Ready to Become a Bike Commuter?
Deciding to become a bike commuter is a big commitment. Whether you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, have a more active lifestyle, or just got tired of sitting in your car in the traffic, you’re about to endure a huge change in your life. But wait! It’s not as easy as grabbing your bike and heading out the door. Well, it is if you’re a regular rider, but if you only ride every once in a while, there’s a little more planning involved.
Take Baby Steps
New riders need to build up their resistance to avoid the “New Year’s effect” (aka. When you start off super pumped for your new goal but gradually lose interest and then altogether abandon it). Though biking is an exercise that looks super easy, it actually is a full body workout that requires a lot of strength and stamina.
First make sure you’re not overdoing the distance. That is, if you’re a good 30 minutes away from your job by car, it might be about an hour by bike. At first, it might be a good idea to ride halfway through there and hitch a ride or take the bus. The point is not to overdo it.
Another thing to keep in mind is the terrain. Is your office at the top of a pretty steep hill? Are there any dangerous intersections on the way there? Asses all of these possibilities ahead of time and plan accordingly. Maybe you will need to find a different route or build up your strength for a few months before commuting.
Last but not least, think about frequency. Deciding to commute doesn’t mean you have to ride to and from work every single day. Mainly because unless you’re a professional rider, chances are you’ll end up exhausted and disappointed. Make a plan, you can ride to work on Monday, leave the bike in the office and then ride home from work on Wednesday for a few weeks. Then you can increase the frequency and add rides to and from work on Fridays. And continue to increase until you feel comfortable riding every day.
Consider Your Wardrobe
Some commutes are short and painless, so you could easily do it in your work clothes without walking into your office like a sweaty mess by the end of it. Others will definitely require workout clothes, if that’s the case, you could bring your work clothes the day before so as not to add any extra weight to your ride.
Plan, Plan, Plan
The main thing you should be taking away from this article is that commuting by bike requires some major planning, and not just on how hard it will be to get to your office, but also in terms how you’ll look and smell once you get there.
Dry shampoo, wet towels, and microfiber towels should be your best friends now. Some lucky workers have an office shower they can use. Others will have to learn their way around the nearest bathroom sink. Whatever your case is, the key here is managing to make yourself presentable again. Helmets can make your hair look flat and just plain weird, so dry shampoo and a comb can help you look human again. Likewise, wet towels and spray deodorant can help you smell like you just came out of the shower. Make sure you have a commute kit at work, and everything should be fine.