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06/01/2011

The Carbon-Friendly Commute: Bicycling

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Bicycling to work 

Biking to work may not be the most practical option for all of us - especially those of us who wear skirts on occasion, or need to drop the kids off at daycare - but it remains an option. If you're one of the brave few who strap on a helmet daily, we've provided a reminder round-up of safety tips to keep in mind. 

And for those of you who have never even considered biking to work, give it a second thought. With gas prices skyrocketing, it's a sure way to save some cash and get a good workout in at the same time! 

1. Be bike safe (and smart)
Just like you would tune-up your car before a trip, take stock of your bicycle and take time for proper maintenance.  For more tips, visit the League of American Bicyclists.

  • Wear a helmet
  • Check the air pressure in both tires; know what pressure is best for your tires and your terrain
  • Pack a portable pump and extra inner tubes or a patch kit so you are ready to fix a flat
  • Know the bicycle safety and traffic laws for your area 

2. Turn your bicycle into the ultimate commuter
Forgo the racks or panniers and opt for a lightweight trailer like this one from BOB.

  • Easily attaches to your bicycle’s back wheel
  • Has a low center of gravity to keep weight off of your bicycle frame, which means better bike handling
  • Tracks with your back wheel, which means it’s easy to navigate your commuter route
  • Provides plenty of storage capacity for all of your gear, plus anything you need to pick up along the way

3. Dress for commuter success
When commuting by bicycle, be prepared by anticipating changes in weather and wearing comfortable clothing. These factors can make or break an enjoyable commute. 

  • Dress in layers made of breathable fabrics.  It may start out cooler at the beginning of your morning ride, but you’ll warm up quickly and may want to shed layers
  • If your ride is longer, consider wearing bicycling shorts
  • Don’t forget to tie down your right pant leg – your drive train can easily chew up loose fabric
  • Shoes should be sturdy with rubber soles to provide traction on pedals

4. Map your ride
Find the best bike route and get mentally prepared using Google's Bicycling Directions. Even take a virtual ride before you go.

5. Pack up essentials
Take a few minutes and consider what you’ll need to make it easy, convenient and fun:

  • A change of clothes or shoes
  • A travel set of toiletries such as deodorant, hair brush and cleansing body-freshening wipes to transition from the bike lane to the office setting
  • Pack your lunch and snacks to maintain energy throughout the day

For more earth-friendly transportation ideas, visit our Road & Travel Magazine partner, Planet Driven.

(Source: BOB Gear)

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