The first thing that aspiring cyclists want to do with their brand-new bicycles is to commute to work. The problem is that a bad first ride tends to put people off and they never get back on their bikes again to go to work.
There are many rookie mistakes to bike commuting but no one should be faulted for trying to do more with their bikes. The common pitfalls to bike riding a completely avoidable or they can be mitigated with a few fixes and changes. Here are some big factors for you to keep in mind when it comes to commuting to work by bike.
1. Set Achievable Goals
You might be extremely enthusiastic to start riding your bike to work right away but you really need to consider how far away your workplace is first. 20 kilometres sure looks easy on a map but for a beginner this is a very challenging distance that could take a long time to cover. If your workplace was too far, perhaps you can start with another place you visit often such as the supermarket. Another factor to consider is how often you should commute with your bicycle. Even if your workplace is only 3 kilometres away, work up to commuting full time by riding to work just two or three times a week.
2. Get the basic gear
You need a helmet. Don’t ride a bicycle anywhere without a helmet. You might want to wear some clothes that are more conducive for cycling such as cycling shorts and a comfortable jersey or t-shirt. If your ride is long, carry the clothes you will wear at work in a nice bicycle bag (we’ve have a selection of bags that suits everyone’s needs). When you get to work, all you have to do is to change into fresh new clothes and start your day.
3. But don’t go overboard
There is a lot of cycling gear out there and all of it has a purpose and a place but you don’t need it all just yet. Take your time to get comfortable riding a bike and invest in what adds value to your ride after gaining some experience.
4. Do a trial run on a holiday
You won’t be able to check your phone for directions or find the route that takes the shortest time, which means you should try to learn the route beforehand. Do a dry run on the weekend and figure out what makes the most sense for you.
5. Keep the weather in mind
Heat and humidity can make a short distance seem very long, the rain makes for dangerous riding conditions and if it is very cold, you need to ensure your bike is ready for the conditions. As a beginner, you shouldn’t attempt to ride a bike in extremely adverse conditions, however, if you have to deal with extreme climates, start small and work up to larger distances.
6. Basic bike maintenance and security
Since you will ride a bike more often, you need to keep an eye on the bike’s maintenance. Learn what the common indicators of wear and tear are and keep a couple of tools at home for some quick maintenance. Your tires need to keep equal pressure as well, so take it to your local bike shop for regular air filling. You will need adequate bike locks to make sure your bike isn’t stolen so invest in a good one as well.
7.There are always obstacles
Parked car doors will open, dogs and children will run across your path and potholes can appear out of nowhere. Don’t be frightened by any of this, just keep your eyes open and ride at your own pace.
8. It’s going to be worth it
After you have gotten used to riding your bike to work every day, you won’t imagine your commute without your bike. The freedom to get where you want to be on your own terms is what riding a bike gives you. Commuting to work is not going to be boring or tedious anymore.