With gas prices rising—the states will probably never see it below three dollars a gallon again—it's time to get creative. Let me introduce you to the triathletes' and cyclists' secret weapon: the bike.The fact is, bikes are a lot cheaper to buy, and maintain, than cars. Plus riding bikes is good for your health.
Before you wheel your way to the office, however, take a look at these basic dos and do nots of commuting by bike.
DO wear a helmet. Safety first!
DO NOT wear your aero helmet. It doesn't mesh with the hipster images bike commuters are after. Save it for the races where time really matters.
DO check with your significant other to make sure adding extra time to your commute will fit with the home front.
DO NOT assume your spouse will pick the kids on "your day" just because you left the house on your bike. Communicate schedules and expectations so no one gets left on the curb.
DO check the weather forecast. It's not always accurate, but it gives you a good idea whether or not you need to drive or bring rain gear.
DO NOT be afraid to call for a ride if you are trying to get home and storms are brewing. You're better safe than sorry.
DO bring ID. Even if it's a sticky note stuffed in your bike shorts. Include your name and an emergency contact number.
DO NOT use an out of date ID.
DO pack the appropriate gear—clothes for the work day, nutrition and fluids (whether it be Gatorade, Hammer Nutrition, GU products or PUSH Endurance, work keys. What about your laptop? Plan ahead and leave it at work the day before if you ride in the morning. Last thing you will want to do is turn around and ride home to get what you forgot, and then drive back to work because, well, now you're late.
DO NOT pack the wrong gear. Black and tan work socks? Jeans instead of dockers? Forgot your work shoes and have to wear tennis shoes to the office? Been there, done that. Plan ahead.
DO pick a safe bike route away from busy roads.
DO NOT ride the highway shoulder.
DO make sure you have someplace to clean up. Hopefully someplace with a shower, if you are lucky.
DO NOT change in your cube and wash your hair in the office sink.
DO treat this like a training ride. Make sure you have your lights, nutrition and spare tubes with you.
DO NOT think that because you are "just" riding to work it's no big deal. Riding on the roads with cars is always dangerous. You still have to keep your head on a swivel. Two miles or 50, safety is just as important when you're riding 2 miles as when you're riding 50.
Kansas City Endurance Sports Examiner Ryan Falkenrath is a married father of one (soon to be two), owner of three dogs and trying to balance life, work and multisport.
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