Cycling to work or college campus could be very rewarding and enjoyable but before you start your first commute you should prepare yourself by checking our top tips for cycling to work. I’m sure you have a lot of questions about riding to work. In reality, it’s much much easier than you think. Not to mention how good you’re going to feel because not only you will help the environment but you will also save gas money.
So, let’s make a cup of coffee, and start with our top 9 tips for cycling to work:
1. Choose the right bicycle
Choosing the right bicycle for your commute is a very easy task. You can choose between a standard road bike or a hybrid bike. They are both suitable for everyday usage but if your city is on bad roads or maybe you plan to take the sidewalks sometimes the hybrid bike would be the better choice. The hybrid bike can tolerate more riding conditions than the normal road bike and you can be less picky about your routes. The hybrid bike is very stable, easy to use and it is perfect for novice riders as well.
If you are a more advanced cyclist and prefer commuting on higher speed, the road bike should be your choice. It is much faster than the standard hybrid bike but not so versatile and usable on sidewalks or on bad asphalt. Choosing between the two types could be tough but in my opinion, the hybrid bike is excellent if you are just going to use it for riding to work.
2. Buy a rucksack and use it
The best way to carry your stuff for a short ride to work is a rucksack. It is super easy to carry and you can throw anything in it and hit the road. My advice is to take a spare t-shirt, socks, and some deodorant. If you are riding in the summer you can get some wet wipes and maybe more clothes depending on your work.
Of course, you can buy a dedicated cycling rucksack or you can use whatever you have in hands. Being prepared is the most important thing. If your commute to work is more than 10 kilometers distance I would suggest carrying a spare inner tube, a small pump, a pair of tire levers and a small Allen key or multi-tool.
As suggested by our readers if the weather is very hot cycling with a rucksack is not a very good idea. That’s why we suggest buying a good rear bike rack which can carry all your stuff.
3.Plan your route in advance
One of the most significant tips for cycling to work is to plan your route in advance. The most important thing here is to avoid highways. The majority of the cyclists hate riding on highways because they are dangerous, dirty and not enjoyable at all. If you have cycle paths in your city planning would be easier.
Parks and gardens are also very good options and you should take them always if it’s permitted to cycle there of course. When planning your route to work think about the following: quiet roads or cycle paths, roads with low-speed limits, bus lanes and parks with spaces which allow cycling.
4.Learn how to ride in the traffic
Cycling to work in the traffic is not easy for a rookie cyclist. Many people are afraid and would never try to cycle in the rush hour traffic that when you take the first steps you will see that it is manageable. You will just have to learn a few skills but they will come naturally in a few months of riding.
Anticipating the problems before they arise is the most important of them. Staying alerted and 100% concentrated is crucial here. On your first day, you can ride slowly and always be on the brakes.
You should NEVER go up the inside of a bus, lorry or a van. You may fall in their blind spot and this situation could be extremely dangerous. For your first ride, you may try the route to your work on a rest day. Choose one weekend and make the entire trip to your work just for a test.
I would suggest using a cycling balaclava to cover your face if you ride in big traffic congestion.
5. Don’t overthink it
You can think a lot about your first ride to work. How fit am I? Is this route good enough? How will handle the traffic? Just don’t think so much. Take your bike out in the beautiful morning and hit the road. If you have an old bike again just hit the road. Cycling to work can be a fun and relaxing experience and you will regret not starting earlier.
6. Start with an achievable frequency
At first, you don’t have to commute with your bike every day. You can easily start with one day per week and then slowly increase the commutes to 2, and etc. My personal advice is to start with Wednesdays because the worst traffic is on Mondays and Thursdays. You will see that in a few weeks you will wait for that bike day impatiently.
7. Always wear a bicycle helmet
Don’t even think of cycling to work without a bike helmet. A good bike helmet can save your life and it’s even obligatory to wear it in some states. Some people think that if they ride their bikes on bike paths they don’t need to wear helmets but this is not true. You should ALWAYS wear a helmet.
The bicycle helmet is the most important safety accessory you should buy on day one. After that, you should think of buying some good headlight and maybe a tail light. Another good idea is to buy a good bike mirror. It could be especially useful in some metro areas with a lot of traffic.
8. Learn the rules of the road
Maybe you are not a driver and you don’t have any idea of the road rules. Well, in that case, you should definitely familiarize yourself with the rules of the road. There is some very easy and basic stuff you should know. For example, riding your bicycle with the flow and never against the traffic. Also never weave between cars because that’s very dangerous and not permitted. Note that cyclists are required to obey the same traffic laws as automobiles.
9. Buy a decent bike bell and use it regularly.
I know that this one is not an essential tip, but if you ride mostly on bike paths you will encounter some pedestrians who are not aware of what is going on around them. We all have been in that situation I know. So without any doubt, I can recommend a few bike bells which will do the job. And one more thing – never buy a bike horn! It’s a crazy thing of equipment which is not good for the pedestrians, and for other bikers as well.
I want to help 10 000 000 people around the world learn how to ride a bicycle and find the joy of cycling to work. Thank you for being a part of the Yes Cycling community.