Commuting tips and tricks we learned during Bike Month
So, we are almost through BIKE MONTH! The best month of the year, no doubt. A month that has you thinking… I could ride my bike to work…
So, you’re going to do it. No, really. This time you aren’t going to chicken and and jump on the sidewalk. This time you aren’t going to make up some excuse or reason why you should drive in today. You are going to do it. You’re ready to start your day with an invigorating ride to the office.
Before you change your life forever! Here are some tips to help you get there safely while working off that case of chair ass on the way.
Plan your route in advance. In the morning traffic is going to suck. Everyone is there cars is going to be angry. Remember how you used to feel driving to work? To combat these negative nancys, try to stick with dedicated bike routes – just be careful not to make your colleagues too jealous as you cruise by them with a smile on your face. And remember the shortest distance may not be the safest or most enjoyable ride.. Don’t be afraid to test it out on the weekend when the roads are less busy and you’re not on a schedule.
Safety first. A helmet and flashing front and rear lights are not optional. Do it. A pair of sunglasses is also a great idea for eye protection from loose debris.
Be prepared. This one is important. Didn’t you learn anything in Boy Scouts? Always be prepared! A saddlebag with a mini pump, tire lever, spare tube and allen wrench is a great insurance policy. A pair of latex gloves can keep your hands clean if you have to fix a flat. And in case you get caught in rain, mudguards can protect your butt from getting drenched with dirty water. You can take our advice and be prepared from the start. Or you can learn this lesson the hard way.
Keep it clean. A clean bike is a happy bike. Wipe down the rims to remove road grit that can wear out your brakes and keep the chain lubed to keep things moving smoothly.
Keep the (tire) pressure on. Keeping your tires inflated reduces the likelihood of getting a flat and makes the ride easier. The recommended pressure is written on the sidewall of the tire. For MBIKES, we recommend filling your tires with a Presta valve pump until the PSI gauge reads 60 PSI.
Change it up. James Bond once peeled off dive suit to reveal a perfectly pressed tuxedo. Unless you have 007 threads you don’t need to wear anything special for commuting to work, but it can be nice to have a change of clothes when you arrive. Leave a change of clothes at work or roll them in your bag to prevent wrinkles. Ideally, your office has a shower. If not your office mates will appreciate it if you kept baby wipes and deodorant in your desk drawer. Consider carrying your gear in a saddlebag so that the bike carries the load instead of your back. Your center of gravity is lower so it’s a bit safer and more comfortable. Plus you’ll avoid the dreaded back sweat.
Ditch the headphones. Use your ears and eyes to pay attention to your surroundings. Often you hear traffic approaching before you see it.
Mind your manners. Be considerate with other bikers and wait your turn at the lights. Ride with, never against traffic and signal your turns. Always assume drivers can’t see you and ride at least 3 feet to the left of parked cars to avoid getting doored. Make eye contact with drivers so you know they see you.
Have FUN and SMILE. Riding to work doesn’t have to be a big production. If you’re just starting out try driving to work, riding home, and then riding to work the next morning. Before you know it, you’ll realize you haven’t filled your car with gas for two months and your ass is looking great in those jeans. Now that is something to smile about.