Do you want to ride your bike more often but have reasons why you can’t? You’re not alone. There are a lot of people like you who aren’t quite there yet. Let us help!
“I don’t feel safe riding with traffic.”
Riding with traffic can feel intense, especially on a busy street – particularly if you aren’t used to riding there (or you’re new to bicycling). Build your skill and confidence by riding someplace that doesn’t feel intense, such as at a nearby park or school, or around your neighborhood. There are also classes designed to help you feel more confident and comfortable with riding on the road. Finding low-stress routes can help a lot too (see below).
“I don’t know how to find the best route.”
Ask a friend who rides regularly and try the online Bicycle Trip Planner. We have a large index of online bike maps for the region. Social rides and club rides also offer a fun way to get to know the area by bike.
Shorten your trip by riding to a nearby coworker’s house and carpooling the rest of the way. Or learn how to take your bike on public transit. (Or try both!) These are just some of the tips for commuting by bike.
“I don’t have the right bike.”
The right bike is the one that feels the most comfortable to you. If you’re still learning about bicycling or you’re looking for alternatives to your current bike, ask for advice from a friend who rides regularly. The staff at your local bike shop can also recommend bikes for the kind of riding you want to do.
“I have a bike but it’s uncomfortable.”
It’s possible the seat or handlebars aren’t a good match for your particular body type. Try moving your seat up or down or adjusting the tilt of your handlebars to make them more comfortable. Many bike shops also offer bike “fitting” — they’ll make those adjustments for you and, if needed, also recommend different seats, bars and other parts to improve your comfort.
“I’m worried my bike will break down and I’ll be stranded.”
Your local bike shop can give your bike a tune-up, so you can trust that everything is in good working order. Take a class to learn how to maintain your own bike. If you live near one, a bike kitchen or community bike shop is a place where you can do your own repairs and adjustments.
Most bike thefts result from owner error: a bike is left unlocked or locked inadequately. The best practices for protecting your bike include locking every time, using the right lock, and knowing how and where to lock.
Riding a bike doesn’t require special clothing — just wear what’s comfortable. (No, you don’t have to wear those tight biking shorts if you don’t want to.) That also goes for commuting by bike. Most bike commuters wear their work clothes. There’s even an international movement that promotes everyday style for bicycling.