Bike Commuting 101
How to Record Mileage/Days Traveled
Bike Commuting 101
Tips on Preparing to Commute
- Navigating Traffic and
riding with the flow is important to a commuter's success. Remember our goal is
to save the planet and our skin is first and foremost. In order to do this you
have multiple ways to stay safe and circumnavigate your routes through town.
Being seen is probably one of your best defenses against being hit. If people
see you then they will usually slow and take extra precaution when going
around. If you are not highly visible then they have less time to recognize
there is a cyclist in the road and prepare their action. Ways to be seen are
numerous, there are high intensity lights you can run day and night, reflective
clothing, bright colored jerseys and safety flags, if so inclined.
- The rules of the road
are pretty simple, in my opinion you should try to find as many paths and side
streets as possible for your routes. These paths and streets are most generally
faster and safer. In various routes I have explored for my commutes, time can
vary by up to 10 minutes in any route chosen. This is based on traffic flow and
hills involved, so pick your routes by time and safety. When you do have to be
in traffic the law says you are able to take up a lane as any normal vehicle on
the road. In real life this makes a flow problem, use routes with shoulders if
possible, if not then give yourself enough room to react to traffic changes and
people who are not paying attention.
- In summary you need to
pick your routes for time and safety if efficiency is your thing, however it is
always good to take in some scenery on the "long" way home!
- Commuting in the
spring time requires planning in the clothing department as well. The days can
bring rain, wind, heat and snow. Mostly you need to have layers that are easy
to shed and breathable. If the clothes you choose are convertible for multiple
weather applications you can have multi-climate control with fewer articles of
clothing. That translates to less extras to haul around.
want to check over your rig and make sure it is in good operating
condition. Things to look for are properly inflated tires with no cracks or
threads showing, clean and lubed chain, proper seat height and angle, bolts
tight, and proper shifting and braking.
- A tool
kit is a handy addition to take care of any road side repairs. In your kit
you should have tire levers, a patch kit, multi-tool (w/ chain tool), handy
wipe, extra tube and pump. (Usually if you carry all this you will never
need it, the moment you don't carry it you'll need it!)
you need to ascertain your clothing requirements according to weather
concerns. This time of year it can vary greatly and some extra clothing for
any sundown riding is definitely warranted. Types of clothes you want to
think about are cycling specific clothing with versatility, i.e. sleeves
that zip off, wind resistant, water repellent (repellent is different than
water proof), flexible, long sleeves and pant legs and some reflective
piping. Gloves come in many different configurations and are a good idea
whether it is warm or cold. You can commute in very cold temperatures with
the benefits being very little sweat if any and the ability to control
temperatures with layers. (Do not overdress or you will be miserable, a
little clothing goes along way when you are burning all those calories!!)
Multiple layers allow shedding and variation when the weather gets warmer in
the day. Donít forget commuting in early morning and late night is always
colder. Any wind adds a special dynamic to the commute; you will generate
more heat going into the wind with higher speeds going with the wind. Wind
front jackets with breath ability are the best choice for this. A helmet is
always a good idea and there are many styles of beanies made to fit under
the helmet itself. These are not all the factors but some of the main
issues to address.
commuters I know have racks for bags. They come in many different styles
and sizes. You can decide based upon your length of commute and amount of
gear you need to haul. Bags will help you keep things off your back and on
your bike. Some commuters still love the backpack, they like the absence of
clutter on their bike. These are riders that have one bike and use it for
multiple venues. For this there are several multi-use quick release racks.
are a good thing to have day and night, the flashing LED style are very good
at drawing attention from motorists letting them know you are sharing the
road with them. Now if you are going to be riding paths and poorly lit
areas at night you will need something that aids your vision as well, this
requires more power than most small LED lights have. A high power LED or
Halogen unit will be required.
**This is not a
comprehensive article and by no means covers all areas but is a good quick
reference for starting your commuting adventure; think of the satisfaction
you'll get riding by all those people stuck in metal boxes fighting traffic
while consuming resources and calories. Meanwhile you help the environment and
yourself by riding your bike!!