Important Safety Tips for Commuting by Bike

They roll through the darkness, through fog, wind, rain, and sometimes snow. They work up a sweat by the time most people are working on the morning's first latte. They dart through traffic, slip down alleys, hop curbs and dodge sleepy motorists, all with one goal in mind: to get to work on time.

Hardcore commuters, those brave souls that prefer a bike or in-line skates to motorized transport, prove that getting to work doesn't have to be a drag, and anyone can squeeze a workout into a busy day.

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"I feel great when I get to work. I'm relaxed and refreshed and awake, says Scott Baker, a 42-year-old from Eugene, Oregon, who turns his four-mile commute into a 10 to 14 mile ride on his way to the office most mornings. At night, he rides home in the dark, sometimes without so much as a light.

"I kinda like riding without a light," he confesses, although his penchant for darkness has gotten him into some near scrapes with pedestrians, dogs, and squirrels. "I'm probably not quite as cautious as I should be."

More: 10 Tips From Hard-Core Bike Commuters

Caution is a keyword for commuters braving the elements and the darkness that come with the territory this time of year. Unless the snow is piling up where you live, you can leave the car in the garage if you pay attention to a few simple rules:

? Put a Lid on It: Helmets should never be optional equipment for rollerblading or riding. Period. Plus, there's no avoiding the fact that you are more likely to take a spill during certain times of year. Be prepared.

? Get a Light: A few bucks and a couple AA batteries will get you a 2.5- to 3-watt light that will help other people see you in the gloaming, but that won't cut it if you actually need to see where you are going. Spend the $60 to $75 for a rechargeable unit with a minimum of five watts. Riding trails at night requires even more power. Top-of-the-line lighting can cost $300 for 10 watts or more.

More: Pedal with Purpose: Ride to Work

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