How to Bike to Work

A guide to biking to work for first-time cycle commuters and dedicated cyclists alike.

Bike To Work Bike Commuting

Photo by Sandra

Have you discovered the sheer joy of biking to work? Not only will you beat congestion, save time, and save money on parking, but you will also arrive at work feeling happier, healthier, and ready to tackle your day. Here are a few simple tips on how to bike to work that will help you get started.

WHAT BIKE DO I NEED?

Honestly, any bike will do as long as it is in good working order. But to make your bike commute as comfortable as possible in any road and weather conditions, you will want to find an upright or commuter bike that is outfitted with fenders, racks or baskets, and lights. Make sure you have a secure lock so that your bike is waiting for you where you left it.

How do I carry stuff on a bike?

If your bike has a rack, you can choose a pannier and let the bike do all of the heavy lifting for you. Opt for a cycling backpack if you don’t have a rack or would prefer to carry things on your back.

Where do I park my bike?

Many businesses now offer secure bike parking for their employees. If they don’t, ask if you are allowed to bring your bike inside your workplace for safekeeping. There is also a growing list of great folding bike options for commuters who lack space at home or would like to bring their bike inside when they bike to work. Simply fold the bike up and store it right under your desk!

But how do I actually bike to work?

Finding a safe and pleasant route is key to enjoying your ride to work. Using your city’s map of local bike routes, try your route to work on a leisurely weekend so that you know the length of your ride beforehand in order to eliminate the stress of making it on time come Monday morning. Sticking to bike lanes whenever possible will make biking to work all the more enjoyable.

What if it’s raining?

If you want to try it, rain capes are a great choice for keeping you dry in the rain, as are waterproof packs and panniers. More complete rain gear such as rain jackets and pants, gloves, and goggles are an option for long commutes in seriously inclement weather, but if the rain is too intimidating, it’s okay not to ride.

Will I get sweaty?

If you ride at a moderate pace, it’s not really hot out, and you don’t have too many hills to face, you can easily bike to work without getting sweaty.

What if I have a long ride and/ or lots of hills?

A long or hilly commute by bike is going to entail additional adjustments to your regular routine. The distance alone will increase the chances of needing additional grooming at your destination. Luckily, good gear can make the transition smoother. Large panniers will provide the “trunk space” you need to carry work clothes with you. Look for a nearby gym to shower at if your workplace lacks facilities. Or consider an e-bike that will add a little oomph to your ride and eliminate the possibility of sweating.


This content was originally published in 2014 and has been updated. 

 

6 Comments

  • Tricia

    Keeping all my bicycle “gear” with my bike has really helped make biking easier: First, I equipped my vintage cruiser with a front basket for my purse and bike lock and 2 rear fold-out baskets to carry groceries, library books, gym clothes, etc. I also modified the clasps that hold my lights so that it’s hard for them to be stolen. Now I don’t have to remove them every time I leave my bicycle. Finally, I picked up a skirt weight – so that I don’t flash everyone when wearing a skirt or dress – and a stylish trench raincoat in bright cherry red to keep me dry and visible on rainy days.

  • Carolyn

    I would love to ride a bike to work unfortunately I live in rural America. You probably wonder why that would stop me when my distance would be under 10 miles. Dangerous roads with coal truck drivers flying over hills and speeding locals that are texting and driving. Not enough law enforcement to be everywhere needed at 7:30am and after 5pm. Bike paths would be only a dream in this rural behind the times area. People are more concerned about potholes in the roads which I can’t blame them.

  • My overall mileage a day is about 18-20miles. 6 miles to the train station, 1 mile to work from the station, and a few one milers here and there, 6 miles to go home and maybe a miler or two after for errands or dinner out nearby. I started taking daily photos of my outfits too to get an idea of what I wear during my commute. The only thing I carry in my backpack are my essentials: minitool, spare tube, patch kit, 15mm hex wrench tool, pedro tire levers, mini pump that all fit in a makeup sized pouch, then cable, mini u-lock, lights (front and rear) wallet, and a water bottle and still have plenty of bag space if I need to pick up something. I always check wundermap or the US National Weather Service FB page for weather updates and if it rains, I use a well compacted poncho.

  • Linda Coburn

    I used to bike to work only once in awhile because no matter the weather I ended up being sweaty and disheveled by the time I arrived. After I purchased a Pedego electric bike, I started riding to work most days. With the electric assist, I arrive at work just as cute as when I left the house (you’ll just have to take my word for that) and still smelling shower fresh. If I choose to pedal on the way home for exercise, that’s a bonus. I love riding to work.

  • Ian L

    I spent ages trying to find a rain cape for use on my daily commute with little luck. Then one day it hit me, and I searched for poncho instead. Blam. So many choices. Now I have two excellent ponchos: one for mild showers and one (a Hunters Poncho) which is great even in cloud burst torrential downpours.

    • I love commuting by bicycle. I’m naturally quick to sweat so I wear athletic clothes for the ride and carry work clothes in my backpack. I also keep a stash of work shoes and an extra set of clothes in a drawer at my desk in case I forget any of the essentials in my backpack.

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