Things are drawing to a close, folks. As of this Saturday, one of our favorite months out of the year will be over: Bike Month. The past few weeks have been filled with cycling meet-ups and bike parades, but the celebration doesn’t have to end on June 1st. We already know it’s possible to go carless for a month, so what if you extended your new bike to work routine through the summer and beyond?
If you’ve just started biking to work or want to give it a try, we’ve gathered some great tips to keep you cycling throughout the summer. We put out the call on Twitter for the best tricks of the trade and cyclist insider-info. Read on to find out how you can have a smooth bike to work and why baby wipes (no, that’s not a typo) may become your new best friend:
— Zonderpaard (@Zonderpaard) May 28, 2014
The most important aspect of biking to work is safety. You can follow the link in the tweet above to BicycleSafe.com, a resource for cyclists that explains how to stay observant and safe when sharing the road with other vehicles. In North Carolina, bicycles are defined as vehicles. This also means cyclists have all of the same rights and duties as a driver of a vehicle. Before you head out the door, strap on your helmet and read up on local statutes and laws.
A safe ride to work also depends on good bike maintenance and the correct gear. While you’re packing your lunch and meeting notes, run an ABC Quick Check. It may add a few minutes to your morning, but integrate it as part of your routine and it’ll save you from unexpected flats and brake malfunctions. Brush teeth, grab lunch, do your ABC’s, then make sure you have the correct gear for your ride. Use the new elevation feature on Google Maps to plan your route and what to wear for it. Biking up hills in 90-degree weather? Put down that cardigan. Rain in the forecast? Grab your rain cape. If you’re concerned your office-wear may not stay office-presentable, bring along a change of clothes or leave them at work, which leads us to our post-ride tips:
Don’t become too caught up in your pre-ride prep that you forget what comes after: the workday. Google “look good after biking to work” and you’ll find half a million results that prove it’s not that hard with the right planning and a little ingenuity.
If your workplace has showers, you’ve already leveled the sweat playing field. Otherwise, it’s time to get creative. See if you can use the showers at a local YMCA or nearby gym. Follow Bike Durham’s advice and use baby wipes to freshen up or keep the rest of your “getting ready” materials at your desk. Embrace helmet hair as an opportunity to try out a new hairstyle. Wear dark clothes to hide stains. Keep a fresh pair of shoes in your bottom drawer. No matter what you run into during your ride to work, you’ll always be ready to start your day.
Now that you have your pre-ride prep and post-ride prep figured out, hopefully you can feel more confident about putting down your car keys and picking up your helmet. Don’t forget safety first, but flexibility is a close second. Despite your best intentions, biking to work can still be unpredictable. Find a friend along your route who you can call for assistance or research alternative bus routes. Trust your gut and follow the advice below when it comes to tricky traffic situations.
Overall, biking to work is an awesome way to exercise, save money, and contribute to a better environment. Visit our GoTriangle commute savings calendar to find out how much biking to work could save you this summer, and let us know if you give our tips a try. We’ve only covered the basics, so be sure to check out your local cycling community for more cycling information as well. Have a bike to work tip of your own? Tell us! Just tweet @GoTriangle or leave a comment on our Facebook page.
Have a great Thursday,