How to Make yourself Ride your Bike to Work

23 01 2008

Today was the second day this week where I’ve ridden my bike to work. This has not happened in quite a while as I’ve sort of made a resolution to get back on my bike (and, consequently, get back to a reasonable fitness level). As I was riding to work today, I was thinking not only about how cold it was, but really, how cold it wasn’t. I mean, the cold has sort of been my internal excuse to not ride every so often. In the summer time, the extreme heat then becomes my excuse. I vowed a long time ago to give up excuses and replace them with actions. But, getting back to the cold, I think it was just as cold, or cold than Monday when I rode my bike to work. However, today didn’t really feel that bad. It was me getting used to the cold again. Riding along, thinking about the cold, I also thought “this has been what’s been keeping me from enjoying my bike all this time?”

So, with that, I list my suggestions to ride your bike to work on a more regular basis:

Keep all your stuff in one place

On Monday, I must have spent at least 30 minutes noodling around the house looking for all the things I needed in order to get on my bike safely and comfortably. It takes about 60 minutes to get to work on my bike, but it takes 15 minutes to drive to work. It doesn’t make efficient use of your time. 

Today, I had dumped nearly everything I need to ride in a single spot (save for my riding clothes). That way, there was no guess work on if I missed something. Arm warmers? Check. Leg Warmers? Check. Bike Shoes? Check. Gloves? Check. Helmet? Check. When your stuff isn’t in a single place, that check list takes much longer to mentally go through, and then you forget, leading to rechecking, leading to more wasted time, which THEN leads to you not even wanted to go on your bike.

Mentally prepare the night before

I usually tell myself the night before that I need to get up and do things by a certain time in order to make it to work in a reasonable hour. I have my travel and setup times all worked out through much experience. Referring to rule 1, ride prep time should be kept to a minimal amount. This helps when you wake up first thing: your brain will tell you “You told me you were going to ride last night! Don’t wimp out now!”

Set a goal

It’s usually easier for me to rationalize the days I miss by setting a goal of days to ride to work per week. As much as I would love to ride everyday, it simple isn’t possible for various reasons (see no excuses, above). Tell yourself how many days you will aim for.  My current goal is 4 days of total riding. That is counting weekends (I like riding on the weekends).  But, make sure to start with a target you can hit. Once you make it consistent, you can change it up by adding one more day. Over time, your prep time and clean up time (at work) will become streamlined, so it will be easier to achieve the next level up.

Just Do It

This is more than just a marketing slogan. Sometimes, you just have to kick yourself in the pants and get out there no matter how unprepared you are. This is what happened to me way back when I first started. I had do idea about the preparation involved. I just wanted to ride my bike, lock it up at work, and get back to it after work. If someone isn’t going to kick your ass, then you just have to do it yourself.

Feel free to share any other general tips for riding your bike to work! I find that this is the most enjoyable time of the day. I find the riding not only improves my physical health, but my mental health as well since I’m dealing with minimal traffic, and there is more time to decompress after a stressful day at the office.  Also, the fact that you are an active participant in your journey home helps take your mind off work, whereas when you drive, you use much less brain power toward the act of driving. But, most importantly, you should look forward to it…riding a bike is something everyone should enjoy on a regular basis.




One response

31 01 2008

It’s not cold in Arizona! What are you talking about? 🙂

Thanks for the tips. I moved within biking distance of school. I have no excuses now.

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