Guest author, Don Mueller, gives us a few words of advice for our very favorite springtime month: Bike to Work Month!
Commuting or running errands by bike is more comfortable and convenient than ever. As you gear up to use your bike for transportation, consider what you’ll wear. You’ll quickly find the sort of clothing that works best for you under various conditions, but most cyclists want to dress for comfort and for safety.
The distance you’re traveling has a huge influence on your clothing choices. If you’re riding a short, leisurely distance (less than 2 miles), preparation is easy. You’ll do just fine wearing casual street clothes and comfortable shoes. If you’re wearing long pants, use a leg band around your right ankle to keep your pants out of the chain. No matter the distance, being visible with bright-colored clothing will help drivers see you and reduce the chance of an accident. Choose a highly visible shirt, cycling jersey, or vest.
If you’re traveling more than a couple miles, you are likely to appreciate the added comfort of cycling-specific clothing. Your favorite bike shop carries clothing that is appropriate for commuting and there are many great options for “cycling lifestyle” clothing that look great off your bike as well.
Find a shirt or jersey made of a breathable material that will wick perspiration. You certainly don’t have to wear a cycling jersey; you can wear the same sort of shirt that you might wear to the gym. However cycling jerseys add a few advantages beyond wicking material. There are many choices for jerseys that are bright, loose fitting, comfortable, and offer a longer back that doesn’t ride up while you’re riding along. Commuter jerseys usually include a half-length zipper for ventilation and a back pocket for your wallet, cell phone or other incidentals.
Padded cycling shorts are a must if you’re going more than a few miles. Cycling shorts will prevent chafing, provide some cushion, wick moisture, and keep working muscles warm and supported. Most commuters choose mountain bike shorts that feature form-fitting lycra shorts inside a loose shell that generally includes cargo pockets. If you prefer to wear your own shorts you can purchase lightweight cycling briefs that can be worn underneath athletic shorts. We don’t recommend wearing standard cargo shorts for longer commutes because the heavy seams can irritate sensitive tissue. It’s also important to change out of your cycling shorts when you get to work because wearing damp shorts all day long will lead to skin irritation.
Cool spring and autumn weather shouldn’t stop you if you keep your joints warm as you ride. When the temperature is below 50 degrees, it’s especially important to keep your knees warm by wearing tights over your shorts or knee warmers worn below your shorts to cover from mid-thigh to mid-calf. Light jackets, wind-blocking vests, and long-sleeve jerseys will help you keep your core warm, especially when it’s windy. If rain is in the forecast, bring a water resistant jacket that can be rolled up and stuffed in a pack or pocket. If you’re wearing cycling shows you may want to consider show covers that seal out wind and water to keep your toes warm. Always wear your helmet, and County Cycles can help you with liners, caps or beanies to keep you warm and dry if the weather is less than sunny.
Carrying a change of clothes, shoes, lunch, toiletries, electronics and office supplies? Most dedicated commuters prefer to let their bike carry the load. County Cycles can help you find a rack that fits your bike and panniers or packs that fit the rack. Other commuters prefer a backpack or courier bag. Whichever way you go, be sure to think about protecting your things from water and an occasional bump in the road.
Join the growing number of people using pedal power to get to work. You’ll quickly find that you arrive at work feeling strong and energized. When you roll into your driveway at the end of the day, you’ll be refreshed and feeling great that you used your drive time to get in a ride!