So this is it, you are finally doing it! You thought about a bike commute for a while, maybe since you made that New Year Resolution, and now is time to give it a go! Not only will you save money, but you’ll be healthier and even feel better about your day. But riding to work comes with its own set of challenges, so we put together seven top tips to help you take up and keep up this new habit.
1. Safety first
It’s an obvious one but super important. Time to rock the cool-kids-look with your shiny new helmet (and don’t forget to get a new one every 5 years). Remember, you need to be seen by the people you share the road with so it helps to have a light at the front and back of your bike as well as wearing reflective clothing. Who knew those leggings from that Tight and Bright themed party could come in handy?
2. Set up a reasonable distance
Keep in mind that you won’t only have to ride to work, but also take the bike home at the end of the day. If you are more than just a few km’s away then you may want to consider cutting your commute with a combo of public transport to start. The key is to make the distance doable, and adapt it later on when you realize you feel ready for the next Tour de France!
3. Consider doing a dummy ride
Get ready for D-day by considering a dry run at the weekend. This will help you know your route better, including how long it generally takes. You can also look for alternative routes and bike paths that aren’t as busy. This will give you peace of mind for your first “official” commute.
4. Know your ABC’s
No need to get too technical, but don’t forget to check Air, Brakes and Chain before riding. You can quickly learn how to change a flat tire by yourself on YouTube (it’s not that difficult, we swear!). Or alternatively pop in to your local bike shop for help and advice. It’s also handy to always carry a small pump in your backpack and a patch kit.
5. Ride smart
Your new playlist may be on fleek, but it’s best to avoid riding with your headphones on to stay alert. Be on the lookout for people in cars who might open their doors without looking. Respect traffic signals and don’t forget to stop for pedestrians crossing the street. If you want to be BFF’s with other riders, make sure to signal any turns and indicate when slowing down or announce yourself when passing another cyclist (always on the left!).
6. Failing to plan, is planning to fail!
Don’t be the one walking into a meeting in your cycling shorts! Make sure you pack appropriately, and if you want to step up your game you could always keep some spare clothes at work. Try to pack your bag the night before with all the essentials you need (laptop, lunch, towel and spare clothes). If you can’t shower at work, dry shampoo and wet wipes will become your best allies. Remember there are limits to what hand sanitizer can do (it WILL burn)!
7. Pack a snack
Yes, you will definitely be hungrier after your morning ride. There is nothing cool about a rumbling stomach so remember to pack extra snacks to keep you going during the day. Hippie Snacks Sesame Snacks are perfect for the occasion and you can keep some in your backpack at all times. They are low in sugar and will give you all the energy you need to keep on rolling!
If you’ve ever thought about biking to work, Bike to Work week is the best time to start! Get free snacks, coffee, basic bike maintenance and loads of prizes by visiting one of our 80 Celebration Stations during Bike to Work Week. Stations are all over Metro Vancouver on high traffic bike routes. Log your trips and enter to win daily prizes as well as an overall grand prize of a cycling trip for 2 to Italy! Be part of the change and help make Metro Vancouver a happier, healthier place to live, work and play. Register today
Did you know?
- As a part of our employee benefits, Left Coast Naturals offer $120 for people who ride at least 50% of the month. To help people get started, we offer them $100 to use towards purchasing a bike.
PS: don’t forget to add this one to your awesome Playlist