Take Two Wheels Instead of Four
If you live and work only a few miles apart, then there is no reason you should spend hours sitting in your car every week. If you have considered taking your commute to two wheels, give it a shot! Biking to work will get you out of your car; the daily exercise will lower your stress, and the gas savings will fatten your wallet. But before you hop on your bike, consider the following:
First things first, make sure you have a helmet. Even the most experienced riders have accidents, so there is no excuse not to protect your noggin. So, before you hit the road, invest in a helmet that fits securely and meets national standards.
Next, make sure your bike fits you properly. Riding on a bike that is too big or too small can be very dangerous. Stand over your bicycle. There should be 1 to 2 inches between you and the top bar. The seat should be level front to back and the seat height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended.
When you’re riding, make sure you can easily be seen by drivers on the road. Always wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors along with something that reflects light, such as reflective tape or flashing lights. Remember, just because you can see a driver doesn’t mean the driver can see you.
Know the rules of the road
Understand the state bicycle laws and road etiquette before you start bike commuting. Some important laws to remember include:
- Ride on the road, not the sidewalk.
- Ride in the same direction as traffic.
- Ride your bike as close to the right side of the road as possible except:
- When turning left
- When the lane is too narrow to share safely with a motor vehicle
- When traveling at the same speed as traffic
- While passing a standing vehicle · Visit the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition to learn more about the rules of the road.
Before you leave home, make sure you have everything you need. Purses and briefcases may be difficult and can be dangerous to ride with. So, if your bike doesn’t have a basket, buy a backpack to carry anything you need to bring to work.
Pack plenty of water, especially during the summer, to avoid dehydration during your ride. Also, equip your bike with a small first aid kit to treat any minor injuries.
Consider your work environment. If athletic gear is not acceptable attire for your workplace, make sure to pack a change of work-appropriate clothes. If your ride is strenuous or the weather is warm, you may also need to scope out a place to shower, like an office fitness center or a nearby gym.
Plan your route
Once you’ve mastered the steps above, it’s time to get where you need to go! Consider taking your bike out when the roads are quiet so you can test different routes and check out which roads are the safest to ride on. Once you are comfortable with your route without traffic, it will be easier to get comfortable on your bike during rush hour. You can also find helpful maps and routes online at http://www.atlantabike.org/maps_routes.
Enjoy your ride!