Using your bike for more trips can be a ton of fun. Read this post to learn some tips and tricks to get you started on your next cycling adventure!
This is a guest post from Erin, one of our brand ambassadors in Washington DC.
My bike is my main form of transportation around the Washington DC area. Over the past few years, I’ve gone from a “sometimes casual rider” to a “bike everywhere!” kind of woman. I bike to work, to run errands, to hang out with friends, and of course, just for fun!
Since biking for transportation has become such an integral part of my life, and something that really keeps me happy and lowers my stress levels, I wanted to share a few tips I’ve learned over the years on how to use your bike for more kinds of trips.
Learn how to ride safely: Many organizations offer classes on biking safely. For example, in Washington DC and the surrounding suburbs, the Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA) offers City Cycling Classes at a very low cost or free. If you want to improve your confidence biking for transportation in urban or suburban settings, or even just learn HOW to ride a bike, taking a class is a great place to start!
Dress for success: You definitely don’t need tons of spandex if you’re biking for transportation. The #YesIBikedInThis Campaign was a great example of all the fun types of outfits you can wear biking. If you’re like me and like to wear padded bike shorts, you can check out stores like REI or your local bike shop, where you’ll find a great selection of cycling friendly shorts, skirts and dresses that can accommodate bike shorts underneath.
Have the right bag: My Po Campo Bergen Pannier is my go-to bag. It’s professional looking, and large enough to fit my laptop, wallet, and anything else I need while I’m out and about on a workday, running errands, or hanging out with friends. On top of the usual groceries and office supplies, I’ve easily carried sunflowers, fruit and veggies from the farmers market, house plants, and all sorts of baked goods on my bike by using bungee cords and a mix of bags on my back rack. If you check out this blog post, you can learn even more about how to carry stuff on your bike when you’re biking for transportation!
- Map it out: If you want to bike to new and exciting destinations, you have plenty of options to help you get there. Google Maps has a bike route mode, which I often connect via blue tooth to my bike speaker so I know when my turn is coming up. Many bike computers also have map functions you can use to create routes so you can see your upcoming turns. Biking for transportation is easy and fun with a just a little bit of planning ahead.
- Utilize multi-modal options: You can go on even more bike adventures if you take advantage of multi-modal options. For example, buses or trains can help get you and your bike to and from places you might not be able to get to by bike alone. In Washington DC, most buses have bike racks, and the metro system allows bikes during non-peak hours. You can even take your bike to and from Baltimore from DC on the weekends using the MARC train’s bike car! I recently biked from Northern Virginia to the Maryland Renaissance festival, and used the MARC train to come home at night.
- Be prepared for the unexpected: Especially now that it’s fall and getting dark earlier, you want to always have a bike light ready and charged for those times you want to keep hanging out with friends, get stuck at the office late, or want to go to a late night concert or sports game. I recently biked to see Ed Sheeren in concert, and biked home safely afterwards thanks packing my bike lights. I’m also a fan of always carrying a spare tube, bike tool and CO2 cartridge on my bike. You never know when you might need them. If don’t know how to change a flat or do basic bike repairs, check out your local bike shop. Most offer free or low cost classes on basic bike maintenance.
Erin is an avid bike commuter and recreational cyclist, gardener, and quilter. Erin is a Detroit native who lives in Washington DC.