Friday, August 18, 2006

Bike Commuting, some comments

I've been bike commuting all year, here's some lessons.

1- Pack your clothes in the backpack the night before.

2- Keep tools, pump, and a spare tube in the backpack

3- Keep a lock at work, locked to the bike rack, so you don't have to carry it back and forth.

4- Cars kill - let them go first at intersections

5- Work on the route, there are some routes athat are direct and bad, some are direct and good, and some are a bit longer but a lot safer. Don't assume the same route is best for both morning and night. Explore.

6- Enthusiasm is good.

7- it's never too cold. Too icy, sure, but not too cold. I ride until it's below -10C.

8- Fenders work! I used to drive on iffy weather days, and it was always ok to ride, but I didn't want a wet butt, now with fenders on a dedicated cheap commuting bike, I can ride every day. I've only gotten really rained on three or four times. The rest of the time, it's just refreshing.

9- Running red lights and stop signs. Only do this when you aren't going to be killed or run over (many people miss this criteria and seem suicidal or idiotic, or both!)

10 - Changing clothes at work, it only takes a minute, and the washroom works fine. No you don't need a shower, you pathetic wuss.

11 - bike path - it you have a bike path, it can make the route to work safer for the nervous rider.

12 - Avoiding cars. They can't see you, and they are trying to run you over. Avoide cars! Cars turn with no signalling. Never ride beside a car through an intersection, ride behind the car.

13 - Passing other cyclists - say Hello! We're all in this together.

14 - At-work parking - If your destination (job, school, etc) doesn't have safe parking for your bike, suggest it whoever is in charge of the maintenance. It is great P.R. for a company internally asd externally to do a little thing for the bike commuters. May traffic-jammed cities encourage employers/building management companies to provide bike commuting facilities to help relieve traffic congestion.

15 - Arguing with bad drivers. DON'T DO IT. They're either angry, evil, mentally unstable, or out to hurt somebody. If you think they're a genuine danger, write down the licence number and go to the police.

16 - a bike just for commuting. I use an old ten speed bike converted with upright handlebars, fenders, and grippy bmx platform pedals so I can ride in regular shoes. The upright handlebars are essential for city riding, so your head is upright an dyou are able to look ahead to see what's coming. If it's a cheap bike, things don't get stolen, if it's a mtn bike or any bike with a adjustable seat clamp, replace the seat clamp with a bolt, so your seat doesn't get stolen. (Many people at work bring their seat inside with them, a bolt woulf be a lot easier!

17 - potholes - Never ride though a puddle, it could be a man eating pothole, particularly in the spring.

18 - Lights and a bell. For 20 bucks your bike and your ride is a lot safer.

19 = another lock. I keep a strong solid lock at work, it's heavy and secure and I don't want to be forever carrying the beast around. I do have a compact self-coiling lock that I do carry in my pack for stops between work and home. I have had bikes stolen, and a lock prevents the opportunity of a free bike to the morally-challenged bike thief.

20 - Convince someone else at the office to ride too! Share the fun!

21 - Yes, it helps to lose weight, WOOHOO!

22 - riding in normal clothes or bike clothes? I generally avoid normal pants, but I don't go the ful jersey route either. Regular pants and bike chains don't mix very well.

23 - high visibility clothes - I have a neon green bike jacket from the Mtn Equipment Co-op (MEC) that they no longer sell (this makes no sense, it's a great safety feature) and frankly, it makes a big improvement in safety.

24 - sorry this one is last - USE A HELMET!!!!!!!


Post a Comment

<< Home