Most beginning cyclists push too big a gear; down shift and spin a smaller gear
Low cadence will cause you to fatigue faster and might cause knee pain
Try to spin about 90 rpms; you'll have more energy and get a better workout
When stopped, don't push off the ground to get started
Leave one pedal in the two o'clock position; push down when you are ready to go
You'll have enough momentum to balance and put your other foot on the pedal
You should be comfortable while you ride
Relax while you ride; it takes energy to grip the handlebar in fear
Change hand positions often, slightly bend your elbows, stretch your neck while riding
Don't rock the boat
Make sure that your saddle (the seat) height is adjusted properly
Too high and your hips rock; too low causes knee pain
You should have a slight bend in your knee at the bottom of the pedal stroke
Skip the soft shoes
Soft-soled shoes absorb pedaling energy and slow you down
Stiff-soled cycling shoes help you transfer more energy to forward motion
Toe clips and clipless pedals attach your foot to the pedal, which increases efficiency
Red light, green light
Restarting from a stop uses more energy than slowing and not stopping
Time it so that you hit the intersection on green so you don't have to stop
Make sure that you are aware of how your actions affect other vehicles around you
Avoid the wall
Listen to your body while you ride to avoid hitting the wall of exhaustion
Eat before you are hungry and drink before you are thirsty to avoid fatigue
If you experience a lightheaded feeling, get off the bike and get some fluids
I'm out of shape
Ride at an easy pace; in a few months you'll be in great shape
Ride your route on a weekend to find the easiest way to work
You'll improve your fitness level when you become a regular bike commuter
It takes too long
The average commuter travels at 10 mph; the more you ride the faster you'll get
Trips of less than three miles will be quicker by bike
Trips of five to seven miles may take the same time or less than by car
It's too far
Try riding to work and taking mass transit home, then alternating the next day
Combine riding and busing to shorten your commute
Ride to a co-worker's house and carpool to work
No bike parking
Look around for a storage area in your building or office
Stash your bike in a covered, secure place such as a closet or even your office
Formally request that your employer provide bike parking or lock it up outside
My bike is beat up
Biking isn't a beauty contest. Even ugly bikes ride well when given a tune up.
If you can't maintain your bike yourself, there are numerous local shops that can work on it
Make sure your bike is reliable and in good working order before you start riding
Most commuters don't shower at work; ride at an easy pace to stay cool and dry
Keep a small supply of toiletries at your worksite to freshen up if you feel the need
If you have a work neighbor with showers, ask about the possibility of using them
I have to dress up
Keep multiple sets of clothing at work; rotate them on days you drive
If you have a short commute, ride in your clothes at a relaxed pace
Pack clothes with you and change at work; try rolling clothes instead of folding
Identify a laundry close to work where you can bring your clothes and pick up for a fresh change
I can't predict the weather
Fenders and rain gear will keep you plenty dry in wet weather
If you're at work, take transit or carpool to get home - you can bicycle home the next day
I have to run errands
Bolt a rack to the back of your bike to add carrying capacity
Allow yourself a little extra time to get to scheduled appointments and find parking
People will be impressed when they learn you do your errands on a bike
Schedule your errands for certain days of the week and ride your bike on other days
Bike to Work Tips
Bike to Work Tip #1 Remember to smile as you bicycle past the rows of cars waiting at the intersection - it's just polite.
Bike to Work Tip #2 Most people don't need to shower after a morning commute. But if you want to freshen up, a few toiletries like a washcloth, hand towel, brush or comb are convenient to keep at your desk and easy to use.
Bike to Work Tip #3 Your skull is only about as thick as a dinner plate - and about as fragile. Consider wearing a helmet whenever you ride.
Bike to Work Tip #4 Bicycling to work can be part of the 90 minutes of activity health officials deem necessary to lose weight.
Bike to Work Tip #5 The right tire pressure will help you avoid flats, ride smoother and coast farther. Check your pressure once a week to ensure your tires are properly inflated.
Bike to Work Tip #6 To find an easy and safe bike route for your commute, check your city's bike map before you start to ride. Many are located on the web under city offices.
Bike to Work Tip #7 Eat ... peddle ... eat ... peddle ... eat ... peddle. Don't miss one of the breakfast stations in your community.
Bike to Work Tip #8 Test your senses. Try to identify the different aromas you smell on your daily ride - you'll be amazed at the varieties of flowers in your community.
Bike to Work Tip #9 Motorists are accustomed to watching for large vehicles. Make you and your bike look big by wearing as much reflective clothing as possible.
Bike to Work Tip #10 Never ride against traffic! Ride in the right hand lane with the flow of traffic. Bicycling against the flow of traffic is against the law and extremely dangerous because motor vehicle drivers are not expecting wrong-way traffic. Riding the wrong way increases the chance of a head-on collision with vehicles moving with the normal traffic flow.
Bike to Work Tip #11 Ride as close to the right side of the right lane as safe and practical when being overtaken by another vehicle. Riding on the right doesn't mean hugging the curb or edge of the road. This is not the best place to ride because if you hit the curb or edge of the pavement, you might lose your balance and fall into traffic.
Bike to Work Tip #12 Ride in a straight line. Riding predictably makes you more visible to motorists. It's also easier for a motor vehicle to pass when you're riding in a straight line. Don't weave in and out of parked cars - you may disappear from motorists' sight and get squeezed out or clipped when you need to merge back into traffic.
Bike to Work Tip #13 You don't have to be an athlete to ride a bike to work. Get out and ride just for the fun of it.
Bike to Work Tip #14 No pre-determined schedules. No waiting. No clocks to watch. Enjoy the fun and freedom of riding a bike to work. Anyone can do it.
Bike to Work Tip #15 Too far to commute by bike? Consider riding to the closest bus stop and busing it from there.
Bike to Work Tip #16 Riding one-handed can be dangerous. Resist eating your morning bagel until you get to work.
Bike to Work Tip #17 Challenge your friends to see who can ride the most consecutive number of days. You may be surprised at how motivational a little competition can be.
Bike to Work Tip #18 Be a role model to your kids - wear your bike helmet.
Bike to Work Tip #19 Protect your manicured tootsies. Wear full-coverage shoes instead of sandals when you ride.
Bike to Work Tip #20 Have fun. Enjoy Bike to Work Day on June 25th.
Ideas for Promoting Biking to Work in Your Organization
Hang Bike Month Posters in Visible Places Have fun hanging bike month posters wherever possible -- hallways, lunch, rooms, elevators, bathroom doors -- wherever people tend to congregate or walk by. Make a game of it by asking others to hang a poster in an unlikely, but useful place.
Get the Word Out Display a Bike Month t-shirt with bike map, balloons, etc.; include articles about bicycle commuting in your company newsletter; make presentations at staff meetings; encourage participation through memos, e-mail, phone messages and announcements.
Make It Easy To Participate
Identify secure bike parking options.
Get management involved - recruit top-level individuals to ride and encourage others.
Encourage co-workers to register and participate. Provide low-cost incentives to participants
Commuter Convoys or Bike Buddies Encourage the development of "commuter partners" - riders to pair up and commute together on their bikes (these can be paired by experience, route, location, or whatever other designation you choose). List partners and routes on company intranet or bulletin boards so others can participate.
Technology Talks E-mails are a great way to distribute quick and timely information. Use some of the Bike to Work tips included on your CD to attract attention, or dream up your own. Give people reminders for events, lunches, activities you plan or hear about. Help people remember to register for Bike Month.
Create various challenges in your workplace such as
Older employees vs. younger
Management vs. staff
Department vs. department
Collect a small dollar amount or prize from each department or participant. The winners get to split the pot. Other prize versions could be time off, lunch served by the department or individuals with the least number of days; a donated prize from a local restaurant or store, etc.
Create fun and easy awards for special achievements
Riding every day of the week
Riding the longest distance
Riding the shortest distance
Always wearing a helmet
Rider with best decorated bicycle
Distribute "I biked to work today" stickers
Start the Day Right Host a morning "pit-stop". Energize your employees as they arrive to work with fresh coffee, bagels, fruit or juice. Keep it simple.
Finish the Day with Ease Invite riders to an after work/before commute snack of juice, cheese and crackers.
Drawings for Prizes Solicit local businesses for give-away rewards (restaurant certificates, movie passes, ice cream cone certificates). For everyone who bicycle commutes, put their names in a hat and draw daily or weekly prizes. You can also solicit staff members to provide prizes such as a plate of home cooked brownies, running an errand, making the morning coffee for a week, etc.
Use the Lunch Hour Develop brown-bag lunches during the month to discuss bicycle commuting tips. Share this time to watch a bike maintenance video, or review a book. Ask one of your experienced riders to help present information on subjects such as:
What to wear
How to select a route
How to freshen up at the work place
What to do with "helmet hair"
Commuters of the Year Nominate outstanding users of alternative transportation and encourage co-workers to vote for the Commuter of the Year. Develop categories such as
Most consistent commuter
Commuter to ride in the worst weather
Rookie commuter, etc.
Promote Family Biking Host a bicycle rodeo for co-workers' children. Rodeos are fun to present and a great way for kids to learn the rules of the road, balance and other important riding skills.
Bicycle Fashion Show Ask people to wear their craziest biking outfit, then judge the winners for a prize. Instead of the craziest outfit, select a theme of your own choosing -- warmest bike outfit, coolest, most colorful, safest, most layered outfit, etc.
Helmet Decorating Contest Ask co-workers to bring in their old helmets and decorate them for a prize. Provide simple craft materials such as glue, crepe paper, sparkles, pipe cleaners, etc. Display the winning helmet in a prominent location.
Sample Newsletter and E-mail Blurbs
June is Bike Month
This June is your opportunity to experience the fun and freedom of using a bicycle for transportation and recreation, because Bike Month is back in full force throughout Colorado.
In its tenth year, Bike Month provides activities for the entire family at all levels and abilities. From sanctioned races to bike parades, from breakfast rides to safety fairs and bike safety checks, from leisure rides to mountain bike clinics - there's lots to do to motivate and excite people about bicycling.
While Bike Month offers lots of bicycle opportunities, its main focus is to encourage bicycle riding as a viable alternative to driving one's car. With all the resources available to us, Bike Month is the perfect opportunity to experience riding to work, school and errands.
Bike to Work Day occurs annually every third Wednesday of June. Enjoy the fresh air and exercise of riding your bike to work. Join thousands of others who are making the change from driving alone to riding a bike to work. But don't stop there, consider riding one day a week every week and help reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, and put a smile on your face.