I’ve kept up my end of the bargain thus far and, at the risk of sounding cliché, have learned a lot about myself along the way:
1. The gear
- “Be prepared”
- Perhaps the Boy Scouts knew what they were talking about when they adopted “Be Prepared” as their official motto!
- It takes advance thought and planning to pack work clothes to wear during the day as well as a lunch, bike lock, deodorant, jewelry, etc. I like to do this at night because it does take extra time.
- I’ve found that a spacious, comfortable backpack is the best way for me to balance my belongings on my back.
- Take advantage of functional clothing
- It never hurts to have a rain jacket. Plus, vehicle fumes can really make you dirty and sweaty, so wearing some sort of light jacket while pedaling in can give your skin a breather.
- Shoes are tricky because I don’t like clipping-in on the way to work. What’s worked best for me is wearing somewhat comfortable sandals or flats that I can use on the commute as well as during the work day.
2. The road
- Find your route
- Ask around to learn if there are any common bike routes in your city.
- It’s even better if you can find a group of people to ride with!
- Sometimes bikers make mistakes
- It can be tough to learn proper cycling protocol. For example, how to know when you should ride in the bike lane, on the sidewalk or take up a lane yourself. Cars aren’t always forgiving of bikers – but they ARE bigger – so it’s important to put safety first and err on the side of caution at all times.
- Don’t be afraid of going slow. The worst case scenario is to careen out of control.
3. The lifestyle
- Biking is worth it – and fun!
- If you like working out, it’s awesome to get an extra hour in AND get to work at the same time.
- It’s fun to pedal your legs after a day of sitting down at the office! My mind feels at ease after the stint home in the evenings.
- The habit is “sticky”
- Biking to work 2-days a week has made me very aware of the days that I DON’T bike to work. Though using a car makes me more comfortable on my ride in (A/C in the car…no sweat…can carry more belongings), I hate sitting in traffic when I know I could be whizzing by in the bike lane.
- I’ve noticed that on the days that I do bike to work, I don’t often use my car the rest of the day. There’s rarely a reason to!
Share your green-commuter tips in the comments below.