Here at Fit Active Living, we’ve shared how great it is for you to incorporate biking into your life! Whether you’re biking 10 miles a day or simply adding cycling into your cross training routine, biking has been proven to have a wide variety of benefits for both your mental and physical health and wellbeing.
With something that brings so many benefits to your life, it only makes sense that you would want to incorporate it into your everyday life. For over 870,000 Americans, they achieve this by biking to work!
Each person may have their own personal reasons, but there are many reasons more and more people are commuting differently. By biking to work, you’re not only improving your physical health, you’re saving money, helping the environment, avoiding unexpected traffic delays, and improving your mental health! PHEW! That’s a lot of benefits, and I didn’t even list them all!
If you’re considering switching out the traffic jams for a bike helmet and some fresh air, there are some key tips that we’d like to share! So, without further ado, here are our 11 biking to work tips for making your commute fun, easy, and practical!
When Biking To Work – Be Realistic
Here is your first tip on the list of our biking to work tips. Before you take your first ride to work, you need to make sure that you’re being realistic about your expectations! Look into the distance from your home to your workplace. Is it a manageable distance for your current level of fitness?
If it’s not a distance you feel ready for, don’t fret! You can always build your endurance and fitness while having your end goal being to commute to work through biking.
If you feel your level of fitness is ready for the ride, make sure you consider that you’re wanting to do this both ways (to and from work) for multiple days a week. This still may not be completely achievable right out of the gate. You don’t want to bike to work too much too soon and burn out on it!
If you’re being realistic, you’re much more likely to stick with it for the long haul! To start, you might build up your endurance to where you feel comfortable with the commute. Maybe you could begin by trying once a week, then add another day the next week and so on. By being realistic at the beginning, you are setting yourself up for more success in the long run!
Wear a Helmet & Bright Clothing
This might seem obvious to some, but this is one of the most important biking to work tips! With cycling, you’ve got to make sure you’re protected. If you don’t have one already, you need to invest in a high-quality helmet! Some believe that as you get older, they’re not as necessary. But if you are on a bike, you’re going to need it!
Also, you need to consider wearing brightly colored clothing! Whether part of your commute is in the dark or not, it’s important that you’re highly visible to cars and others that you are sharing the roads with!
Bicycles can be hard to spot, especially with all the distractions we have today. Try to make yourself as visible as possible for the cars passing by. You could even invest in a bright colored helmet to add even more visibility to yourself!
Find Routes With Low Traffic
While you have your safety gear and bright clothing, I suggest you are also strategic with your route. You should definitely take the road less traveled for this one!
A bike just isn’t as safe as a car, especially with a busy street. You may take every precaution necessary to keep yourself safe, but you cannot control other drivers. With texting and driving and other dangerous distractions out of your control, it’s just not ideal to take busy streets to work by bike. So, if it’s possible, plan out your route with the least amount of traffic and the most amount of visibility (avoiding hills, curves, and other potential blind spots for drivers).
Be Prepared Biking To Work
Even if you have a very short commute, being prepared is important when biking to work! Carry what you need in case of a breakdown, a flat tire, or a wipeout. While it may be a rare occurrence (or may never even happen to you at all), it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
There are two major ways you can be prepared. First, carry the gear you may need in the event of a flat tire, broken chain, etc. These items could include extra tubes, tire levers, a bike tool, and a small hand pump.
The other way you can be prepared is by actually knowing how to fix your bike in case of an emergency! Watch some YouTube tutorials and practice ahead of time. If you don’t know how to use the items you are bringing, then you’re not fully prepared!
Check The Weather
While we’re talking about being prepared, it’s definitely a good idea to check the weather before venturing out to work. Checking the weather at the beginning of the week to get an idea is great, but you really need to check it every morning to ensure that you’ll be able to make it both to and from work safely (and dry).
The last thing you’d want to happen when commuting to work is to get there without a hitch and become stuck there because you forgot to check for the afternoon shower that hit right as it was time to head home. If the weather ever looks questionable, hold off and bike to work another day!
Budget More Time Than You Need
This is one of the most helpful biking to work tips! When you’re planning your route and preparing to bike to work, always try to expect that it will take longer than the time you’ll actually need.
For most average to newer cyclists, it takes about 5-7 minutes to bike each mile. But that’s with normal conditions and everything going according to plan. You’ve got to account for and budget extra time just in case the weather is bad, you have a breakdown, or even if there’s unexpected traffic. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again here – it’s always better to be safe than sorry! And, with getting to work on time, it still applies!
Carry a Phone
This may seem like common sense, but you just never know! When ever you go biking, no matter if it’s to work or just a nice joy ride, ALWAYS make sure that you have your mobile phone with you! This is very important item on the biking to work tips list.
You just never know. There may be a time when you have a breakdown that you simply can’t fix, or you may need to reach out for help if there’s an accident. Whatever the reason may be, you need to make sure you never leave the house without a phone!
Biking To Work Test Run
As you’ve prepped, planned out a route, and gathered all the needed supplies, you may think that you’re ready to rock-and-roll! But it may be beneficial to do a test run before actually biking to work!
There are several reasons that you should do a test run. First, it will let you see how doable your ride will be. What I mean by this is that you may plan out a route, but when you actually try it, it may be harder than you originally thought.
The second reason you will want to try out your ride beforehand is because it will give you a better estimate on the time it will take you. While I did say to make sure you allot more time than you need, it will be good to have an actual number to base it off before actually using it to head to work!
Whether it’s a Sunday or a day when you’re off, try biking to work on an off day.
Have A Clean Up Plan
When I think about biking to work tips, I think this is one that people may not likely think about. Chances are, when you get to work after your ride, you’re going to be a little sweaty. Okay, maybe more than a little. Depending on the weather, you could actually be pretty nasty and sweaty.
If that’s the case, it probably won’t be great for your coworkers to smell you all day after your ride, so you’ll need a cleanup plan for when you arrive to work.
First, you’ll need to account your clean up time into your allotted travel time. Meaning, if you need to be at work by 8:00, maybe you should really aim for 7:40 so that you’ll have plenty of time to clean yourself up.
Once you have the time, you’ll definitely need some supplies to get you smelling fresh. Of course, deodorant is a must! Other supplies really depend on your line or work and your office situation. Some workplaces have showers where you can just pop in, clean off, and carry on with your day! If this doesn’t describe your workplace, you may need to get a little more creative!
No matter how you do it, create a cleanup plan and either bring your supplies with you each time you bike to work, or find a spare drawer at your desk to keep for when the need arises! Trust me, your coworkers will be so glad you didn’t skip out on this biking to work tip!
Carry Your Work Clothes
No matter what your clean up plan looks like, include a set of work clothes! Even if your commute isn’t long and the weather is perfectly crisp, you really shouldn’t bike in your work clothes.
As I’ve said above, always be prepared for any setbacks. Just imagine…You’ve prepared a big presentation. You’ve been practicing it for a week, and while you’re biking to work, you lose focus, pedal through a mud puddle and accidentally get mud on your work pants. Now, they’re ruined and because you didn’t bring a change of clothes, you’re going to have to present all muddy!
While this example may be a little on the dramatic side, I hope you see my point! No matter the reason, bring a change of clothes with you to work! You can easily toss them into a backpack with all of your things, and you’ll be clean, ready for a new day of work!
Biking to work should be something fun that you look forward to! Hopefully, with all the above biking to work tips, you will have plans for the unexpected and have allocated enough travel time to allow you to stop and see things you have never noticed before when driving by at 60 mph.
On your way into work, take in every moment of simply being outside. Try not to think of your commute as something you have to do, but as something that you get to do and look forward to!
And, on that note, be flexible when there are days you don’t get to do it. As I mentioned above, unexpected things are going to come up. There may be times when you may need to be flexible if something happens. Whether it’s a family emergency or an unexpected weather change, there may be times when you can’t ride your bike home, and it’ll be okay! Don’t let it discourage you from biking to work altogether!
Current census estimates show that over 870,000 Americans bike to work. There are different reasons why people might be biking to work. Some are physical health reasons, saving money, helping the environment, mental health reasons, or just being sick of sitting in traffic (my favorite). Regardless of the reason, you should always take time when riding in to enjoy the things you don’t get to see when stuck in your car.
Above we covered our 11 biking to work tips for folks that are interesting in giving it a go. They are 1) when biking to work – be realistic, 2) wear a helmet & bright clothing, 3) find routes with low traffic, 4) be prepared when biking to work, 5) check the weather, 6) budget more time than you need, 7) carry a phone, 8) biking to work test run, 9) have a clean up plan, 10) carry your work clothes, and 11) be flexible!