I feel very lucky to have found an apartment that allows me to walk or bike to work. Walking takes about 25 minutes or so, and biking takes just 10, and sometimes less if I catch the lights just right. The first time I decided to attempt to bike to work was shortly after moving, and I’d only ever used my bike for exercise before – never as a means of transportation. I figured it couldn’t be too hard and set out to go to work without much thought put into the ride.
To put it simply, it was a disaster.
Top Five Don’ts of Bike Commuting
While most of these things may seem pretty intuitive to the general population, for me, they were learned through trial and error.
1.) Don’t… Keep your phone in your pocket.
It doesn’t matter who calls or texts you on the way to work, nor what time it is each time you stop. On my first commute on bike, I thought it would be a good idea to transport my phone in my pocket and it turned out not to be when it fell out into a puddle and I haven’t been able to turn it on since.
2.) Don’t… Bring a large over the shoulder bag.
A backpack works much better, trust me on this one. Day one, the huge bag not only had me completely off center, it was going into the opposite bike lane on the road and I had to keep swerving to avoid hitting into other cyclists. Turns out, the backpack is also a great place to keep your phone.
3.) Don’t… Wear wide legged pants.
They will get caught in your bike chain, and you will rip a hole in your favorite work pants. You can roll your pants up or buy a band that goes around your ankle to keep your pants secure, or else you can just wear jeans or tapered pants and they shouldn’t get caught in your bike.
4.) Don’t… Forget to check the weather.
It will probably rain if you don’t check it, and riding to work in the rain is not only wet and makes you arrive cranky, but it’s not the safest either. You’re better off walking with an umbrella or taking public transport if that’s an option.
5.) Don’t… Wing your route.
I found myself cycling the wrong way on one too many one-way streets on day one because I didn’t map out my route beforehand, and it was not only dangerous, it was frightening. Google maps actually has bike routes mapped out for several areas, but another option is walking or driving the route beforehand to figure out the best way.
I’m happy to report that since day one, my bike commuting skills have improved immensely. I now have a great route to and from work, only bike when the weather looks clear, and have not one, but two backpacks I alternate between. I also have taken to keeping my phone in my backpack rather than my pocket, but am still working on #3 – I definitely ripped a hole in another pair of pants yesterday…
You can’t win ‘em all, right?