The other afternoon at my day job I encountered a customer who was excited to begin bike commuting. (Hi, Blake!) He said he had about 9 miles of commute and it was going to be over some hilly terrain, and featured some possibly bike-unfriendly roads. We unpacked some ideas on how he could make it happen – and one of my suggestions included building up to it. Don’t feel like you have to set some magical goal for yourself in terms of riding in to work, especially if you have been a car-only commuter in Nashville.
KJ’s Four Recommendations for Bike Commuting
- Know your limits, and aspire to stretch them from time to time
- Become a devoted follower of multiple weather sources
- Get familiar with bus routes in case of bad weather or physical issues
- Fuel yourself appropriately
Consider length of your commute – 1-5 miles, 5-10 miles, 10-20 miles; can cut into half with “half-mute” (half car or bus, half bike). It is easier to navigate in town on bike. Experiment with different routes and give yourself plenty of time to get there. If you’re 30 miles away, drive in and park where you’re 4 or 5 or 6 miles away from work. Free parking in various neighbourhoods plus a shorter ride will still save you on gas and parking fees in the long run, and you won’t have to go to the gym before or after work!
What can you “plant” at work? Extra clothes, shoes, soap (Dr Bronner’s is the BEST SOAP), deodorant, rags to clean off wet bike.
Save money on fuel costs! You don’t have to circle the block to find parking; you don’t have to pay for parking; you don’t have to fill up as often; you place less wear and tear on your motor vehicle; you can roll RIGHT UP TO YOUR OFFICE. Some employers may even have an insurance plan that gives you financial benefits for exercising – check with your HR department to find out more.
Below, find a non-canonical commuting checklist of items you will want to consider, and check back for future posts elaborating on my Four Recommendations.
- Functional bike, suitable for length of commute
- Comfortable clothing
- Lights (front and rear – daylight visible)
- Water bottle cages & water bottles
- Bike lock
- Charged cell phone
- Emergency roadside kit (extra tube; tire levers; dollar bills; pump or CO2 cartridges; snack bars)
- Plastic bags or trash bag
- Rear rack
- Saddlebags/panniers/bungee cords
- Good rain gear
- Bus pass* (you may qualify for reduced or free fare through your employer – check into this!)
- Dry bag (for hiking or kayaking)
- Advanced emergency roadside kit (mini tool; tube patches)