That’s right, it’s the perfect week to take your workout to the streets. It’s “Bike To Work” Week!

 

May is National Bike Month, & in 2018, May 14 to 18 is Bike to Work Week, wrapping up with another self-explanatory event, Bike to Work Day, on Friday, May 18. Proponents of commuting by bicycle point out that more than half the U.S. population lives within five miles of where they work. So basically there’s a 50-50 chance you have no good excuse for not participating.

Then again, data cited recently by FiveThirtyEight pointed out that 51% of Americans say they never ride bikes, & 6% don’t even know how to ride bikes. Folks in the Northeast are particularly likely to be clueless on bikes—sadly, 12% say they don’t know how to ride, compared with just 3% in Midwest.

 

So, in the spirit of Bike to Work Week, we’re passing along a few tips for riders pedaling along for the first time.

Don’t get overwhelmed with tons of gear. It’s a good idea for anyone who rides a bike to know how to patch a tire. But let’s be honest: If you get a flat on your way to or from work, you’re going to whip out your phone & call somebody & beg to get picked up. Or you’ll order an Uber ride or hook up with the nearest public transportation option. The point is that it’s not necessary to get bogged down loading up with gear in anticipation of every potential pitfall during a cycling commute. Yes, it’s wise to have a patch kit, multi-tool, pump, & spare tube—which don’t take up much space—any time you’re on a bike. But above all, don’t use your lack of fancy gear as the excuse you’re not pedaling to work.

 

Forget cycling apparel. Wear a helmet. Other than that, no other bikewear is necessary, assuming your commute isn’t 30 miles of windy hills—& assuming you don’t have to wear a skirt or a suit-&-tie at work.

 

Plot the most sensible route. If your bicycling commute route isn’t obvious, do a little research. The shortest ride by distance is not necessarily the easiest or smartest way to go. Map My Ride will not only find bike-friendly options, it’ll detail elevation changes on any given route. Google Maps has a bicycling route search option, too.

 

Scope out the basics ahead of time. Get a good lock & know where you’re going to stash your bike during the work day. Figure out the options for grabbing a shower, or at least washing up after the commute—if this is your first-ever time riding to work, you’ll probably be sweatier than you imagine. Perhaps your gym is nearby, or there are showers in the office. Check the weather too. Riding in the rain can be misery. If you get soaked on your first bike commute, it may wind up being your last bike commute.