May is Bike Month, and the weather is clearing up, so it’s a great time to consider riding your bike to work. If you’ve never regularly commuted to work by bike, we highly recommend it, but we also recommend a little preparation. A bike commute doesn’t require you to change your routine as much as you might think, with with a little planning you’re sure to have a great experience, rain or shine.
Riding your bike to work is easy with these five easy tips, and we think you’re going to love the bonus one we threw in there, too.
1. Test your route
Know how long it will take you to bike commute and what roads you’ll be riding on. There’s nothing worse than being caught off guard on a road that’s not safe for biking and to have to re-route while you’re on your way to work.
Knowing how long it will take is key. It’s a good idea to test your route on the weekend or a day when you don’t have to arrive at a specific time. Time that ride and know how long to expect your ride to take. Being late because you biked will only turn you off to the idea of riding to work.
2. Give yourself a 20 minute buffer
Once you’ve got your routine down, it will be no big deal. But until then, just pad your schedule a little for those unexpected situations. Where did I put my rain pants? Oh, I need lights for on the way home. I ran into a friend along the way! With 20 minutes to spare, these delays are no problem, and those conversations with friends (or new friends!) at stop lights are way more enjoyable.
3. Tell someone you’re going to commute by bike
Accountability. Once you say it out loud or post it on your Facebook page, you’re more likely to follow through. Especially if you tell your coworkers.
4. Have your gear ready.
Morning brain isn’t always the sharpest, so lay out your gear the night before. Pannier, lock, lights, water bottle, helmet and rain gear, even if it looks like sun. Be well prepared so that the morning is EASY. Know what you’re going to wear to work and pack up anything you want to have at the office, including clothes you want to change into. Pack an extra pair of socks and shoes in the event of rain; the little extra baggage and weight is well worth warm happy feet for a full day at the office.
During spring, plan for rain – this is Oregon after all – and if you’re lucky you’ll never need to schlep on those rain pants, jacket or booties. But if you do need them, oh boy a bike commute is much more enjoyable when you’re dry.
5. Biking is so good for you.
We don’t need to tell you this, but you may need to remind yourself of it, especially on the days when you wake up groggy or when the rain starts falling.
Think PAST the beginning of your ride, the start is the hard part. Think beyond that hurdle to the mid ride point when it’s smooth sailing, you’ve found your groove, your brain is clearly ticking through the day, ideas and getting pumped with fresh blood.
You’ll arrive to work refreshed, awake and healthy. Your heart will thank you, and you can feel really proud of yourself, too.
6. BONUS: Have a treat and congratulate yourself.
The vast majority of people in your workplace and in the US don’t ride their bikes to work. But you did. Celebrate with a cupcake, beer, pie, wine, bath, movie – whatever makes you feel rewarded for an accomplishment.
Happy Bike Month! Let us know how your bike commute goes.
What are your tips?
How do you stay motivated to ride your bike to work? What are your tips for a great commute? Share your ideas below.