Bike to Work This Summer

Today is Memorial Day—the official, unofficial start to summer. It is also the perfect day to execute on your latent desire to begin biking to work.

woman on a bike

Summertime and the biking is easy. Photo by Julio Greff.

We most often think about habits and resolutions in January, but when it comes to creating a bike commuting habit, summer rules because:

  1. The weather is great. The sun is shining, temperatures in the morning are cool enough to prevent you from getting sweaty but warm enough that you don’t need to wear or pack a lot of gear. There is also loads of sunlight, so you don’t need to worry so much about dark roads.
  2. Workplaces are more relaxed. Many employers take a more casual approach to summer, relaxing dress codes and hours. Depending on your equipment and your ride, you may decide you can gently ride to work in your business casual clothing and leave your spandex at home.
  3. More people are on vacation. This translates into fewer meetings and (anecdotally, at least) less traffic. Fewer meetings mean you can plan your summer more effectively, and less traffic means a more relaxed commute.

With these three advantages in mind, here are some tips for setting yourself up for successful commuting this summer.

Give yourself a reason.

Why do you want to ride anyway? Do you want to be more active? Lose weight? Get some color? Whatever it is, starting with why and writing it down is the best way to stay motivated.

Make a plan.

If you know what you want out of your commute, you can set a sensible goal or habit. Goals look like “I will ride 60 days between now and Labor Day.” Habits look like, “I will look at my weather app each day morning after I get up and if there is no rain forecast, I will ride to work.” Goals for work for some, habits for others.

Address your worries.

Ask yourself what worries you. Are you concerned about being sweaty? Are you worried about your route? Securing your bike? What excuse are you going to use next week and what can you do to mitigate it?

When you were a kid on summer vacation, you probably spent a lot of time on two wheels. You may now be an adult, but this summer, you can recapture the feeling every morning.

1 MK June 1, 2016 at 9:19 am

Cars (drivers) dislike bikes and the pic you posted gives them more reason to. Bikers dislike drivers who don’t pay attention to them because they are on their cell phone. So you post a casual biker not paying attention to the road, not wearing a helmet, and it appears she is on her cell phone. :)

I enjoyed the blog post but had to comment on the pic.

2 Kwin Peterson June 1, 2016 at 10:03 am

Good point and thanks for the comment. I dislike fear drivers who are using their phones because that can be lethal (to pedestrians, cyclists, etc., but never to the driver). Yes, using a phone while in motion is a BAD, but over the last decade, I’ve found I care a lot less about what drivers think.

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