Cycling to work is gaining popularity worldwide for its economic, health, and environmental benefits. However, commuting via bicycle requires preparation and planning to make it safe, efficient, and comfortable. This definitive guide provides 11 amazing tips for cycling to work even if you are a beginner.
Introduction to Cycling to Work
Cycling is an enjoyable, rewarding, and sustainable way to commute. It saves time and money spent on fuel and parking compared to driving. Riding a bike to work also reduces environmental impact through zero emissions. Most importantly, it boosts cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and overall wellbeing.
Despite the advantages, the thought of cycling to work daily can seem daunting for beginners. You may be concerned about safety, packing necessities, dressing appropriately or bike maintenance. This guide shares pro tips to alleviate such apprehensions and make bike commuting smooth.
Benefits of Cycling to Work
Let’s first understand what’s in it for you if you cycle to work.
Switching from driving to biking slashes fuel expenses remarkably. Cycling eliminates the need to pay for parking too. These savings can add up to hundreds of dollars annually. Investing the money saved on bike gear will pay off very soon.
Bicycles have zero emissions unlike fuel-based transport. Widespread cycling reduces air pollution and carbon footprint significantly. If more people bike instead of driving, cities can meet sustainability goals faster. Leading a greener lifestyle also motivates others to adopt eco-friendly commuting.
Health and Fitness
Cycling provides all-around fitness benefits. A regular workout from biking strengthens heart health, lungs, muscles, joints and bones. It helps manage weight, reduces stress and improves quality of life. The more you bike, the fitter you get. Cycling to work doubles as a daily exercise routine.
Preparing for Your Commute
Preparation is key to make bike commuting efficient and safe every day.
Get a Reliable Bike
Invest in a comfortable and durable hybrid or mountain bike. Test bikes thoroughly before buying one best suited to your height and needs. Basic gearing, responsive brakes and flexible handlebar positioning enable stress-free riding. Purchase necessary accessories like bottle cage, pump, fenders, racks etc.
Invest in Safety Gear
Essential cycling safety equipment includes helmet, visible clothing, bike lights, bell/horn and reflectors. High-visibility jackets make you conspicuous to traffic. Headlights and taillights are vital for low light conditions. A helmet protects your head in case of accidental falls. Also, consider knee and elbow pads if your route has uneven terrain.
Plan Your Route
Analyse potential routes between your home and workplace. Select one with more bike lanes/ trails and less traffic. Also factor in road/ surface conditions, elevation changes, parking options and safety. Test ride the route at your commuting times to estimate duration and get familiar. Planning ensures you pick the optimal cycling route.
What to Wear When Biking to Work
Suitable clothing makes a world of difference to comfort when bike commuting.
The secret to comfortable temperature regulation is layering clothes. Wear a breathable cycling jersey with a base layer to wick moisture. Top it with a lightweight windproof cycling jacket to retain warmth without overheating. Layer up in winters or peel off layers in summer easily.
Visible and Bright Clothing
Wear bright and fluorescent cycling apparel so vehicles can spot you easily. Yellow, orange, green and pink make you conspicuous. Reflective strips on clothing aid visibility at night. Stick reflective tape on your helmet too. Visibility equals safety!
See also: Discover the Best Cycling Shorts
Waterproof and well-ventilated cycling shoes with stiff soles transfer power efficiently to pedals. Lace retention features prevent laces getting caught. Choose footwear with ample toe room and snug fit. Clipless or flat pedal shoes both work well commuting.
Packing for Your Ride
You’ll need to carry work necessities, gadgets, food and spare clothing with you. Some ways to transport them to and fro are:
Backpack or Panniers
Panniers (bike bags) securely attach to racks over back wheel and provide ample organized space. Backpacks are another handy option allowing you to carry items on your back. Whichever bag you pick, ensure it closes fully and has bright colors.
Essentials to Bring
Have a checklist of must-have items to carry daily in your bag:
- Work uniform, change of clothes
- Laptop/ tablet, cables, charger
- Wallet, keys, IDs
- Water bottle, snacks/ lunch
- Umbrella/ raincoat
- Toiletries to freshen up
Double check all items before heading out each day.
Bike Maintenance Tips
It’s vital to keep your bicycle in top working condition through regular care and tune-ups. Here’s what to focus on:
Give your bike a wipe down often with a wet cloth. Use mild detergent mixed water to remove stubborn mud and grime accumulation. This prevents buildup and rusting. Oil the chain periodically for smooth riding.
Tire Pressure and Brakes
Check air pressure in tires weekly using a gauge. Reinflate if pressure drops below recommendation on tire wall. Test brake pads monthly for wear and replace as required. Tight brakes and optimum tire pressure reduces chances of skidding or punctures.
Lube the Chain
Clean your bike chain with a degreaser liquid every month and apply specialty chain lubricant. This reduces friction and wear, prolonging the chain and drivetrain lifespan.
Cycling Safety Tips
You must make safety the number one priority to minimize risk of accidents on your commutes.
Obey Traffic Laws
Strictly adhere to all traffic signals, signs and road rules just as in a vehicle. Stop fully at red lights and stop signs. Use hand signals when turning to indicate your direction. Ride predictably so motorists can anticipate your moves.
Use Lights and Reflectors
Make yourself visible from a distance with bright headlights, tail lights and reflectors at front/ rear of bike. Use flashing mode and daytime running lights if available. Visibility is directly linked to road safety for cyclists.
Helmet is a Must
Wearing a helmet mitigates head injury during falls or collisions and can be lifesaving. Pick one that fits right and meets safety standards. Use the chin strap securely too. Replace your helmet every 3-5 years even if unused.
Dealing With Weather
At times, weather can play spoilsport even for seasoned bike commuters. These tips will see you through:
Carry a lightweight rain poncho to avoid getting drenched. Fenders prevent water spray from tires onto you and bags. Apply anti-rust lubricant frequently to metal bike parts prone to corrosion. Switch on lights to remain visible through poor visibility.
Hot Summer Days
Prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion by carrying electrolyte drinks and hydrating regularly enroute. Freeze water bottles overnight to keep them cool for hours. Seek shady spots if stopping. Bright and light colored clothes reflect heat better.
Cold Winter Days
Wear multiple thin layers and wind/ waterproof outer layer to retain body heat. Neck warmers, gloves, socks and shoe covers provide insulation too. Studded tires provide traction on snow or ice. Use petroleum jelly on exposed skin to avoid windburn.
Arriving at Work
Reaching work ready to start your duties takes some post-commute effort.
Change of Clothes
Freshen up by changing from cycling gear into work uniform if your office has shower/ changing room facilities. Alternatively, keep a stash of office-appropriate clothing at work to change into. This prevents odor or stains from the ride.
Give yourself a quick sink or wipe-down bath if required using basic toiletries kept handy. Deodorant, wet wipes, facial mist, dry shampoo etc. help regain work-ready freshness post-ride. Keep a foldable hairbrush and small mirror too.
Storing Your Bike Securely
Park and lock your bicycle securely to a rack on work premises. Use a U-lock through the frame plus a cable lock for both wheels as a deterrent to bike thieves. Confirm if workplace has monitored or indoor bike parking.
Cycling routinely instead of driving is an achievement worth celebrating. Reward yourself periodically.
Note down odometer readings when starting out and monitor mileage covered over time. Treat yourself to a massage, fancy meal or fun excursion every 250 miles cycled! It motivates you to pedal more.
Indulge your passion for bicycling! Spend savings from commuting costs on new gears like smartphone mount, sport camera, panniers with laptop sleeve or saddle bags. Spoil yourself with cycling merchandise too.
Frequently Asked Questions
What accessories are must-haves for a commuter bike?
Essential accessories include lights, fenders, racks, kickstand and bottle cage. Lights aid visibility, fenders block splashes, racks carry bags securely and kickstand provides parking support.
Can I ride wearing work clothes and change on reaching?
Yes, you can ride wearing work outfit paired with a visibility vest/ strap if your office is closeby and has changing room facility. Just fold work clothes neatly to avoid serious wrinkling during short commute.
How do I prevent arrive sweaty after bicycling?
- Ride slower to avoid exertion
- Use electric assist mode on e-bikes
- Carry extra deodorant/ baby wipes
- Change into fresh work clothes
These handy tips will help you remain fresh at work despite biking over.
We hope these 11 amazing tips motivate you to take up cycling for daily office commute. With suitable preparation and gear, regular bike commuting quickly becomes easy, enjoyable and sustainable. Ditch your car, hop on a bike and pedal away the efficient and eco-friendly way to work!