There is no better time to start commuting by bike than Autumn. The cool Autumn mornings and evenings make for perfect bike riding weather, and the changing colours in the landscape make for stunning scenery on your trips to and from work – all in all, much more interesting than looking at the brake lights of the car in front of you, and a refreshing escape from the fluorescent haze of the train. To help you make the transition on to the bike this Autumn, we’ve put together our top 10 tips for starting and enjoying your commute by bike.
1. Make sure your bike is in good working order – There’s nothing worse than hopping on your bike only torealise you have a flat tyre, or your brakes don’t work. Give your bike a quick once over the night before to make sure everything is tip top for your ride to work. And if you’re unsure, or your bike has been sitting in the shed for a while, go and visit your local bike store for professional advice and servicing.
2. Plan your route – Use Google Maps to help you plan out the best route for your ride to and from work. All bike lanes, on and off road, are marked by a green line on Google Maps. And once you’ve planned your route, do a trial run on the weekend to familiarise yourself with the route.
3. Start with an achievable distance – Set yourself an achievable goal and remember that part-way is OK. If the distance between home and work seems to great initially, perhaps try riding to a train station on your route, or driving part way.
4. Set achievable frequency – Start small and work your way up gradually. Perhaps that is commuting one day per week initially, or commuting to the office one day and home the next.
5. Change into your work clothes at the office – No one wants to be sweaty at work, so ride in your activewear and change when you get to the office. If you don’t want to carry a backpack, try taking your clothes into work the day before so everything is there and ready for you when you arrive.
6. Learn how to change a flat tyre – Don’t get stranded on your ride, changing a flat is easy and there are heaps of videos online that can show you how to change a tyre. Keep a little spares kit under your saddle equipped with a spare tube, tyre levers, and a C02 canister or hand pump.
7. Make sure you’ve got a good lock – Keep your bike safe while you’re at work by making sure you have a good quality lock.
8. Carry your phone – In case up you get lost or need to call for help bring along your mobile. There are also some great apps that can also help you track how many kilometres you ride.
9. Allow yourself a bit of extra time – The first few times you ride to work, give yourself a bit of extra time to get used to the change in routine.
10. Enjoy the ride! – Riding to work should never be a race. Take it easy while you’re starting out and enjoy the fresh air, the scenery and the change in pace.