Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Surviving the bike commute

I've been using my bike as my primary source of transportation for 3 days now. We've had thunderstorms both days. Remarkably, it's not rained on me yet! Craziness! In theory biking to work and getting ready at work should take less time than getting ready at home and driving to work.  I tend to putz around a lot in the mornings.  I'm hoping that eventually I can get faster on the bike and get my commute down to about 15 minutes and get my locker room routine down to 30 minutes. In just 3 days I've already experienced what seem to end up on all the "tips for bike commuting" types of posts. These survival tips are nothing new, but good to know I fit the commuter norm for experiences.

1.Always wear a helmet and eye protection. Helmet should be self-explanatory. Eye'd be surprised how much crap gets spit up at your eyes and a bug in the eye while riding a bike is just a bad bad situation. Wear eye-protection.

2. Prepare ahead. If I'm going to get my routine down to about 45 minutes, it's going to take more prep. I'm not a big fan of mornings and any commuter prep that happens in the morning is going to be inefficient. I really have to get good at packing clothes, packing my lunch, and having my bags ready to rock and roll before I go to sleep. Thankfully I have access to showers at work and they provide shampoo, conditioner and body wash. They also provide towels. That really cuts down on what I need to pack!

3. Figure out how to deal with helmet hair. For me it's not so much helmet hair as it is wet, unstyled hair. The locker room is hot and humid and my hair is taking forever to dry. I think a lot of these ideas from Refinery 29 would work!
This girl makes wearing a helmet look so glamorous! I assure you that I just look like a goof ball on wheels.
4. Be prepared for a flat tire. Um...I'm pretty sure I could figure it out again, but I haven't changed a bike tire since undergrad. I'm not too worried since my commute is only about 3.5 miles. I could probably walk the rest of the way to work in about the same time I could change a flat tire. Having a spare tire and repair kit would make biking home a possibility though. Maybe I should prioritize this tip.

5. Get good equipment. I have some Ortlieb Racktime Doubleit pannier bags. I got them super cheap on and got a pannier rack too. The price was worth it just to get the pannier rack. I'm not sure I really like the bags though. I like pannier bags better than a backpack. My bags are connected in the middle and there's no shoulder strap. They are awkward to carry down the hall in the apartment and at work. They do fit everything I need though and one side has a rain cover. Handy on these days that threaten me with down pours!

From a health perspective, I'm getting in about 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity just from the commute! It's not zapping my energy at all, so once I'm cleared to run again I should be able to keep up my usual routine. I kind of hope that the bike commute will become a sustainable habit in the next couple of car-free weeks.

Here's a post from Leo over at zenhabits. He links to several useful posts on bike commuting if you're interested.

Follow my bike commute fun board on Pinterest!

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