Three months ago, I bought a new bicycle- a tour bicycle. My original plan and goal was to commute by bike on a daily basis. First I tried using my Mountain Bike, which I own for several years now. Mountain Bikes are really cool and very handy while riding off road, but have many disadvantages when it comes to urban commuting. The first obviously disadvantage is, they are not safe in traffic. It only took a couple of days to realize that I needed a new bike, which is made for such an environment. So this is my first tip if you’re planning to commute by bike: Choose the right bike.
Here are my 10 tips for commuting by bike, which I experienced (sometimes on the hard way) so far:
- Choose the right bicycle. Road safety is a must!
- Always wear a helmet! I had four near accidents and I feel much safer with a helmet. It needs only one car driver who makes a bad decision and hopefully you only have to relearn walking after an accident.
- Look for roads abroad from the main streets. Main streets are very noisy and sometimes dangerous, especially if they have no extra bike lane. It is much more fun to ride through empty streets and to enjoy the silence and nature.
- Always use bike panniers instead of a rucksack. Especially during summer times, I always get sweaty on my back. Panniers (I use Orlieb panniers) solve this problem and they are much more comfortable as well.
- Take rain clothes with you. I always carry a jacket, trousers and a helmet cover with me. I put all the stuff in my Ortlieb bags.
- Buy a bike computer. I have a Sigma Sport BC 12.12. It is so nice and motivating to see how much kilometres I rode and how much gas I saved.
- I always change my shirt in the office. I always sweat a little bit, even when I use panniers. I change it not because of body-odor, but of maybe getting a cold.
- Change routes or try new ones from time to time. It keeps you motivated.
- Always take tools for patching a tire with you. I didn’t have a flat yet, but it gives me a safe feeling.
- Enjoy the weather, even when it’s raining. There is no bad weather if you wear the right clothes. I sit the whole day in the office, the commute is my little adventure for every day.