Biking to Work: What to Know Before You Roll

It’s Bike to Work Week! If you’re among the more than 700,000 Americans who pedal to the office, you know there are so many great reasons to commute by bike: It’s better for the environment, it’s better for you—and it’s fun. If you’re considering a two-wheeled commute of your own, we’ve put together some helpful guidelines to make the journey work for you.

Get your bike adjusted and checked at a bike shop. You’ll ride with confidence knowing your bike is in good working order and fits your height. Go a step further by taking a bike maintenance class, offered at many bike shops. That way, flat tires or chain malfunctions won’t make you late for your morning meeting.

Prepare a bike emergency kit. Here is a handy list of the things you should bike with at all times:

  • Tire repair kit (sold in most bike stores)
  • Multipurpose tool/Swiss Army knife
  • Mini air pump
  • An extra inner tube
  • Bandages, large and small
  • Headache reliever, like iburprofen
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Hand wipes (for cleaning wounds or wiping bike chain grease off your hands)
  • Small flashlight (especially if you are biking home at dusk or in the dark)
  • Emergency card with your name, an emergency contact name and number and any allergies or medical issues you have listed on it
  • Copy of your insurance card
  • Rain slicker (for freak weather changes)
  • And a good general life rule, it never hurts to have a small roll of duct tape and a granola bar.

Prepare a freshen-up plan. You may want to rinse off after a sweaty commute, but if you don’t have access to a shower, you can fake it with a freshen-up kit that you keep at your desk. Include a hairbrush, camping towel, dry shampoo, deodorant, soap and a few of these body wipes. (In the summer, you will thank me…so will your colleagues.) Even if you can wear the same outfit to bike in and work in, consider stashing a spare outfit, undergarments and shoes in your office in case of emergency. And travel compression bags are great for transporting smelly biking gear back home.

Remember the basics. Wear your helmet and sunscreen, and pump your tires every two weeks. And most importantly, enjoy the ride!


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