Biking to work can be a bit more complicated than hopping in your car and driving or taking the bus. But, it might be simpler and quicker than you think. If you’ve been curious about riding your bike to work, but keep coming up with excuses, check out these five fixes:
PROBLEM #1: WORK IS TOO FAR AWAY
Whether you haven’t ridden your bike in a while or you’re dealing with a 30-mile one-way commute, distance can sometimes be a problem depending on your level of fitness. But if you really want to begin biking to work, you don’t have to let distance become a factor you can’t overcome. In fact, it’ll give you a goal you can eventually work toward as your fitness improves.
Solution: Here are three fixes to the distance dilemma:
- Drive part of the way and bike the rest. Find a park or ride-share lot where you can park your car during the day that is a reasonable distance from the office. If you have to drop your kids off at school and it’s closer to your job than your home, considering leaving your car there and biking the rest of the way.
- Consider an electric assist bike. While you’ll still have to pedal, an electric assist helps you cover more distance than you would be able to alone and helps you get to work a bit faster, too.
- Use a combination of public transportation and cycling. While it will take more planning, hoping on a train or bus part of the way can be a reasonable solution depending on where you live.
PROBLEM #2: THERE’S NO SAFE PLACE TO PARK MY NICE ROAD BIKE
Though you’ll definitely save money in the long run by biking to work instead of driving, cycling is still an expensive hobby. Finding a safe place to store your bike and gear while you work is a problem that can be a deal breaker if you let it.
Solution: If you have a less-expensive bike, ride that to work instead. Buy a good bike lock to detract thieves, and park your bike in a highly visible area. If riding an older bike and parking outside isn’t an option, let your boss know your problem and see if it’s possible to store your bike in a closet or someplace else during the day that’s out of the way. You can also look for a nearby bike storage facility if you live in a major city or ask a local bike shop if there’s any way you could keep your bike there for a small fee.
PROBLEM #3: I DON’T FEEL SAFE RIDING IN TRAFFIC
Busy roads and routes without bike lanes can make you feel like you’re in danger during your commute. While trying different routes and wearing hi-visibility gear is an option you should look into, it isn’t always a solution.
Solution: If you have a flexible work schedule, see if you can get to work a bit earlier than your co-workers. Leaving for work at 6 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. allows you to commute during non-peak traffic hours and helps you feel safer and free from having to battle for road space with other cars. Also, don’t be afraid to claim your space on the road to protect yourself. Sometimes riding too far to the edge when there’s no bike lane to let other cars squeeze by can actually put you in more danger. Always ride at a safe speed, use hand signals and work on your bike handling to make yourself as safe and visible as possible.
READ MORE > A CYCLIST’S LOVE LETTER TO BIKE COMMUTING
PROBLEM #4: THERE AREN’T ANY SHOWERS AT WORK
Helmet hair and sweat can be a real problem for commuters. If you don’t have shower facilities, looking presentable after your morning commute might seem pretty impossible.
Solution: Commuting doesn’t have to turn into an interval session. Take your time and ride at a moderate speed so you aren’t a sweaty mess by the time you arrive. Clean up in the restroom with a wash rag or baby wipes. If you’re dealing with a long commute, see if there is a nearby gym where you could shower and store your gear in a locker.
READ MORE > 6 HELMET HAIR FIXES FROM THE PROS
PROBLEM #5: I HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF TO CARRY
Laptops, work clothes, food and grooming supplies can be real nightmare to lug around. Luckily you do have a few options so you won’t have to break your back on the way to work.
Solution: If this problem feels unsolvable, try driving to work and biking home a few days a week so you won’t have to carry anything. If you are interested in a solution for biking to work, try to bring several work outfits to the office and leave food in the office kitchen on the days you drive to the office, which cuts down on how much you need to carry. For the things you do need to bring, try a bike rack instead of a backpack. While it adds weight, it’ll improve your comfort and make you less sweaty — especially during the summer months. Another option for clothing is to find a nearby dry cleaners that’s a walkable distance. Drop your dirty work clothes off during lunch and pick them up in the morning when you need a clean, pressed outfit before heading into the office.