Bike Everywhere? Easy.
By Sigrid Stensvold, Guest Contributor
May is here, bringing longer days and brightening skies! What to do with all this newfound energy and daylight? Luckily, Bike Everywhere Month is off and cycling! While many have already hit the trails en mass, some of you may be letting logistics curb your enthusiasm. Never fear two-wheeled comrades! Making routine bike travel part of your, well, routine is actually easier than you might think – especially with a little preparation.
Here are some tips to lower the bar and get you biking this month. By the end, your gut reaction to “Bike Everywhere?” will be, “Easy!”
1. Get social!
Join or start a bike challenge if you haven’t already. Whether you have a competitive drive or just enjoy the camaraderie, the encouragement will help get you out the door. Registering will make each mile count — in enjoyment and totally real internet prestige points.
2. What can your employer do for you?
Check out what your employer offers bike commuters and give them some tips. Showers at work? Corporate wellness benefits? Some employers offer perks or prizes for Bike Everywhere Month. Others have year-round benefits. Let work give you more reasons to commute by bike.
3. Pack your bag the night before.
This is the oldest trick in the book – because it works. Find yourself giving up on biking halfway through a manic morning? Pack that pannier, backpack, what-have-you with the things you’ll need for work and let breakfast be your morning priority.
4. Map out your routes.
If you’ve never commuted to work, the gym, or wherever else your life takes you, familiarize yourself with your local bike map and Google Maps’ bike direction feature. This will help minimize stress on your ride and prevent mid-ride phone checking. For some extra fun, check out our map of F5 Bike Everywhere Day celebration stations. On Friday, May 19, stop at one or more stations to pick up a morning snack and maybe even win some swag!
5. Remember your rain gear.
Rain can dampen even the strongest of wills — but Washingtonians don’t let a little precipitation bring them down! Outfit yourself with a rain jacket and pants (available at various price-points) and pack them regardless of what the weatherperson says. You won’t regret it when a sudden shower hits.
6. Trick out your bike – with cargo space.
Pick your poison in the form of backpack, pannier, basket, milk crate — feel free to get creative! Feeling comfortable hauling your things will transform your bike from an instrument of leisure into a zero-emission cargo-carrying machine.
7. Ride your style.
Lycra and bike-specific apparel do not make the cyclist. Wear whatever makes you comfortable. Compression or bike shorts turn skirts and dresses into an airy dream. Jeans, slacks or shorts work too. Figure out what makes you and your nether region happy. That’s all that matters.
8. Get a tune up during odd hours.
Call your bike shop to see when they have time to fix you up. If you can make it during business hours or at lunch you might avoid that early bike season weekend rush.
9. Find a riding buddy!
Prefer to ride with others? Hook up with some of Cascade's free group rides in the Puget Sound region or find your tribe through one of the many bike groups in your area. Biking is better with friends.