Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Riding To Work: Save Money, Exercise, and Have Fun!

Do You Ride Your Bike To Work? Better Your Commute With These Tips

Riding to work is an amazing way to save money, help the environment, and squeezing in an extra aerobic exercise during your day. It can help increase your productivity and energy levels.

If you rarely or have never ridden to work before, you may have some concerns like:

• Getting to work sweaty, dirty or smelly
• Bringing your laptop on your bike
• Dangerous drivers or road conditions
• Having your bike stolen

Here are some tips that hopefully help you feel more prepared to begin commuting by bicycle.

RELATED POST: Confused About the Types of Bikes We Have Available? This Should Help.

Plan a schedule that works for you

First - determine the best route for you to take to work. There are plenty of apps for your smartphone that can help you with this and you can use google maps on a computer if you don't have a smartphone.

It's much better to have your route planned beforehand, as you don't want to be late to work or school.

If riding to work every day seems a little daunting, you should set up a schedule that allows for you to take breaks. For instance: drive yourself and your bike to work on Monday morning. Enjoy the leisurely ride home. The next day, ride in to work and drive your car back home!

Lock your bike well

DO NOT use a regular cable lock as your main line of defense. For your peace of mind, get a U-lock to secure your bike to the rack. You can use a cable lock to secure your quick release rims to your frame, for extra security. Consider taking your saddle in with you to the office if it is quick release.

If your workplace doesn't offer you a place to lock your bike, try to find a place to lock it that won't attract thieves. A busy street is a good place, as more constant foot or vehicle traffic will help deter an attempt at stealing your bike.

Stay fresh

  • Get racks or panniers to store most of your stuff. Removing your backpack or messenger bag from your body means less sweat and an easier ride.
  • Wear wicking materials and other bike specific clothing that helps sweat evaporate and keep you cool.
  • Bring deodorant and some kind of moisture wipes to make sure you don't smell.
  • If possible, drive to work on Monday and take all your clothes for that week so you don't have to worry about forgetting something or having your clothes rumpled from being stuffed in your bag.
  • If your commute is more than 20 minutes long, take the last 10 minutes a little easier to help bring your heart rate back down to normal and avoid the extra-long cool down when you arrive at the office.

Riding with your laptop

Some jobs require you to bring your own laptop. It can be scary having your expensive equipment on the road with you. You can put your laptop in your pannier, but it is probably safer to have it in a backpack or messenger bag. Ideally, your laptop will go into some sort of protective sleeve. Many backpacks and messenger bags have pockets specifically designed to hold and protect laptops.

Bicycle Maintenance

Know the basics of maintaining your bicycle. Learn these essential skills: 

  • Changing a flat tire
  • Putting your chain back on the bike
  • How much to inflate your tires 
  • Washing/lubing/adjusting your bike

You are also going to want to bring some tools with you to help along the way. A tire lever, patch kit, and a multi-tool are the absolute essentials. You can carry these in your pannier or backpack, or purchase a small saddle bag to hold all these things plus your wallet, phone, and keys!

Following basic maintenance procedures will ensure that you are ready to face anything the road can throw at you.

Be aware of common driver mistakes

Drivers are now notorious for how little attention they pay to the road. Cell phones, food, music, and even billboards or street signs can distract the driver just long enough for a catastrophe.

Pay lots of attention at intersections, especially busy ones. When making a left, watch for oncoming traffic, and take the whole lane so that traffic moving with you knows you are there too.

When making a right, NEVER bypass a car on their right side.   Also, many drivers are terrible at using their turn signals. Once again, take the whole lane and be sure that the traffic knows you are there.

Keep coming back to our blog for more cycling and commuting tips, as well as bike and product reviews!

Circle City Bicycles and Fitness
5506 Madison Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46227
(317) 786-9244

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