Beginner Cycling

I would like to use my bike to commute to work

asked over 6 years ago | Report

I have a 50 mile commute by car so I was going to park & ride anywhere from 3.5 miles to 8 miles away from the where I work. I have to consider weather, time, traffic, & will I get sweaty. I'll also have to ask if I can use the parking lots of a local church and restaurant. I can bike comfortably 10 miles in an hour now. Are there other considerations also? I'd like to make this transition seamlessly. I'd like to get in better shape and save on gas money for the week.

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  • Other considerations should include: A bike rack -- how will you carry the needed daily supplies for work? Clothing -- can you comfortably wear your work clothes while cycling? Security -- is there a safe place to stash your bike once you get to work? Lighting -- will headlights and taillights be needed in the morning?

    I am currently commuting 1-2 times a week, about 17 miles each way. Luckily I have a casual work place so I wheel the bike into the office, change in the restroom and go to work. The most difficult part is the ride home, after working all day I'm quite tired and the trip home takes more time than the trip to work. As I get more fit, hopefully, it will get easier to ride home and I will ride more often. I have also stashed a spare floor pump in case of flats, and my boss is understanding in case of a flat on the way in and I will not get in trouble if I show up late.

    Good luck! I would also suggest giving it a test run on your day off, that hill you never noticed in the car can really surprise you on the bike.

    answered over 6 years ago |Report

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  • Dan M. gave some really great advice.

    I would add to it to make sure your bike is tuned up, and make sure you know how to change a flat, and carry at least two extra tubes and the tools to make the fix. A small multi-tool will also be handy, if only to tighten something that comes loose when you ride (and it will).

    Consider getting a really bright rear "blinky" light (such as the Planet Bike Superflash or Superflash Turbo) which can be seen during the day let alone at night. A bright flashing front light is a good idea as well, some also are bright enough to see during the day. Don't forget that in most states it is a legal requirement to have lights on the bike once dark. It may also be a legal requirement to have reflectors, and in the case of commuting that is a really good idea. Side visibility to drivers is really poor on most bikes, even if you have a bright front and rear light. You may want to look into things like this: ( or ( or (

    Try and locate roads that keep you away from general commuter traffic, bike paths if possible.

    It would behoove you to always make sure you have extra time to ride. If you think you can make it to work in a half hour, always give yourself a full hour for the ride. There will be situations that come up where you will want that extra time. Never stray from that schedule.

    If you are carrying your change of clothing with you on the bike, make sure you store an extra set of clothes at work, just in case. If possible also, store some sort of food at work such as granola bars. You will have days where you arrive very hungry and having extra calories to intake will make for a better day.

    ALWAYS carry water, no matter what. At least water bottles, also consider the convenience of a hydration pack.

    It is a good idea to have some sort of ID that stays on your person, not in a pack or bag. I use a RoadID ( which affixes around my wrist. I feel naked if I ride without it.

    Make sure your family knows the route you ride. Also keep a charged cell phone with you, as well as keeping spare change in a bag on the bike just in case you need to use a payphone (yes, they still have those!)

    Lastly, you might not think they look cool, or even be necessary in better weather, but a set of fenders is an incredibly useful addition to a commuter bike. There will always be stuff the tires throw up from the road that fenders will keep off your person and the bike. Part of my commute when I ride to work is over dusty dirt fire-road. The fenders keep the dirt from clogging up my chain and front derailleur, believe it or not.

    Have fun bike commuting!

    answered about 6 years ago |Report

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