The grandeur and romance of the bike commute is so popular an idea now, that droves of carless romantics are chasing that dream. Still, the cold splash of reality might be lurking around the corner or in a pothole. No problem though as we have a handful of considerations that will make it less likely.
It sounds like a regurgitated high school gym lecture, but making a regular habit of stretching will assist you past many cycling injuries.
There are pre-ride warm ups and post-ride stretches that help transition you from Clark Kent to Superman and back more smoothly than a phone booth ever could.
Wear the right clothes.
There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who dress appropriately and those who never have second dates. In the commuting world, this could translate to some physical ramifications if you are unwise in your outfit choices.
If your commute is smallish, say 10 miles or less, this isn’t as much of a physical concern as your tush and hands can probably deal with that timeframe under pressure. Really though, is there any activity or appointment that can’t benefit from a well-considered ensemblé of clothing options? Padded biking shorts, gel gloves, and a properly-fitting helmet can make a world of hurt go away. Just invest in yoself. You’re worth it.
Make the bike your own
Bicycles were made for man (and woman) to be personal. In fact, it’s almost a relationship like a horse and rider. Make that steed your own!
There are so many ways to customize your metallic travel companion. Here are a few to get you thinking:
Storage. Do you have a place to carry your goods? Rear rack, front basket, or panniers are helpful in extending a ride and giving you more options on items you can take along. They can transform your bike into an SUV without the gas pump blues.
Component upgrade. Most bikes are built with standard sizes and are designed to incorporate a variety of componentry. Toss those Tiagra shifters and get some smooth, silky Ultegra love spread across the bike. Often times, these are pieces you can bring along to the next bike and still enjoy. Maybe you want the chaise lounge of bike seats for your ride around the park. Please do! We won’t judge.
There is so much of our lives that would be better and more enjoyable if we just relaxed more. The same is true of cycling. Yes, you need to be ‘aware of your surroundings’ and be safe. However, it doesn’t mean you need to be tense or rigid. Look for flow lines in your ride. Maybe you could add that little street to the side of your more direct commute just because it is so smooth? How do you handle debris and other obstacles on the road? Look for smooth action and movement.
A quick tip: Sit back a little more. One easy way to work more flow into your ride is to simply shift your weight backward a little. You don’t want the front to be so light that you lose grip, of course. Just pivot your torso a little rearward and look ahead. So relaxing!
“If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail"
There are many would be usurpers of your peaceable commute through life and to work. It’s a good idea to be ready for some of them.
“Pfffssssssss”. The number one contributor to detoured ride is flat tires. Simply said, the standard tire/tube combo is the main weak point of the bicycle. You should always have a repair kit with you and consider upgrading to either thicker tubes or simply swapping out for Tannus Airless tires to remove the issue altogether.
Poncho or rain cape. Two schools of thought: Simple, cheap, sorta works for 20% of your body vs simple, less cheap, works for 80% of your body. A Poncho is so simple and works very well – when you are standing still. The rain cape was designed to overcome the movement issues and still offers the size and simplicity. Having one of them onboard is a no-brainer as either will be compact enough to store practically anywhere and will keep at least a percentage of your body isolated from water - whether from the clouds above (mostly) or the puddles always found by car tires (hmmm...).
Change of clothes. You may find yourself surrounded by inclement weather with no alternative, but to press forward. A change of clothes will insure against an uncomfortable day waiting for the dampness and the smell to go away. Got backpack?
Cell phone. While this seems like ‘Duh. Always have it, bruh’ there are many times when it’s not as easy to have on your person. Sticking a phone in a backpack, on the bike or in some container will make sure you have a lifeline if all other lifelines go out.
Bonus: Give yourself time
Not only is cycling one of the best fitness options out there, it is also a great way to release stress; To sanitize the brain from all of the thoughts and emotions that attach like leeches. The key though is to make sure the bike is not part of the problem. One way to help that is to give yourself plenty of time to get wherever you need to be.
If you are like me, you tend to schedule everything right up to the nose with no wiggle room. It comes down to planning and priority. An extra 15 minutes for the ride will give you a more leisurely pace and time to think about life and how good it is that you can enjoy it.
What ideas do you have to make commuting the best thing since love and chocolate? Leave us your thoughts below!