A little planning makes your morning commute more relaxed.

SHARE THE ROAD: Tips for bike commuting

Having commuted regularly by bike for years, I’ve come up with a few essential things to help make it easier

By Steve Nagle

Commuting to work or school on a bike requires a little planning and thinking ahead.

Having commuted regularly by bike for years, I’ve come up with a few essential things to help make it easier.

Depending on your place of work, you may or may not have change rooms, showers and bike storage facilities. This is one of the first things to consider and plan for accordingly. Thoughtful employers will make these facilities available to employees to encourage bike commuting, which is great for employee fitness.

Always keep a spare set of clothes, shoes and toiletries at the office. You will forget something and you don’t want to be carrying bulky items like shoes and towels with you every day.  Keep an extra belt, pair of pants, shirt, pair of socks, shoes, bra, underwear, etc… at the office at all times. Keep an extra of everything you need to clean up, deodorant, towels, wipes, at your office. Only carry essentials that you will need on that day, no need to carry everything with you every day,

Ask my wife about this one….Pack the night before! By packing your clothes and lunch the night before you’ll reduce your stress the next morning. Nothing more stressful than trying to rush out the door as you are packing! Lay everything out then ask yourself “Is this really necessary”?

Check your bike regularly. Regular commuting will cause wear and tear on your bike. The aim here is to catch problems early to avoid a mechanical problem on the road. Prevention is the key here! Regularly check tire pressures and check for cuts and small nicks in the tires. Also check the  tightness of quick releases and the headset, check brakes for wear and adjustment and keep the chain and drive train clean and well lubricated. Keep your bike clean. Dirt, mud and general road grime can play havoc with a bike. A thorough tune up by a qualified professional bike mechanic should be done two or three times a year depending on use.

Always carry flat repair tools and parts. Everyone should have a small saddle pack with an extra tube, tire levers, patch kit and a pump, and know how to change a flat. Practice fixing flats before. Nothing worse than trying to learn what to do at the side of the road in the pouring rain.

Plan your route. For most, there are several different ways to get from your house to the office. To prevent boredom, vary your routes often and always be traffic savvy. Avoid dangerous roads and intersections, watch out for road works and construction and always plan for inclement weather! Keep an eye on the weather so you can plan to dress for the temperature and precipitation. This is of course the Wet Coast!

That’s it for this week, ride safe! All comments are welcome.

Steve can be found at Outdoor Addictions: www.outdooraddictions.ca