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Bicycle Commuting Tips





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A commute is daily or regular travel.  It is not mode specific.  You can do it by foot, bike, bus, train, boat, etc.  Because it is regular, over time you can make decisions and organize it as you would like.  For the bike commuter, the commute is the best part of the day. For the car commuter, the commute is often the worst part of the day.

Ten Tips For Bike Commuting:

  1. Select a bike you are comfortable riding; it also needs to be in good working order. [Tip: A good bike shop is a good resource for this.]
  2. Plan your route; you will probably have to balance safety, convenience and aesthetics, you may want several routes for different moods. [Tip: Members of the local bicycle club are a good place to look for help on this. To find a bicycle map of a particular city go to, replace "city" in the URL with the location you are looking for.]
  3. Test your route on a day off when you are not under pressure; not only do you learn the route, you test your equipment and learn about how long the ride takes.
  4. Dress appropriately for the activity and conditions. Foul weather gear for foul weather; it is best if it is designed for cycling. Layers of light, bright colored cycling clothes will get you through the changes of season -- you can't make yourself too visible.
  5. Plan your work attire; store a wardrobe at the office or carry cloths rolled in a towel to reduce wrinkling. [Tip: some people deliver a weeks worth of clothing to their office once a week.]
  6. Get bike panniers or a ruck sack; for clothing, papers and snacks -- longer rides favor panniers.
  7. Buy a lock; learn where to park and how to use the lock for maximum effectiveness.
  8. Lights for winter or night riding; there are a variety on the market, choose the one that matches your situation -- don't forget an array of reflectors as well.
    * If you riding on a path at night; dim the light and lower the beam. Please don't blind your cohort. They would rather be your friend.
    * Don't put the rear red blinky light on a back pack so that points up when you lean forward (seen often).
    * If your rear red blinky is attached to the seat post (usually a good position), don't wear cloths that hang down and hide it.
  9. Learn to avoid sports injuries: Have the bike properly fitted and adjusted, warm-up your leg before riding hard, build up your mileage gradually, ride with you feet, knees and hips in proper alignment.
  10. Wear a helmet; even with good training on how to ride like a vehicle, and riding defensively, accidents occasionally happen; studies show that helmets can reduce the severity of the injury. Gloves are another hugely important piece of person protective equipment.

Selecting a Bike  |  Bicycle Safety Checklist (PDF) |  Benefits of Bicycling  |  Bicycle Parking Criteria

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The International Bicycle Fund is an independent, non-profit organization. Its primary purpose is to promote bicycle transportation. Most IBF projects and activities fall into one of  four categories: planning and engineering, safety education, economic development assistance and promoting international understanding. IBF's objective is to create a sustainable, people-friendly environment by creating opportunities of the highest practicable quality for bicycle transportation. IBF is funded by private donation. Contributions are always welcome and are U.S. tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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