Spring is all about change. With summer adventures around the corner and New Year’s resolutions quickly fading into the rearview, it’s a perfect time to fit fitness into everyday life. Not only does riding your bike burn off extra calories (about 50 per mile), it saves money, increases your productivity, and boosts happiness.
Whether you’re a Tour De France watching bike enthusiast or you haven’t thrown a leg over a bike in years, here are 6 tips to get started:
KNOW YOUR ROUTE.
Not all roads are created equally. The route you drive to work may be different than the one that’s best for bicycling. Many cities offer bicycle maps that highlight bike paths, bike lanes, and low traffic streets. Google Maps also has a bike route feature that is my go-to means of finding and following bike-friendly routes.
Attaching your phone to your handlebar with the HandleBand by Nite Ize makes it easy to navigate new routes while on-the-go.
BE SEEN. BE SAFE.
No matter where your ride takes you, visibility is key--day and night. While bike lights were primarily used for seeing at night, the use of lights during the day has been shown to reduce accidents by 19%. Rotating lights, like the SpokeLit, are a fun colorful way to increase side visibility.
Radiant bike lights by Nite Ize offer a spectrum of high feature-to-value light options. The powerful rechargeable Radiant 750 is perfect for illuminating the path ahead, while the Day-Safe Flash mode creates an eye-catching pulse that keeps you seen from up to a mile away.
The Radiant 125 front and tail lights offer a convenient rechargeable option, and the Radiant 50 is an affordable and compact battery-powered light. All Radiant bike lights have the convenience of tool-free installation, making it a snap to stay seen.
PACK EXTRAS, TRUST ME.Over a few decades of riding to work, I’ve spent plenty of days walking around in ridiculous bike shoes or trying to pretend that my sweat-soaked shirt is the latest fashion trend. Lesson learned. Now, I have an extra everything at work. It’s amazing how an old pair of shoes and some badly fitting jeans can be a life saver when the alternative is wearing spandex to a 10 o’clock meeting.
SHOWERING (WITHOUT A SHOWER).Offices outfitted with onsite showers make it easy to commute on hot days, even if you have to be in business casual first thing. But for those of us without a shower handy, there are a variety of solutions. While a box of baby wipes gets the job done, there are a several purpose-made shower towelettes designed to specifically to de-funk yourself.
TO BACKPACK OR NOT TO BACKPACK.It doesn’t take a bike commute-ologist to realize that extra clothes, lunch, and a lock can add up quickly. A backpack is great for short rides, but dedicated commuters may be interested in picking up a set of panniers. Panniers generally attach to a rack on your bike and create an easy way to carry everything you need, while your back remains backpack-free.
WEATHERING THE WEATHER.
Nothing can dampen a ride like getting caught in a rainstorm. While you don’t have to carry a full raincoat and galoshes on every ride, having a small packable rain jacket works wonders. In a pinch, a garbage bag can be used to protect your gear (and even yourself) from the elements while a few grocery bags will keep your feet dry and warm. As an added bonus, you can always cover your seat with a grocery bag to ensure it stays dry during the day (so your tookus stays dry on the ride home).
Whether your bike ride takes you across town or to the local ice cream shop, it’s a great time to give bike commuting a try. After all, the best part of riding a bike is that…it’s just like riding a bike.