Thinking of commuting by bike? Here's how to make it easy.
Are you thinking of commuting by bike? It’s a great way to get fit, save cash and protect the environment. Bike riders tend to take less sick days as they’re happier and healthier. Commuting by bike is easier than you might think. Whether you’re new to cycling or making the transition from a weekend warrior to a weekday rider, we want to make it easier.
Few tips, tricks and kit on making Bike riding easy..
Get ready to roll
Starting small can be a good way to go. Riding just one day a week could cut your car commuting kilometres by twenty-percent! That’s a great start.
Pack your stuff the night before, so you just need to grab your bag and head out the door with confidence. You don’t want to be rummaging around in the morning looking for your helmet. If you’re an OCD like me, you’ll stack up your bag, shoes, helmet and other stuff in a little pile so don’t forget anything.
One tip with office clothes; if you roll them up rather than folding them, they’ll be less creased. If you’re really organised, bring a week’s worth of ironed shirts in on Monday and ride the rest of the week! It's also worth leaving a set of shoes at work. They're the heaviest part of your clothing, so avoid carrying them back and forth.
Each week, you should do an ABC-Quick check to ensure that you're bike is ready and willing. That just means checking the Air in the tyres, that the Brakes are working, that the Chain is lubricated and that your quick-release skewers are done up tight and right. The ABC-Quick check is described in more detail in our 'top 5 tips to help you ride to work' post.
Plan your route
Google Maps is a good place to start, as it shows bike-friendly routes, trails and dedicated paths in many locations. Don’t forget that pathway is okay too. Maybe work is further than you’re ready to ride? No problems. Ride to a public transport hub, then catch the bus or train the rest of the way. Just make sure you have a decent lock to keep your bike safe during the day. We'd recommend a cable lock for the wheels and a d-lock for the frame. Two locks are more than twice as secure.
Carry the essential kit
Every biker’s bag has a few bits of kit to make it easier to enjoy the ride and handle anything that crops up. Here’s what should be in your bag:
A cable lock is more flexible, but a D-lock (or u-lock) will usually be tougher. It’s sometimes a good idea to leave a D-lock at work, but carry a cable lock with you if you need to drop into the shops on the way home. Kryptonite is probably the best-known lock brand, and they make some seriously good locks. Check out some of the best locks here.
It’s the law (and common sense) that you have a white headlight and a red taillight on your bike after dark. The headlight should be bright and strong, with good side-on visibility. The rear light needs to be bright, ideally with a good flashing or pulsing mode to get the attention of other road users. Great lights can be bought for as little as $15. Here’s a bundle of great lighting options.
If you get caught in the rain, popping a light jacket on is enough to make the ride comfortable. Have mudguards on your bike (highly recommended on any commuter bike), you will stay pretty dry. Also, keep an eye on the Bureau of Meteorology weather radar and avoid the worst of it. For those light showers, a lightweight jacket like the Reid Tour Lite Jacket is ideal, as it bundles up small so you can carry it just in case.
There's no better time to ride than when the weather fine, so a pair of sunnies can be supremely useful. They'll protect your eyes from the elements, as well as shield you from road dust. At night, lots of commuters wear a pair of clear safety glasses (or proper amber cycling sunglasses) for maximum vision in low-light conditions. There are really Schmick sunglasses with photochromatic lenses that change with light conditions, so they're clear at night and shaded during the day.
Be ready for anything
For those ready to get your hands dirty, carrying a few tools means that you can fix punctures and other small problems on the road. For the rest of us, there's nothing wrong with jumping on a train or grabbing a cab. Cycling is about fitness, fun and not pressure.
You need a spare tube to suit your bike, just in case you get a puncture. You don’t want to be late! Some people go even further and carry some disposable gloves as well, so if they do need to change a tube they can keep their hands clean. If you need advice about which tube you need, or how to change them, contact one of the Reid stores. Reid provides great quality tubes cheaper than just about anywhere else.
Tyres levers are sometimes necessary to install or remove a tyre from a wheel. Any plastic tyre lever will do the job, but you do get what you pay for. Metal ones might scratch your rims if they don't have a plastic coating, so avoid them. One lever is sometimes enough, but carrying two or three is wise. Check out the options here.
Once your tube is changed, you’ll need to pump it up again! Look for a pump with a flexible, extendable hose as they’re easier to use and will protect your valves. If you need the smallest possible pump, you might have to do without a hose, but its small size will make up for it! Click through for options.
A multitool isn’t a strict necessity, but it’s great for making a quick adjustment or running a repair on the road. I usually keep my minipump and multitool together.
For any further information or advice, contact Reid Cycles support