Bike to Work Day
This Thursday, May 11th, marks Bike to Work Day across the nation. In small towns and in major city centers, participants will navigate the streets to work on two wheels highlighting the benefits cycling brings to individuals, the environment, and to communities. For a lot of people, commuting by bike might be a good idea in theory, but when it comes down to it, it seems like a hassle. With many of our staff commuting by bike to work here at the shop, we have a lot of first-hand experience with keeping bike commuting safe, comfortable and fun. A few tips from our seasoned bike commuters:
Take Advantage of Layering
Weather in Utah can be varying and unpredictable. From cold and snow in the winter to hundred-degree days in the summer, weather conditions for commuting change season-to-season and even day-to-day. There is no weather harsh enough, however, that the proper gear can’t help you successfully commute in it. In general, it is best to adhere to layering for every ride. In summer, a good pair of arm skins will not just protect you from the sun, but also from the chill of early mornings. The same with a lightweight vest. For winter, a thick wind and water proof jacket and proper layering on your hands, feet, and under your helmet are a must.
Make Yourself Visible to Traffic
It can be intimidating riding next to traffic. The best way to prevent traffic from interfering on your bike commute is to make yourself as visible on the road as possible. If you’re riding during dark hours or in low visibility weather conditions, be sure to ride with a strong head and tail light.
Reflective elements on your clothing and gear are also a great way to enhance your visibility on the road. Be sure to choose layers of clothing and gear that have reflective elements, from your jacket to your backpack, even to your gloves. You can get fancy with a string of LED lights on your wheels or just stick to the classic, clip-on light reflectors. Whatever you choose, just make sure your visibility is enhanced and your presence on the road is known.
Quickly Freshen Up
For many, it’s hard to think about arriving to work a sweaty mess. Many workplaces have showers where you can freshen up, or consider using a neighboring fitness facility’s showers. Sometimes, however, it’s just not possible to take a shower. In these cases, pack some baby wipes with you to freshen up in privacy. It’s also a good idea to leave a bag full of items and extra clothes you will need to get ready for work at your workplace, so you don’t have to carry everything with you as you ride.
Share Your Data
For those using Strava, be sure to record your commute. Strava says that every time a commute is recorded, anonymous data is created. Strava Metro aggregates the millions of human-powered commutes uploaded every week and then partners with urban planners to improve city infrastructure for cyclists and for pedestrians. So not only are you burning calories and lowering your carbon footprint by bike commuting to work, you are also providing data to make it easier and safer for others in your community to do the same thing.
Commuting can be more than just getting from point A to point B. When you’re on a bike, you’re not separated from your environment. You interact with the space around you and feel more of a connection to the road, the scenery, and the general community. More than just a way to save money, improve fitness, and help the environment, bike commuting is a way to connect to the community. If you’re interested in bike commuting and you need advice on routes in the Salt Lake Valley, gear, or just want general encouragement, feel free to call or visit us down at the shop. Hope to see you out on the roads on May 11th for Bike to Work Day!