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spring commuting

20 April, 2011

aaahh, pedaling pushing in the blooms under the sun, spring is the season i love riding in the most. a lot of people i know want to get into the habit of commuting by bike but are worried about some of the challenges of commuting. commuting by bike is easy but some days can be more challenging than others. it takes time getting used to cycling as your sole source of transportation. when taking up two wheels to get to each of your destinations, take the effort to plan a route, get comfortable with your bike, and build confidence to commute under any circumstance. as a way to encourage your efforts into commuting, here are a few tips to build your confidence on two wheels.

-ride at a leisurely pace but give yourself plenty of time on bike rather than pretending your riding in the tour de france. no need to keep up with the lycra clan, you'll look and feel more at ease and arrive at your destination composed and sweat patch free.
- if you've been keeping your bike locked up through the winter be sure to get into the habit of riding again and build your stamina by riding short routes to your local cafe or while you run errands.
- if your not comfortable commuting to work all the way, ride to your nearest train station or bus stop, lock your bike up, and ride public transit the rest of the way.
-when you're ready to ride all the way to work, google map you route and find a friendly and quiet route.
- when you're ready to take on the challenge of riding to work, pick a day where you can explore your route, get to know you environment, give yourself plenty of time to get familiar with the neighborhood.
-when you feel like you've mastered your route, get into the habit of riding daily, on your errands, to the cafe, the bookshop or library, this will help you to build your level of stamina and enjoy the fresh air and sun.
- don't feel like you have to cycle everyday. it can be challenging, especially when your feeling particularly exhausted. give yourself time to build up your level of fitness in commuting.
-do not feel you have to cycle when you have the mother of all hangovers, your body is aching or cramping, its windy or chucking down with rain or both, you're wearing a pencil skirt and 6 inch heels and have just spent an hour on your hair for a big meeting or date, or you are reading a particularly good book and quite fancy a bus journey. go at your own pace.
- remember to enjoy your commute, build a little ritual route for yourself so that you can enjoy your commute more. one of my favorite commute rituals is riding through the lake to a cafe between my commute, gives me time to wake up and feel alive.
- remember to go at your own pace, it takes time getting used to.

hope this helps you into your future commute by bike. just remember to enjoy the ride.

Emily Billings said...

Dear City Girl,
I really enjoy your blog and you have helped motivate me in my bicycling. I live in Texas and have been thinking of joining the commuting to work by bicycle. Do you have any preferences or recommendations as I should look for a good commute bicycle?


citygirlrides said...

emily, i do have some recommendations! if you live in a flat area you won't need too many gears on your bike, three gears are enough, but if you live in an area with lots of hills like here in sf then you'll need about 5-8 gears to make pedaling easier. if your looking for a good commute bike i'd go for a road bike, a mixte, or a townie. i really love mixte's, they are step through frames designed for women and the city roads. if your interested in this one i would go to my local bike shop and get measured for a frame size, from there you can look online or in your bike shop. just remember mixte frames and do a little research before your purchase. email me if you need a little more guiding, i'm happy to help you... citygirlrides@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Great post! I just started commuting from my Brooklyn apt to my Manhattan office and it's such a nice change of pace. These tips seem right on. When I'm sweating up and over the Manhattan Bridge I have to remind myself to take in the view. But on the flats I actually like getting passed: I actually get a thrill from seeing a long line of bicyclists ahead of me. It's amazing to find a sport that actually seems to shut off my tendency to compete.

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