Bicycle Commuting Myths: How to Start Riding Your Bike Without Worry
Plenty of people complain about sitting in traffic on the freeway or being jammed into crowded trains, but not that many are willing to try a simple solution to their commuting woes: biking to work.
Riding your bike to work is an amazing way to take control of your commute. You can often bypass cars that are stuck in traffic, while enjoying fresh air, freedom, and exercise on your bike.
So why isn’t everyone riding their bike to work yet? Well, there are a lot of misconceptions about what it takes to be a bicycle commuter that can be intimidating to people who haven’t done it before.
In this post, we’ll break down some of the most common myths to help you see just how easy it could be to stop sitting in traffic, and start actually enjoying your commute to work!
Myth #1: You need a lot of fancy equipment
You really don’t need more than a bike and a helmet in order to start riding your bike to work.
While there are plenty of cyclists on the road with expensive bikes, complex cargo systems, and name-brand spandex outfits. most of these cyclists are people who have been riding for a long time and have worked to develop a perfect system that meets their every need. But you don’t need a perfect system to start riding!
All you need is a bike, safety gear, and if necessary, a way to carry your personal items like a messenger bag or backpack. Your bike doesn’t need to be a fancy road bike, either; as long as you aren’t scaling huge hills, you really don’t need more than a basic set of gears and wheels to ride through most city streets.
You can always tweak and upgrade your system as you get more used to riding your bike and discover what you really need to make your ride perfect. However, just start out with minimal gear and add things as necessary, and don’t be intimidated by what more expert cyclists are working with.
Myth #2: It’s all or nothing
Just because you decide to start riding your bike to work doesn’t mean you have to commit to ride your bike to work every single day for the rest of your life.
When you’re first starting out, if you feel intimidated by the commitment, try just riding to work one day a week — maybe every Friday. You can also look at ways to shorten your commute, if the travel distance feels overwhelming. Try bringing your bike in the car or public transportation for part of the journey and make the rest on your bicycle.
You also don’t have to ride our bike to work no matter what. Plenty of cyclists opt to take their car or public transportation to work when it’s raining or snowing — that doesn’t make you a bad bicycle commuter!
When you are first starting out, don’t set rules that feel stressful or overwhelming to you. You can be as flexible as you need to be; riding your bike to work should make your life better, not more stressful!
Myth #3: It’s faster to drive
If you enter a major US city every day to go to work, odds are, it’ll be faster to get there on a bike than in a car. Most cities have a traffic corridor where cars slow way down, often to as slow as 10 miles per hour, to enter the city.
If you’re on a bike, you’re not limited by traffic and the many slowdowns associated with it — high-traffic corridors, construction, lane closures, accidents, merging, and much more. Even if you take a longer route on surface streets on your bicycle, the odds are good that you can leave your house at the same time — or even later — than you normally would in a car, without any of the frustration of sitting in traffic.
Try riding your bike to work one day this week!
Riding your bike to work can completely change your workday for the better. Avoid traffic, get to work faster, get fresh air and exercise, and save money on gas — all just by taking your bike to the office, even if it’s just a couple of days a week.
Why not try riding your bike to work one day this week? You just might find that it’s easier than you think!