If you're a cyclist, you already know your bike is an excellent tool for getting outside and burning calories. But have you ever thought of biking to work? Maybe you've been stuck in traffic on your daily commute, only to see a cyclist easily bypass everyone with a smirk on their face. Or, maybe you know that riding your bike to work can help you save extra money on gas, decrease your carbon footprint and stay healthy.
Biking to work daily might seem daunting, but these benefits can make the challenge worth it. If you've browsed through the different types of bikes available, found the perfect one and are thinking about challenging the status quo and biking to work in the future, there are a few things you should know before you start. Here are eight things every beginner bike commuter should know about riding bikes to work in 2022.
1. Map Out Your Route Before Your First Ride
The route you drive to work might be the fastest way to get to your destination in a car, but it may not be the best on your bike. The most important thing to remember for a good bike commute is your safety. Ideally, you'll want as much separation from cars as possible – the less time you spend near them when biking to work, the safer you'll be. You'll probably have to ride on a street with cars at some point, but adding a couple of miles to the overall distance is worth sticking to quieter roads or bike paths.
You can never be 100% sure what to expect your first time out, so we suggest riding your bike to work on an off day to get the feel of your route and know how long your commute will take. Then, you can make any adjustments before you need to be there at a specific time to start your workday.
2. Begin With an Achievable Frequency
It's great that you're hoping to make a change in your life and start biking to work every day, but will that goal be achievable immediately? When riding bikes to work, it's good to start by setting a goal to ride only one to three times per week to be sure you won't burn out. After achieving consistent success with your rides, you can slowly add more days until you're riding daily.
3. Stay Safe
One of the most important tips for riding your bike to work is to stay as safe as possible. In the unlikely case of an accident, you'll need to protect your head with a helmet. If you're worried about your hairstyle after a long ride, bring a brush or comb to tidy things up once you're in the office.
Additionally, if you're riding your bike to work in the early morning or late hours of the evening, you should wear something heat reflective and put a flashing tail light on your bike. For daytime commuting, wear bright colors that drivers can easily see.
Finally, you should study up on your hand signals to indicate to drivers when you're slowing down or in which direction you plan to turn. Knowing cyclist hand signals can alert drivers and other bike riders what you're going to do on the road to ensure you're as safe as possible.
4. Keep Off the Sidewalks
Stick to the road and bike lanes when riding your bike to work. Not only is riding your bike on sidewalks illegal in some places, but it can also be dangerous for both you and pedestrians. If you stay on a sidewalk, you risk running into a pedestrian or being hit by a vehicle backing out from a driveway or turning.
Your local rules may vary, but most cities permit bike commuters to ride in the middle of a regular car lane if the road's shoulder is narrow or subpar – meaning that it is dangerous in some way. If a driver cannot safely pass while leaving three feet of space, it's best to ride in the center and make traffic wait behind you.
5. Know How to Be Presentable Once You Get to Work
There's no way to get around it – when riding bikes to work, things can get sweaty. Depending on the length of your ride, you'll have to figure out a system that works best for you. Many bike commuters ride in cycling-specific clothing when biking to work and bring a complete change of clothes.
If your work doesn't have a shower, baby wipes are a fantastic way to clean up once you're at the office. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to work and lower your heart rate before sitting down for the day. There's nothing worse than coming into work late with your bike in tow and sweat stains covering your shirt.
6. Consider Picking Up a Pair of Cycling Shorts
If you are riding your bike to work for longer than 20 or 30 minutes, you might want to think about picking up a pair of cycling shorts to keep yourself comfortable. Cycling shorts eliminate the intersection of seams that meet right where you're positioned on a bike seat. Pressure and friction often make this area extremely uncomfortable when bike commuting long distances, leaving you with a distraction throughout your work day. Cycling shorts can significantly improve your comfort level, and you can change them as soon as you get to the office.
7. Learn How to Fix a Flat Tire
Getting flat tires is an inevitable part of cycling. Luckily, fixing a flat bike tire is pretty simple and can be achieved with basic tools, knowledge and practice. If you don't already know how, we recommend reading up on how to fix a flat before bike commuting for the first time.
8. Buy a Good Bike Lock
Unless there is a specific place in your office where you can keep your bike, you'll need to purchase a good bike lock to ensure you can get back home after a long day. Always make sure you keep your bike in a well-lit, busy area with plenty of pedestrian traffic – you want to make it as difficult to steal as possible to ensure you can keep biking to work in the future.
Simplify Your Bicycle Storage With The Stasdock
Once you know what to remember when biking to work, your rides will get easier every day until they become as natural as driving. If you want to ride to work but are worried about where you'd store a bike at home, pick up a Stasdock bike mount to make storage a cinch. The Stasdock is designed for apartments and cramped homes with little storage space and can transform any wall into the perfect spot to keep your bike when you're not riding. With compartments to store your helmet, lock, bag and cycling clothes, it's the best all-in-one storage solution to ensure you can start biking to work when you want. If you want to learn more about the Stasdock, contact us anytime. Happy riding!