Here are a few tips to help make commuting an enjoyable experience and get you doing it regularly.
- Study your street directory. Don’t just ride the route you normally drive as you will probably be on a road with lots of cars, which is scary and the air is not so clean. Find a direct route that connects quiet back streets and you will have a more pleasant time.
- If you have the time, ride your route on a Sunday to check it out, and work out where you will park your bike. Lock it up to something solid, under cover if possible.
- Pump up those tyres to the maximum pressure written on the sidewall. Firm tyres are the single best way to make your bike faster and easier to ride. Once you decide your bike is for commuting, talk to your bike shop about fast slick tyres. Tyre tread on bikes is only for bush riding.
- Carrying a backpack is OK, but a pannier is better as it doesn’t make you overheat. You don’t need two, as a single pannier is usually enough space. It doesn’t put the bike out of balance.
- Make yourself seen by wearing a high visibility vest ($6 at hardware shop). They are not fashionable but may bring you to the attention of a distracted motorist. Some people also run flashing front and rear lights even during the day.
- Treat your trip to work more like a walk than a run. You are probably not a candidate for next year’s Tour de France so there is no need to race and get sweaty. If you want more intense exercise do some training on the way home.
- If you decide you like riding to work, the money you save on parking will soon pay for a set of good rain gear to install in the bottom of your pannier. You mostly don’t need it, and it lets you ride on a day when the weather looks uncertain. If you do get caught out by rain when its time to head home and don’t feel like riding all the way, you may have an option of taking your bike on a train for some of the journey.
- Many people find cycling a huge time saver, not because its fast but because once you have cycled to your daily destinations there is no need to spend another hour going to the gym.
see also http://newcastlecycleways.org.au/links/new-to-cycling/favorite-commuter-routes