Ditch the fumes and traffic of the usual rat race—it's National Bike to Work Day. We realize you're probably already at work, which means you've already made a decision in regards to your mode of transit. But there's no reason you can't take today as inspiration to start your cycle commute ASAP.
To help you hit the ground pedaling, BACKPACKER's staffers have offered a selection of tips and tricks, plus reasons why biking to work rules their faces. Why should you listen to them? Because they log thousands of miles a year biking to work (which is easier, admittedly, in Boulder than some other cities because of our stellar system of bike paths).
Let's get rolling:
Kristin Hostetter, Gear Editor
I have been biking to the yoga studio at least 4 days/week. It's only a couple miles, but one of the best parts is that there's a big uphill on the way there (great for testing wicking ability of base layers and breathability of shells), and a big downhill on the way home (great for testing wind resistance, and just plain fun!).
Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan, Assistant Editor
You don't need to invest in pricey cycling clothes or equipment, even in the cold. I make it happen, even in January, by bundling up in a hat, lightweight puffy coat (sometimes a softshell over that, when it's really
cold), and big oven-mitt style mittens.
If your workplace doesn't have a shower facility, check out nearby gyms or other bike-friendly places to clean up. Chicago, for example, has an awesome locker room and secure bike "parking lot" right in the Loop for a monthly or annual membership fee. (http://www.chicagobikestation.com/)
Take extreme care near prairie dogs. They WILL try to kamikaze-crash you.
JoAnn Hopkins, Office Manager
I love to ride because I get the most gorgeous view on the way to work. I head west out of Longmont, CO and get the "lake effect": big white birds swimming on a beautiful lake and awesome snowcapped mountain views.
My tips are WEAR a HELMET, follow the rules of the road; the same rules apply to cyclists as automobiles. Get out as often as you can—it's a great way to start and end your day.
Jonathan Dorn, Editor-in-Chief
The best thing about biking to work is it's a stress-free and scenic 20 minutes with no interruptions to
Stick to it—as with cold and altitude, time brings acclimatization and makes what seems hard at first very routine within a couple weeks. I'm at the point where it's so routine that I hardly think of getting in my car even when I'm not riding to work.
Shannon Davis, Associate Editor
When I do it, I love that it kills several birds with one stone: You buy less gas, you get in shape, and you clear your head all at the same time. Take that, birds!
Tracy Ross, Senior Editor
I love how all the drivers in traffic are grimacing like they have poop in their underwear and all the bikers are smiling like they just won the lottery. That's incentive enough, don't you think?
Genny Wright Fullerton, Senior Associate Photo Editor
Get a light bike so it’s easier to carry up and down the stairs into your 3rd floor apartment every day.
Don’t forget your bike lock so you can still stop and do errands on you way home. (Learned that by forgetting my lock multiple times and having to go home to get it before picking up groceries, even though I pass the grocery store on the way home.)
I leave my gas tank empty, so I’ll ride more.
Dress warmly enough for the ride. When it’s a fun ride, I want to ride again the next day, but if I suffer in the cold the whole way to work it takes me awhile to want to do it again.
I ride to work by elephant, usually, but I'm switching to a bike soon because of the huuuuge carbon footprint—not to mention the real footprints. Those cost a lot to fix.