The snow is gone, the days are longer and the temperature is far above the dreaded 32-degree mark. And that means bike-to-work season has finally arrived.
Every spring, folks ditch their cars and bike to work to save money on rising gas prices, pack in an extra workout, or become more eco-conscious. Aspiring bike commuters take note: It's not as hard or complicated as it sounds.
Meet Ignacio Rivera de Rosales and Daniela Diamente. The Tucson, Arizona, couple knows a thing or two about bike commuting. Diamente is executive director of El Grupo Youth Cycling, a non-profit organization in Tucson, and director of Cyclovia, an annual free event in Tucson, where several miles of roadway are closed to cars. Rivera de Rosales is Pima County Department of Transportation bicycle and pedestrian safety educator and is head coach at El Grupo.
They've honed their bike-commuting skills over the years and have weeded out all of the unnecessary complications to make the activity fun, safe and stress-free.
Rivera de Rosales and Diamente break down how to successfully transition from car to bike in these six easy steps.
Scope Out Your Route
Before hitting the road, investigate the best bike routes. Diamente suggests starting with city, county or state agencies, which typically have resources, such as bike maps.
She also suggests riders seek out off-road trails, an increasingly common option for folks in mid-sized towns and large metro areas. Rails-to-trails, a non-profit organization working to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines, also has a list of routes in each state.
Diamente believes it's important to start to think like a cyclist and not a driver. That road you typically take when driving to work may not be the fastest or safest route on a bike.
"If you're not comfortable riding on a particular road, even if it's the one you use when driving, don't take it," Diamente says. "If you don't feel safe, and it's not enjoyable, you won't want to bike commute."