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10 Cycling to Work Tips for Beginners

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KEY
POINTS

  • Cycling to work every day has many health and environmental benefits.
  • You have to follow a few simple rules to get to work safe and sound.
  • Commuting daily by bike is much easier than you might think.

Cycling to work or college campus daily could be very rewarding and enjoyable, but before starting your first commute, you should prepare yourself with some good tips and tricks from the pros.

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 will you 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

guy commuting to work

Choosing the right bicycle for your commute is a straightforward 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 you plan to take the sidewalks, sometimes the hybrid bike would be better. 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 perfect for novice riders.

If you are a more advanced cyclist and prefer commuting at a higher speed, the road bike should be your choice. It is much faster than the standard hybrid bike but not versatile and usable on sidewalks or bad asphalt. Choosing between the two types could be tough, but in my opinion, the hybrid bike is excellent if you use it for riding to work.

Many people choose an electric bike these days. E-bikes are perfect for beginners because you can ride longer distances without getting too sweaty. You can choose between hundreds of amazing commuter electric bikes in 2021.

2. Buy a rucksack and use it

women commuting on a bike with backpack

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.

Being prepared is the most important thing. If your commute to work is more than 10 kilometers, I would suggest carrying a spare inner tube, a small pump, a pair of tire levers, and a small Allen key or multi-tool. Of course, you can buy a dedicated cycling backpack, or you can use whatever you have in your hands.

Our readers suggest that cycling with a rucksack is not a very good idea if the weather is scorching. That’s why we suggest that if you live in a hot weather area buying a good rear bike rack which can carry all your stuff.

Read more: 5 Convenient Ways to Carry Groceries on a Bike.

3.Plan your route in advance

Painted Bike On a Tree

One of the most significant tips for cycling to work is to plan your route. The most important thing here is to avoid highways. The majority of cyclists hate riding on highways because they are dangerous, dirty, and not enjoyable. If you have cycle paths in your city, planning would be easier.

Parks and gardens are also excellent 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 that allow cycling.

Some of the best tools to use for planning your route to work: Google Maps, Map My Ride 

4.Learn how to ride in the traffic

cycling in heavy traffic NYC

Cycling to work in 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 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.

It would help if you NEVER went up the inside of a bus, lorry or a van. You may fall into their blind spot, and this situation could be hazardous. 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.

Read more: How to Remove Speed Limiter on Electric Bike

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 you 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

cycling tips 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, 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 

cyclists with a 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 they don’t need to wear helmets if they ride their bikes on bike paths, 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 use a bike mirror. It could be beneficial in some metro areas with a lot of traffic.

8. Learn the rules of the road 

tips for cycling to work traffic rules

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 straightforward 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 unaware 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 that is not good for pedestrians and other bikers.

10. Try the cycle route out on a weekend 

A friend of mine gave me this advice many years ago, and it’s golden. Try the cycle route from your home to work on a weekend. This way, you will get a feel of the road, find out if the distance is doable, and do it much more safely with minimal traffic.

About Alek Asaduryan

Alek Asaduryan is the founder of YesCycling and has been riding bikes and in the cycling industry since 1991. Since then, his mission is to make cycling more accessible to everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people to achieve that. When he's not out riding his beloved fitness bike, Alek reports on news, gear, guides, and all things cycling related.