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Bike Commuting: Getting Started

Bicycling can be a fun, dependable and virtually free mode of transportation. Bicycling also burns about 500 calories an hour, so you can commute and stay fit at the same time.

Once you discover the freedom, convenience and fitness benefits of biking to work, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start riding sooner. If your work place is too far to bike, consider riding to transit stations or Park & Ride lots. Enjoy the ride!

Getting Ready
Before starting out, take time to consider the following:

  • What route will you take Use a map to plan a route that avoids freeways and steep hills. Explore the area for alternate routes.
  • What are your worksite’s facilities Does your employer offer bike racks and/or lockers If not, you could try storing your bike in your office. Many employers will help employees use alternatives to driving alone, ask your employer if lockers can be installed or if provisions can be made for bicycles inside your building.
  • Check your equipment. Essential items include a sturdy bike that fits you properly, a helmet, biking gloves and a strong u-shaped lock.
  • Find a Bike Buddy. Friends who ride to work can give you tips on routes, safety and parking. If they live near you, ask if you can ride with them for the first few days while you get used to your route and traffic patterns.
  • Ride the route on your day off. Carry the same amount of clothes and other items as you would on a work day. Is the route too steep Is there ample lighting for riding in the evening Imagine traffic conditions during regular commute hours, and remember that your route will look different after dark.
  • Know in advance where you’ll park. Get clearance to use lockers and parking areas. If you park outside, you may want a cable lock to use with your u-lock. Ask co-workers to be aware of your bike and to interrupt any suspicious behavior.
  • Know the rules of the road. You are recognized as a legal driver of a vehicle. Therefore, drive your bicycle as you would any vehicle. Obey all traffic laws.


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