus Bike Challenge and provide some tips that could make your bike commute to work more pleasant, safe and fun!
The Campus Bike Challenge
May is Bike Everywhere Month, a chance to take advantage of our (typically) beautiful weather here in Spokane and see just how much you can use your bike to get where you need to go!
We encourage you to join the Campus Bike Challenge. To see more details, check our Events Page.
Need a Bike Buddy?
If you’re new to bike commuting, or coming back to it after a long time, you might have questions about bikes or other equipment, or you might want advice on safe and pleasant routes to ride to work.
Our campus chapter of CommuteSmartNW has organized a Bike Buddy system to provide some friendly encouragement and advice to people in our campus community who are interested in riding their bike to work but might need support. A buddy can help motivate you to get back on your bike!
If you want a Bike Buddy or if you are an experienced rider and want to be a buddy, please get in touch with me!
Some tips for a happy, pleasant and safe commute
You can commute to work on almost any bike, provided it’s in good operating condition. Most importantly, check the condition of the tires and brakes, and make sure the wheels are firmly fixed to the frame. If you’re unsure, ask a Bike Buddy for advice. You may need to have the bike looked over by a professional.
Just like with the bike itself, you don’t need any special clothes to commute. Some people like to wear different clothes on the bike then what they’ll wear at work. If you’re riding three miles or less, and not climbing a hill, you can just wear whatever you’d wear to work.
Carrying your stuff
If you have documents, a laptop, lunch, or other things to take to work, many people use a backpack. However, your ride will be far more enjoyable if you don’t have to carry your stuff on your body. The kinds of bikes most people ride nowadays don’t tend to have any place to carry stuff. You may want to consider getting a rack and/or basket installed on your bike, which will let you carry your stuff more conveniently.
Safety and Security
Helmets: Spokane has a helmet law, so make sure make sure you have one and that it fits properly. A bike buddy can help with that.
Lights: With the days so long, you might not need to think about lights or blinkies, but having them attached to your bike can make you more visible to pedestrians and cars.
Lock: If you don’t have a bike lock, these can be purchased relatively cheaply from the Campus Safety and Security Office in HERB. While you’re there, ask about getting your bike registered! It will be very helpful in recovering your bike should it be stolen
When you get to campus
Locking your bike: There are exterior racks around campus where you can securely lock your bike. If you’re not experienced locking-up bikes to racks, ask a Buddy!
Shower: If your commute makes you want to shower, a couple of buildings on campus have bathrooms with showers, including HERB (first floor/lockers available), SEWC (basement floor/lockers available), HSB (basement/no lockers), and Nursing (ground floor/no lockers).