After moving and taking the bus to work for months, I realized that cycling might be a faster option. After all, biking to work is practically free, great for your body, good for the environment, and you save the hassles of being stuck in traffic or finding a parking space. Here are some factors to consider if you are thinking of taking your bike out of the garage and biking to the office.
Does it save you time?
Obviously, if you drive 30 minutes on the highway to get to work every day, cycling might not be for you. However, if you spend a lot of time on city streets or take intercity public transport, it might actually save you time to bike. Use a maps service to calculate the amount of time it would take you to drive, take public transport or bike from home to your destination. Also think about the amount of time you or the bus are stuck in traffic each day, and how long it takes to find a parking spot. You might find that biking is indeed faster. If not, it might still be worth biking because the amount of money you save every day if you are not paying for public transport or gas and parking.
Is the route safe?
Many major cities now have biking lanes on major streets, but some do not. Go over the route that you would cycle to work every day and make sure that it would be safe for you to ride. Look for things like badly maintained roads as cons, but consider lots of cyclists on the roads a good thing. When in doubt, talk to someone familiar with biking in your area for advice.
Do you know the laws?
Most state DMVs should be able to provide you with a manual on safe cycling. You should definitely read up before you go out on the road. There are lots of rules that cyclists need to follow if they want to safely share the roads with cars. This manual should teach you about the appropriate hand signals you will use, and laws about what equipment is required for cyclists. You can always contact the DMV if you have questions about how to legally and safely ride.
Do you have a good bike?
If you are planning on biking on a regular basis, it’s important that you have the right supplies. You’ll need a bike, obviously, but it’s important that your bike is up to the tasks of a regular commute. If it’s old and poorly maintained, you’ll need to take it to a repair shop to get tuned up. It’s also good to have a standard repair kit, a helmet and a reflexive vest for bad weather. You should also have a sturdy bike lock. For those of you that carry a briefcase or bag to work, investing in a basket might be a wise option. If you don’t own a bike, sporting good stores and independent retailers will be able to help you pick one out. If you only want to bike to work occasionally, there are also bike sharing and rental programs in many major cities.
If the answer to all of these questions is yes, hopefully you’ll be saving time, money, and the environment in no time by biking to work.