In the past, few commuters used bicycles to get to work, but that’s slowly changing. Biking to work hasn’t always been easy. Our roadways are primarily designed for automobiles, but with more and more cities investing in bike lanes and bike share programs, the numbers of bicycle commuters have increased. In fact, western cities that have invested in this green commute option (such as Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington) have some of the largest numbers of bicycle commuters. The Census Bureau reports that the number of people biking to work has increased by 60 percent over the last decade. For National Bike to Work Week, join this growing trend with a few Mindful tips.
This biking trend means great things for the health of Americans and the environment. Experts say that riding your bike to work just once a week “can reduce your [annual] contribution to carbon dioxide global warming by 20 percent.” Riding your bike to work can also boost your overall health by improving your mental health, immune system, and heart health.
If you’re interested in biking to work, consider the tips listed below.
- Acquiring a Bike 101. Obviously, the first thing you’ll need is a bike. If you don’t have one you can buy a new one, find a used one on Craigslist, or borrow one from a friend. You can also check to see if there’s a bike share station new your home and office.
- Consider your route. Use a map such as Google Maps to plan your route. Try to use streets with bicycle lanes and avoid traffic-packed roadways. Your computer can’t give you all the details you’ll need, so try to test your commute on the weekends. If your commute is difficult or longer than 20 minutes, try starting in small doses. You can bike to work in the morning and catch a ride home from your coworker in the evening.
- Be prepared for rain and heat waves. Rain booties and a waterproof jacket are an absolute must for commuting in the rain. Also, pay close attention to the fabrics you wear. Natural fibers will soak in the water and stay wet for hours, unlike quick-dry, synthetic fibers. You’ll also need a waterproof bag to keep your belongings dry. Biking to work on a hot summer day requires sunscreen, lots of water, and a change of clothes, if possible.
- Staying fresh. According to a study from the Census Bureau, the average commute time for bikers is roughly twenty minutes. That a long time in the blazing summer heat. If you’re worried about freshening up after your bike ride to work, check your office building for a shower facility. Or you can try a makeshift shower routine using towelettes.