There is also a large segment of Montague folding bike owners who also rely on their bike to get to and from work every day (yours truly included) and/or to do their everyday errands. I haven’t been commuting nearly as long as others in the office who commute by bike, but in the time that I have been commuting by bike I’ve learned a few lessons. I wanted to share a few and hopefully help you feel more comfortable about starting to commute, or improve your commuting experience.
We’ve had such a nice string of weather in Boston that the usual commuting attire of shorts and a short sleeve short have become commonplace recently. As anyone from New England will attest though, there’s a common saying “if you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a minute, it will change.” Yesterday was forecast to be clear, sunny and dry which made for a great commute in. However, by 6pm the showers and clouds had rolled in making for a damp commute home without rain gear. Thankfully the rain wasn’t heavy. Lesson: Always be prepared by leaving rain gear at your office or carrying something compact you can keep in your backpack.
Pretend your a car – but on two wheels and with 1 person power:
What I mean by this is to follow your local cycling laws. In many states cyclists have the same road privileges as cars, and, must also follow the same rules. It may be seem like no big deal to roll through that red light or to not yield and assume that on-coming car sees you. My advice though, “drive” defensively and always assume that car doesn’t see you. Your body and your bike will appreciate it.
Take care of your ride
Cars have their oil changed every few thousand miles or every few months. Try to have a similar mindset and have a regular maintenance schedule for your bike. A few months is too long but there are daily, weekly and monthly things
you should get in the habit of doing to extend the life of your bike and components.
It’s tough to hang fuzzy dice off your rear view mirror on a bike but there are plenty of practical accessories that will make your commuting experience more enjoyable and safer. Some of the basics are:
- Lights – ideally a front light for both visibility and to see if you get stuck (or enjoy!) riding at night, and a rear light for visibility
- Fenders – a front fender will help keep your legs and feet dry (or less wet) and a rear fender will keep your backside dry.
- Racks – depending on how long your commute, or what kind of errands you plan to use your bike for, there is everything from a simple rear rack with bungie cords to put your light items on, to full cargo packs that you could live out of for months.
I know there are more experienced commuters who can add value in the comments by sharing their experience and feedback. What are the biggest lessons and tips from your commuting experience?