Every Wednesday leading up to Bike to Work Day, we’ll post here about ways you can get ready for the region’s biggest annual celebration of bike commuting. Register for Bike to Work Day now!
Problem: My tires are deflated and my chain is rusty from sitting in a storage room for months at a time.
Solution: Get that bike out of the storage room! If you don’t have a floor pump, find a friend with one or wheel it, bus it, Metro it, or drive it to a bike shop (they all have pumps or compressors). Check the outer rim of the tire for the appropriate PSI and inflate your tires to that level. If you need help, ask for help from a friend or a bike-shop employee. If your chain is looking really nasty or something on your bike doesn’t feel right, ask a mechanic (or a trusted friend) to look it over for you. It probably needs, at the very least, grease.
Problem: I don’t have bike clothes! I’ll be hot and sweaty when I get to work.
Solution: Just dress comfortably—Spandex not required. Wear what you would usually wear, just make sure to keep any loose parts, like pant legs, away from your chain (rubber bands are useful, or you can buy a special strap that looks like this). If it’s an especially hot day, plan to carry a messenger bag, backpack, or equip your bike to carry cargo (see below); roll up some extra clothes; pack them; and change when you get to your office. Your office may even have a shower—if not, bring some deodorant and wet wipes. Keep in mind, though, that by riding a bike, you create your own air-conditioning. With that kind of breeze, it’s usually not as hot as you’d think, and you’ll sweat less than you expect riding as a casual city pace.
Problem: I don’t have a helmet.
Solution: Borrow one from a friend or go buy one—a $20 helmet will protect your head just as well as a $100 helmet.
Problem: I have too much stuff to carry.
Solution: There are entire lines of products devoted just to this problem—check out any bike shop and ask for recommendations, or Google around! Remember that your bike can carry a lot of weight for you. For a long-term solution, look for a rack to mount on the back of your bicycle with accompanying panniers (also known as saddlebags), or just a good bungee cord to strap most any bag to that rack.
For an immediate solution, grab a backpack or messenger bag (dangling bags on your handlebars is not recommended for safety reasons). Still not sold on the idea? Bring what you’ll need to your office in advance of Bike to Work Day, and you can ride unencumbered.
This post was written by Rachel Cannon, WABA’s bike parking coordinator and rack-installer extraordinaire.
Next Wednesday, we’ll tell you some of the great things that pit stops have planned. Sign up for Bike to Work Day now! Remember, when you register, you can join WABA and renew your membership at a discount, $25.