bike commuting

Get Fit, Save Gas, Pick Up a Little Cash

Biking to work is easier than you think, and may get you a tax rebate.

• Commit to biking just a few days a week. Not every bike commuter bikes every single day. If you drive once or twice a week, you can bring a few days’ worth of clothes to store in your office. That way, you don’t have to worry about showing up in a wrinkled, sweaty suit.

• Buy a good commuting bike. You don’t have to get really fancy when it comes to commuting bikes, says Furia, especially if you have a decent bike in your garage already. If you do need to buy some wheels, “go to a bike shop that caters to people who ride for transportation,” she suggests. “If you walk in and see a bunch of racing bikes, it’s probably not a good place to shop.” A shop that sells lots of commuter bikes can usually recommend a good bike based on the length and terrain of your commute.

• Stay seen. Furia recommends outfitting your bike with some sort of lighting system so you can see and be seen. “It doesn’t have to come with the bike, just something you just clip onto the handlebar—white for front and red for back,” she adds. And wear bright colors and reflective clothing when your ride.

• Leave early. Mornings are generally cooler; temperatures can rise as much as 3 degrees per hour between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. And the longer you allow for your commute, the less you need to push yourself.

• Leave the kitchen sink at home. Most of us carry bags and briefcases full of papers and bric-a-brac we don’t ever use. When you’re biking to work, stock your bags only with those items you know you’ll need.

• Stow baby wipes and deodorant at work. Shower before you leave, but once you get to work, wait 10 to 20 minutes for your body to stop sweating. Then wipe off with baby wipes and reapply your deodorant, if need be.

• Store it securely. In the event that your office doesn’t have adequate bike storage, use two different types of locks, such as a U-lock plus a chain-and-padlock. Thieves tend to get deterred when they realize they’ll have to carry several different kinds of tools to steal your bike.


Published on: April 2, 2009

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