Between the competing pressures of work, family, friends, and other responsibilities, finding the time to hop in the saddle each day can be a struggle for many people. While recreational and sport cycling is amazing and comes with its own wealth of benefits, there’s a different kind of cycling that can get you on a bike every day with ease. Transportation cycling, or everyday cycling as we like to call it, makes riding bikes every day a breeze. Rather than having to make time for it, everyday cycling is the facilitator that allows you to make time for everything else.
So here are a few tips for anyone looking to make biking not just a sport, a hobby, or a weekend thing, but a regular feature of their everyday routine.
Ride to Work
Bike commuting is one of the easiest ways to integrate cycling into a busy work week. On top of enabling you to breeze past rush hour traffic and clear your head on the way to and from work, bike commuting also means you never have to go out of your way to get a ride in.
If bike commuting is out of the question for whatever reason, it doesn’t mean you have to hang up your wheels for the work week. You leave the house for other reasons don’t you? Using your bike to pick up groceries and make short trips around the neighborhood is not only a great way to reduce your emissions and integrate a little exercise into your errands, but in most cases is far more convenient than any other form of transportation anyway.
Say goodbye to carrying your groceries on public transit, or repeatedly looking for parking as you make frequent stops. Running errands by bike enables you to easily nip around the neighborhood and stop whenever you need to – parking is only as difficult as hopping off and finding a pole to lock up to. You can carry a surprisingly large amount of cargo on a standard bicycle with a rack, but if you need to do some heavy lifting, cargo bikes or detachable trailers are a great option to maximize your hauling power. If the Dutch can carry their couches by bike, you can probably pick up a week’s worth of groceries.
A common misconception about cycling is that you need to be an athlete, or that you need special clothes to ride in. But just as you wouldn’t get geared up in spandex and sneakers to walk to the corner store, you don’t need to get geared up to bike there either.
Hopping onto your bike in your normal, everyday clothes is a great way to remind yourself that riding a bike is just a normal, everyday activity. You don’t have to pack hydration tablets, buy clip-in shoes, or change into your lycra if you’re just cruising over to the park on a sunny day. Riding in regular clothes is also a good reminder to take things slow. Life isn’t a race, no need to turn on your speedometer and go Tour de France-ing through the neighborhood. When you slow down and enjoy the scenery, you’ll fall in love with cycling in a whole new way, and it quickly becomes not just something you try to do every day, but something you need to do every day.
Embrace the weather
One of the most common excuses we hear from occasional riders for why they don’t cycle more often is the weather. “I’d love to commute all year but it’s too rainy/ snowy/ hot/ windy.” Sure, there are days when anyone would be forgiven from not wanting to hop into the saddle. Torrential downpours, snowstorms, heat waves, tornados – there will always be days when it makes sense to leave the bike at home, or just stay at home yourself.
But the overwhelming majority of days in any given year, you can ride a bike. Even though we’ve spent decades pretending we’re immune to the climate by barricading ourselves into our homes, cars, and offices, the fact of the matter is that the weather is still there, doing it’s thing, whether we like or not. So rather than hide from the weather, it’s time we learned to embrace it.
It’s raining out? Guess you’re going to get wet. Hot and balmy? Time to get sweaty. Cold and snowing? Put some warm clothes on and get out there, Frosty.
There are a number of steps you can take to make sure your ride is as safe and comfortable as it can be in any kind of weather, but the first hurdle to overcome is simply deciding to do it. Check out our guides to riding in the rain, and riding through the winter, and riding in the heat for gear recommendations, safety tips, and general encouragement.
Bring your friends along
Riding your bike to work and on your errands is healthy, convenient, and affordable, but riding your bike around with your friends and family is the real game changer. There’s nothing quite like a slow evening cruise around town with pals or a weekend bicycle adventure to the outskirts of the city to show you just how much joy cycling can bring to your life.
If you’re the odd one out in your community for riding a bike, introducing your friends to cycling can be a slow process. But once you have even a friend or two on board, riding for transportation becomes that much easier. Cycling tends to produce a ripple effect through social groups. Once one person is into it and can convince another two or three people to hop on board, suddenly those 3 convince another three friends, and the next thing you know you have a biking community.
Once biking moves beyond a fringe hobby to become an integral feature of your social life, “How are we going to get there?” tends to disappear from the planning process when you’re meeting up with friends. You’re biking there, of course.
Now we know this isn’t feasible for everyone, but for many people – especially in denser urban settings – car ownership is really not as necessary as we’ve been led to believe. Setting a goal to replace a few car trips per week with a bike trip is a great starting point for building a bike lifestyle. But by far the easiest, most effective way to reduce your miles driven and increase your miles ridden is to straight up sell your car. Once you no longer own a car, it becomes incredibly simple – mindless even – to bike everywhere you need to go.
Suddenly a long trip across town where you normally would have driven becomes a nice long bike ride. Going to pick up a few cases of beer or a coffee table becomes a creative adventure in figuring out the best way to haul it all home by bike. Convincing your friends to go for a ride with you becomes that much easier, because you definitely can’t offer to pick them up. Being car free, while certainly an adjustment in the beginning, forces you to realize just how much you’re capable of doing with your own body and a bicycle, and just how gratifying that process can be.
Bonus? All that money you’ll save on gas and insurance (not to mention the money from the car sale itself) can go towards the purchase of a pretty sweet bike and some gear – even a cargo bike or an e-bike if your lifestyle demands it.
Get your FREE copy of our new guide: Momentum Mag's Bike to Work Guide
Bike commuting is practical, liberating, and a great way to integrate fresh air and exercise into your daily routine. In this guide we outline the major benefits of bike commuting, go over the equipment you’ll want, provide solutions to any concerns, and offer advice on route planning and other practicalities.
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