We get it. Getting on your bike every day of the week can sound a little daunting. But making cycling a daily habit isn’t as difficult as you might think. Here are seven tips from MapMyRide to help you ride more often, be healthy and, yes, promote cycling culture on roads dominated by cars.
1. Use Your Bike for Errands
Riding a bike doesn’t always have to be about getting in a workout. Sometimes, it’s the short trips around town running errands that can end up paying big dividends to your health and the environment. It’s also a good way to make your cycling a little less serious and remind yourself that being on the bike is about having fun and destressing.
How to start: At least twice per week, ride your bike to run an errand for which you’d normally drive. Wear regular clothes, use an everyday bike and have fun.
2. Commute to Work
If you’re one of those people who finds it hard to make time for a workout, commuting to (and from) work is the way to go. While it will take plenty of discipline and some fine-tuning of your routine, commuting by bike will boost your fitness and make you more productive at work. You’ll also save a ton of money on gas and boost your mental well-being.
How to start: Plan to ride to or from work 2–3 days on a given week. Get a backpack or saddlebags, or leave a change of clothes at work on the days you drive. Plan a good route with low traffic, and prepare to be amazed at how good you feel walking through the doors at the office.
3. Try New Routes
If you plan to making riding every day a long-term plan, you’ll need to have several tried-and-true routes at your disposal. Whether it’s a variety of training routes or several alternative ways to get to the office in the morning, mixing up your routine will help keep you mentally fresh and avoid the slog of the same old rides. Having routes of varying lengths will also help you when you’re short on time and just need to get home.
How to start: Use the MapMyRide route creator, or look for commonly used routes or bike paths in your area.
4. Ride with Others
Even the most dedicated of cyclists is going to have days when it’s hard to get out the door. Having a training partner is a good way to ensure accountability and give you that extra little nudge you need to get out of bed. For a more casual option, ride with your kids, friends, spouse or anyone else you can find who owns a bike.
How to start: Once or twice a week, join a group ride, ride with a training partner or take an impromptu ride with a friend or family member. Getting others to ride more often can be more rewarding than you might think.
5. Have the Right Gear
The summer heat, rainy weather and freezing temperatures are all excellent excuses not to get out on the bike. You can combat these obstacles by having the right gear for the job. You’ll be surprised how a summer-specific jersey or high-quality rain jacket and fenders can make cycling in less-than-ideal conditions more enjoyable.
How to start: Depending on where you live, make an effort to buy cycling gear that will help you enjoy the conditions you’ll face most often. Each season, buy at least one item that will make your cycling life easier to endure until your arsenal is complete. Hint: If you’re in Portland, Ore., take that advice about the rain jacket and fenders.
6. Get Out Early
Riding in the morning is an excellent way to jump-start your day. The problem, of course, is forcing yourself out the door before the sun has come up. To make morning rides a habit, you’ll need to dial in your routine and adopt a get-up-and-go attitude. Too much thinking or hitting the snooze button will inevitably result in another day of not riding your bike.
How to start: Don’t hit the snooze button, grab a quick bite like a granola bar and program your coffeepot. The key is getting out the door fast, so have all your gear laid out and your bike ready to go the night before.
7. Embrace the Indoor Trainer
For those days when every other option ends in failure (or there just happens to be a blizzard outside), the indoor trainer can be your saving grace. It’s a fast, easy way to get in a quality workout — and you won’t even have to leave your house.
How to start: On the days when you haven’t found time to ride, hop on the indoor trainer instead of plopping down on the couch to watch TV. Those 30-minute rides indoors will add up by the end of the month.