Riding a bike to work rather than driving has many advantages.
You can beat the traffic, get a workout in, save money, and be kinder to the environment.
With the correct clothing and some preparation, riding a bike to work can be a comfortable and stress-free way to start your day.
In this post, we will give you 12 tips on how to start commuting by bike.
1. Don’t Listen To Negative Work Colleagues
You may float the idea of commuting by bike to work to your colleagues by the water cooler and get some negative responses. Often people don’t understand why you wouldn’t commute in a warm and comfortable car.
But this is just their opinion.
If riding a bike to work suits you, this is your business. So don’t be put off by the people you work with.
Instead, find out who else rides their bike to work. Try to get some advice from fellow riders, and if possible, join them on your commute.
Having a riding buddy can make winter riding much more pleasant.
2. Go Tubeless
Being late for work due to a puncture is frustrating, inconvenient and embarrassing.
You stand a better chance of getting to work uninterrupted if you run tubeless tyres.
Tubeless tyres use a sealant that fills up any holes that will cause your tyre to go flat. You won’t notice that your tyre has been pierced by thorns or whatever you ride over most of the time.
3. Be Prepared
If you don’t go tubeless, make sure you carry a spare inner tube, tyre levers and a pump. Being able to replace an inner tube is something every cyclist should know how to do.
It is always a good idea to carry a multi-tool with you. A multi-tool is like a Swiss army knife, as it has lots of different tools that allow you to fix a whole host of mechanical problems at the side of the road.
Multi-tools are very small, but they can get you out of trouble if you get a mechanical issue most of the time.
Even if you don’t plan on riding in the dark, you may also want to carry lights for your bike. This way, you are prepared if you end up leaving work late or have a problem that takes a while to fix.
4. Wear The Correct Clothing
You can buy clothing suitable for commuting in. But, what you wear all depends on your route and the weather conditions.
Cycling clothing may seem expensive at first, but it will last you a long time if you get the good stuff. Also, it isn’t that expensive when you consider the costs of commuting in a car.
Proper cycling clothing is breathable so that you will be more comfortable during your ride. Also, it will benefit you if you cannot have a shower at work. This is because you won’t be as sweaty as if you rode in what you wear for work.
An excellent investment when it comes to cycling clothing is a decent jacket.
Make sure you buy a breathable and waterproof cycling jacket to be as comfortable as possible. These jackets are thin, but they allow you to layer up and down to suit the conditions.
One of the most essential things about cycling clothing, especially when you bike to work, is visibility.
Don’t wear dark colours, as they make you less visible to other road users. Traditionally, high visibility cycling gear doesn’t look great, but you can now buy some pretty cool looking clothing that keeps you visible.
5. Choose The Right Bike
You may already have a bike, but some bikes are better for commuting than others. But again, this all depends on your route and where you work.
If you ride on smooth paved roads, you would be best with a city bike or road bike. These roll efficiently on smooth surfaces, making them a fast way to get around.
However, if your route consists of uneven surfaces, canal paths or light off-road sections, you may benefit from commuting on a mountain bike.
You won’t need anything too flash, but a good hardtail (a mountain bike with suspension on the front) will suffice.
Another thing to consider when choosing a bike for commuting on is, do you need to carry anything with you? If so, choosing a bike with a cargo rack may be a good option.
You can buy commuter bikes with handy features that you may benefit from.
For example, if you need to store your bike at work or in a tight space at home, you may benefit from a folding bike. These are lightweight and compact, perfect for city living.
Additional features you may want on your commuter bike are mudguards.
These stop water and mud from spraying into your face and up your back. They make a surprisingly big difference to how comfortable you bike to work.
6. Have A Backup
Sometimes the unexpected can happen, preventing you from riding your bike to work. This may be a problem with your bike, lousy weather, or even an injury. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a backup plan.
Make sure you have an alternative way to get to work. Find out how to get there on public transport or find someone who could give you a lift.
If these are not viable options for you, it never hurts to have an extra bike. Also, you could use your alternative bike for different types of rides.
For example, your 2nd bike could be a road bike, suitable for longer distances or for weekend fun.
7. Don’t Go 100% Straight Away
If you are relatively new to cycling, you may benefit from only riding a bike to work a couple of times per week to start with.
By doing it this way, you can build up your fitness over a few weeks.
If you commit 100% straight away, you may feel very tired. This tiredness will affect your productivity at work or make you not want to ride to work anymore.
8. Choose Your Route Carefully
Sometimes there is only one route to and from work on a bike. But, it is a good idea to plan a cycle route or two.
Often the most direct route isn’t the best in terms of safety. You would be wise to look for an alternative way that is much safer. Try to avoid very busy roads or dodgy neighbourhoods if you can.
You may want to choose a different route home.
For example, if you want a workout, you can choose a longer way home. Or, if you have a mountain bike, you can take a more interesting, fun and exciting route.
9. Always Be Alert
The more you bike to work, the savvier you will become.
You will develop road sense that will keep you safe. However, it would be best if you had your wits about you when riding in the city straight away.
Most of the time, accidents are caused by other people, and cities are full of them. Watch out for cars and pedestrians, as they cause the most hazards.
It is best to ride your bike defensively to stay out of trouble.
Don’t ride too close to the pavement as people step out without warning. Find safe gaps in the traffic and expect the unexpected.
You may like to bike to work listening to music or podcasts. But headphones isolate you from what is going on around you. Being able to hear cars approaching is far more important.
10. Always Wear A Helmet
There is a good chance that you won’t need a helmet. But if you do have an accident, it is better to be wearing one. Bike helmets don’t protect you from all incidents, but they are effective at protecting you from most.
Don’t scrimp on your bike helmet, as you get what you pay for. Make sure your bike helmet fits properly and gives you sufficient cover, especially around the back of your head.
11. Do A Dry Run
Before your first bike to work, you need to know how long it takes.
The best way to do this is to do a dry run at the weekend. You will also get a good idea of how you will feel when you arrive.
It is best to do this dry run at a slower pace than you would normally ride. This is because you know you can pick up the pace if you find you are short of time during your commute.
12. Leave A Change Of Clothes At Work
If you leave some clothes at work, you don’t have to carry them with you.
Also, stuffing your work clothes into a backpack every day means they become creased and tatty-looking very quickly.
Keeping your work clothes at work doesn’t always work, especially if your bike is your only form of transport.
You have to get them there in the first place and get them home to wash them. But, some people can make this work, depending on their circumstances.
Still unsure about what bike you need for your morning commute?
Check out this article on the 10 Types Of Bicycles for an in-depth look.