How do I pick a route?
Use a local map or your current commute to find roads with lower traffic levels, wide right lanes, paved shoulders or bike lanes.
Is it safe to ride in traffic?
Bike crashes often happen to bicyclists when riding on sidewalks or not following the law. Riding on a sidewalk makes you invisible to drivers especially if you ride against traffic. Obey all traffic laws and be visible and predictable.
That's too far too ride!
Bike one way and take your bike on transit the other way. Drive to a park and ride lot or bus stop to skip troublesome areas and bike the rest.
Won't it take too much time?
Cycling can be a very efficient use of your time, especially in congested areas and for shorter commutes. Longer commutes mean saving time by not having to go to the gym that day. You also won't waste time searching for a parking space.
Can I really do this?
Ride your route on both weekends and during peak traffic periods and adjust your pace and schedule accordingly. Start slow and work up to a faster pace over time.
Clothes and Cleaning Up
Start as a fair weather commuter on your bike. Keep rain gear at work so that if there is a turn, you will have the spare (brightly colored) protection. Some Michigan city bus systems have racks for bikes to help you get out of the bad weather.
You can be both professional looking and a bicycle commuter. Many professionals in all levels of government and business bike commute. It just takes a little extra planning and adaptation. Soon, it will be a habit!
Stay Cool: Most mornings are cool enough to keep you from getting too sweaty. Also use waterproof and breathable fabrics.
Smell Fresh: Odor comes from bacteria on a dirty body. Have a kit with witch hazel, talcum powder, a washcloth, soap and deodorant in the restroom. Dry off under the hand blower if you do not have a shower near the work site. Save race speeds for the trip home!
Look good: Keep sport coats/jackets and dress shoes in the office. Bring clean shirt/slacks/skirts in your rack bag. Or bring clothes to the office on non-riding days.
Safety tips for Bike Commuters
- Hone your riding skills on recreational rides.
- Always wear a helmet that fits properly, Helmets prevent serious injury in 85% of crashes.
- Ride as far to the right as is practicable and safe. DO NOT HUG THE CURB or ride in the gutter pan.
- Act like a vehicle, and obey all signals and signs; motorists get upset when cyclists ignore traffic laws.
- Keep a minimum of four feet between your bike and parked cars to avoid driver side door swing. Watch for drivers' heads in parked cars.
- Ride predictably, consistently and attentively; unusual or erratic movement can make a driver uneasy, and may encourage animosity.
- Establish eye contact when possible, motorists may not see cyclists. Watch for inattentive motorists, do not assume they see you. YOU ARE INVISIBLE ON THE SIDEWALK, ESPECIALLY IF YOU RIDE AGAINST TRAFFIC.
- Motorists can't see road hazards that affect cyclists, so signal clearly if claiming space to avoid a hazard.
- Wear safety gear and high visibility clothing at night or in bad weather. MI law requires white front light, red lights in back and reflectors on wheels.
Positioning for turns
Before a turn: scan, signal and move into your chosen lane. Ride in the right third or middle of the lane, as lane width dictates. To traverse multiple lanes, move one at a time, scanning and signaling each move.
Avoiding turn lanes
If your lane turns into a right turn only lane, change lanes before the intersection. Changing lanes too late could result in an overtaking motorist cutting you off. Maintain a constant position relative to the curb or shoulder during a turn.
- Next >>