If you’ve recently taken up biking, or considered biking to work when your workplace reopens, you’re not alone! Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there is some evidence that shows that there has been increased interest in cycling across cities in the U.S. and Europe. From London to New York to Atlanta, cities have experienced more ridership on bike trails and more traffic in bike shops.
And now, with Biketober just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to get pedaling! Biketober is a fun and safe way to get outdoors and get some exercise, all while maintaining social distancing. Plus, you just might win some prizes!
So, if you’re considering biking, but don’t know where to start, you’re not alone! We talked to Sarah Cobb, an employee in the active sports department for our Biketober partner, REI, and she’s here with some tips to help you get started:
It’s okay to start small
Sarah rides her bike one mile each way to work. Despite living relatively close to work, transitioning to biking everyday can be daunting! That’s why, when she started commuting by bike in January, she initially only biked to work a few days that month. Then, she biked a little more in February, and even more in March. By the time she returned to work in May, she was ready to bike to work most days!
Sarah compares it to when you first take up running – you’re not ready to run a marathon on your first day!
Like Sarah, it’s okay to start small and bike more days as you get more comfortable. During Biketober, you only need to bike for 10 minutes per ride, so work your way up! If you’re new to biking, consider starting with just 10 minutes of biking a few days the first week, and increase your time or number of days with each passing week. You’ll be a more confident rider in no time!
Use what you have
You don’t need fancy equipment or an expensive bike to participate in Biketober! Sarah’s biking habits changed depending on what gear she had available to her. She first began mountain biking when one of her friends happened to have an extra mountain bike. Then, she got into road biking after fixing up an old bike from a coworker. If you’re looking for a bike on a budget, here are some options that might work for you:
- Trade in an old bike at Atlanta Cycling
- Search for a used bike from around Atlanta on Facebook
- Find used bikes from Bike Exchange
After a few years in the biking game, Sarah only recently got a new bike since she was biking to work regularly! Even still, Sarah says that she doesn’t have some gear, such as saddlebags. But that doesn’t stop her from getting out there.
You don’t need a new bike and tons of equipment to get started! Start with what you have and, as you continue biking, you can always consider picking up some gear or investing in a new bike.
Reframe how you think about transportation
If you think of biking purely as exercise time, rather than as a mode of transportation, this one’s for you. For most of us, when we make transportation choices, our focus is on getting from point A to point B, rather than on how we get there. This often means hopping in the car to go short distances! (Did you know that nearly 60% of trips taken in the U.S. are less than six miles?)
Sarah says it’s important to think about travel time more intentionally. That’s why she bikes to work. It gives her the opportunity to use her commute time for more than just getting to her destination. It has become a way to have some built in decompression time in her day, and it gives her the chance to get a little fresh air and some exercise, which can help her clear her mind!
Keep an open mind! Biking as a form of transportation may work for you, too! Even if it’s just short trips to nearby stores on the weekend, think about giving biking a try. Plus, during Biketober, it can be a great way to accomplish multiple things at once – exercising, completing errands, and earning points towards prizes!
Be open to how biking can transform other areas of your life
For Sarah, switching to a bike commute didn’t only help her to get some decompression time and exercise each day, but it has also sparked positive changes in other areas of her life. Sarah says that biking to work has made her more conscious of her environmental footprint in other areas of her life, such as considering the environmental impact of her diet.
“It sets off a chain reaction.”
Maybe taking a green commute option, like biking, will challenge you to find new ways to be more sustainable, too!
Gear up for Biketober!
Register now for Biketober! If you register by September 30, 2020, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a $1,000 REI gift card. The prizes don’t end there, you can also participate throughout the month of October to be entered in drawings for restaurant vouchers, bike gear and more.
To participate, all you have to do is:
For more information, check out ATLBikeChallenge.com.
Also, be sure to check out tips and resources for active commuting during COVID-19.