With temperatures —and gas prices— rising, there’s no better time to ditch your car keys in favor of your bicycle. If you’re still hesitant to pedal to work, don’t let these common bike commuting myths slow you down.
Bike commuting takes longer
Here’s some food for thought. For urban trips three miles or less, it’s actually faster to ride your bike than to drive. Slightly longer bike trips take approximately the same amount of time when you consider that the average urban commuter rides at a pace of around 10 miles per hour.
I’m not in shape
Can’t make a gym commitment? Then make a two-wheeled commitment to saving fossil fuels while improving your mental and physical health. The more you ride your bike, the better your body will adapt to the activity, making it feel easier and slowly increasing your average speed. If you’re just starting out, map a bike route that avoids big climbs or ride your bike halfway and finish the commute on public transportation. Not sure you’ll make it to the office in time? Do a dry run on the weekend to see how long it takes.
I don’t feel safe
While bike accidents do happen, riding a bicycle is still safer than driving. According to Exponent, a safety and failure testing company, the risks of a bicycling related fatality were about half that of driving. Cyclists are safest when they’re clearly visible. Wear bright colored clothes and always display front and rear bike lights at the beginning and end of the day. Increase awareness of your surroundings by turning off iPods, keeping your phone stowed, using hand signals and always paying attention to where cars are located and anticipating any turns or sudden moves. And always wear a bicycle helmet.
Bike commuting leaves me sweaty
Aside from the hottest summer days, one of the easiest ways to avoid arriving sweaty is to bike ride at an easier pace. If you don’t have a shower in the building or at a nearby gym, change out of your riding clothes as soon as you arrive and use baby wipes or a washcloth to clean up sweaty areas. Always keep a change of clothes at work. If you want to carry clothes with you, consider a bike trailer such as the Maya Cycle, designed for commuting cyclists such as yourself.
I have too much stuff to carry
Bike commuting doesn’t have to include a ton of accessories. If you have a Maya Cycle bike trailer or bicycle panniers, it should be enough to hold your lunch, clothes and work items. If you’re worried about wrinkled clothes, drive to the office one day a week, bringing a few outfits with you.
I don’t want to spend money on a fancy bike
If you’ve got an old mountain bike sitting in your garage, you’re almost ready to start bike commuting. You’re not riding the Tour de France. You don’t need something light and aero. Besides, the nicer the bike, the greater the chance it will fall victim to theft. Your local bike shop can help give life to your old bike or direct you toward an inexpensive commuter.