A lot of us are commuting every day. Some with the train, some walk but a really large amount of people use their bike. If you have been commuting with bike for year and years then some of the following tips might be common sense for you. For the rest of us, yes, us :-), read and perhaps learn a thing or two.
Its important to feel safe when cycling. While it might seem an easy things, trust me its not. Just getting on the bike and heading out can sometimes be difficult, but its great if you are prepared and make sure the dangerous things are avoided. After all, a big part of any commuters journey is shared with cars. And Trucks.
The dream of course is to constantly be able to bike on a perfect lane with enough width to be able to accommodate cyclists in both direction and also give room for overtaking. This is not always the case so here are some tips and trick to make it easier.
1. How do you start?
Make sure you take time to practice riding a bike. If its been a while, then just take out the bike in the area where you live. Just get on it and get comfortable with what its like to just ride. No traffic around and for example a park would be a good spot. Also try to stop and ride and make sure you are able to quickly turn in the different directions like you might must in a situation with lots of traffic.
2. Should I check my bike?
Make sure your bike is in order. Take out your bike. Stopping when ever you need is of outmost importance. Therefore make sure you breaks are in good condition. Secondly check the chain. You don't want to have that slip when you are half way to work and don't have any other means of transportation close. And it might be raining. Third, make sure the wheels are pumped up and that all normal skewers or security skewers are in good condition and fully fixed. Having a wheel come off when riding, its not fun. Trust me on that one
3. Make sure you know where to go.
Plan. Find a map and search for bike lanes. Use online resources to check for best way to get from work to home and the other way around. See if you can find other cyclists and ask then where they think its less traffic at the hours you ride. Also talk to the local cycling clubs and indeed ask your friends on Facebook for advice, I'm sure many of them also ride.
5. Make sure you take care
You never really ride alone. During rush hours there can be plenty of riders and many of them will ride faster than you. Also with e-bikes the chance is they swish pass you and you won't see them coming. Always check the you have plenty of space to turn in case there is obstacles or unexpected traffic or cyclists. Also make sure you always check your blind spots when turning or coming to crossings.
6. Make sure people know where you are going
Use hand signals. Use your bell. And if nothing else works, use your voice.
Also make sure they people around you have seen or heard your signals.
Easiest is to make eye contact. If you can see their eyes looking at you, the chance is they also see you. Simple.
7. Make sure you follow all rules.
Traffic lights. Please stop. Its so easy and you are never in such an hurry that your live is worth it. Never. Make sure you stop when there is a stop sign. Stop at crossings since there might be people walking that can't see you. Always use common sense. If you think its a bad idea to do something, then it probably is. Bike in the direction of traffic and obey traffic lights. There, I said it again.
9. Make sure people can see you.
Use a light. Both front and rear. If riding a lot in the dark also consider investing in a west that is reflective. Its not very pretty to have reflection stickers on the wheels, but it works. And its a cheap life insurance we always say. Make sure also that cars are always seeing you before you turn and always make sure to be careful when cars are turning right at crossings.
10. Enjoy it!
Its very important to like what you do, otherwise you wont do it. Get a nice bike if you don't feel like riding the one you have. Make sure its comfortable one and by all means try to get a saddle or seat that make the whole commute enjoyable. Also make sure you get a good bike lock for the whole bike and a good bike component locks. You don't want to come out after work and find your saddle gone or the wheels missing. Then the idea of commuting is not so nice anymore. And who wants to take the train anyhow? Not us :-)