Did you know that May is national Bike Month in the US and Canada?
And, naturally, within Bike Month is Bike to Work Day. The day of observance varies from city to city but, here in Austin, it falls on Friday, May 15, 2015.
So dust off your bike in honor of Bike to Work Day.
[Be more aware of travelers on the road this day. It’ll make everybody’s trip safer and a little bit happier.]
Here are 6 tips to help make your two-wheeled work commute a thing of pleasure. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even start a new habit.
1. Need a Bike?
You don’t have to already have a bike to try out cycling to work. Research whether utilizing B-cycle works for you.
B-cycle is a nonprofit that provides a bike sharing system for the City of Austin. A small rental fee allows you to check out a bike for the day. The cruiser-style frames have adjustable seats and baskets; rental stands are located all over the city (there’s a B-cycle app to help you find stand locations). And get this–you can even use B-cycle to participate in the May 25 Lifetime Tri Cap Tex triathlon! There’s a special B-cycle Wave for the SuperSprint distance (quarter-mile swim, 6.2-mile bike, and 3.1-mile run); visit captextri.com for specific information and to register.
2. Know the Rules of the Road.
First, your bike needs to be street legal. In Austin, that means three things:
- Brakes that work
- Front lamp, visible up to 500 feet ahead
- Rear red reflector OR red-light lamp visible to cars behind (50 to 300 feet for reflectors, 500 feet for red-light lamp)
Also, brush up on the State of Texas’ traffic laws for bikes. Treating the roads with respect helps everybody–cyclists, motorists, pedestrians–get along.
That’s the mission behind the nonprofit Please BE KIND to Cyclists. On May 26, you can watch their new educational video, DriveKind RideKind, which was developed by BE KIND and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to encourage safe roadway practices for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
3. Plan Your Route.
Not every street in Austin is bike-friendly, and some routes are better than others. Check out Ride the City, a website that can help determine the best cycling routes through Austin. Other option is downloading the My City Bikes Austin app, a guide to beginner biking curated by the local experts who staff The Peddler Austin.
Want to check out a map? Here’s the Austin City Bike Map, which shows everything from paved trails to high-comfort roads.
4. Organize Your Gear.
Before Friday, make sure you have the things you need to ride to work. Check your tires and refresh your bike kit (this should have tools in case you need to change a tire). If your bike can’t go in your office, locate a bike lock and make sure you know how to use it. Got stuff to transport? Pull out a cute messenger bag, backpack, or panniers to haul it in. And that load may include a change of clothes, depending on the length of your ride, weather conditions, and office dress atmosphere.
Don’t have a bike kit? Not sure how to lock up your bike? Wondering how you’ll carry your stuff? Take a look at Bicycle Sport Shop’s info, “Bicycle Commuting Tips & Tricks,” for help with the right equipment.
5. Allow Enough Time.
Google Maps has a bicycle option to help you determine commute time. The day’s ride may take longer, just because you’re unfamiliar with the routine. Or you might pleasantly find that it’s about the same travel time but much more enjoyable. In any case, it helps to have a base expectation so you don’t feel rushed.
6. Have Some Fun!
There are all kinds of festivities planned for Bike to Work Day. All across Austin, there are Fueling Stations with free food, coffee, and even a swag bag reusable tote for cyclists. Both Wheatsville Co-Op locations are stops–get the full list of Fueling Stations and info on the Bike Home from Work After Party at austinbiketowork.org
EXTRA FUN: Include the whole family in the cycling celebration with Austin’s Yellow Bike Project’s birthday party. On May 16 at 7 p.m., there’s a family-friendly ride down Austin’s new boardwalk to the Yellow Bike Project’s shop (about 7 miles total distance) followed by popcorn, beer, and a “bike-in” movie from Alamo Drafthouse Austin.