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There are plenty of great reasons to ride a bicycle rather than drive to work. First in many people's minds is saving money. With the cost of gasoline, car payments, and insurance rising, it makes commuting by bicycle more attractive every day. Second, it is a fun and useful way to get exercise to keep your heart, lungs, and muscular system strong. Another reason that people use is the effect on our environment. There is less usage of fossil fuels and less greenhouse gas used per mile of bike commuting when compared to driving an automobile.
Bicycle commuting offers many physical health benefits as a form of exercise. Avoid a "chain ring tattoo" on your office pants by wearing bike shorts or cycling pants. If your commute is longer than 3 or 4 miles, we suggest using cycling shorts (or liner shorts) with a chamois padding to make the ride more pleasant. Bike shorts are available in both the sleek, body-hugging road-racing style and the looser, laid back mountain-bike style. A moisture-wicking top is also a good choice because it will help keep you cool and dry when it's warm.
Biking in the rain can be miserable without the right apparel. A poncho can be dangerous with windy weather and has a chance of catching in the bike gears. For most commuters, an investment in a Waterproof/breathable Jacket, Tights, and Cold Weather Accessories makes the ride to and from work a whole lot more comfortable. Even fair-weather-only bike commuters should be prepared for a surprise rain shower.
Tire Repair: A part of commuting by bicycle. No matter how careful you are, there will be a time when you get a flat tire. This happens more often when riding in the city streets where there can be scrap metal, potholes, and other road hazards that can cause flat tires.
Many experienced commuters use a tire repair kit that they keep in a seat pack at all times.
Spare Tubes: Always carry at least one spare tube with you. I know you want to talk about how good your patch kit is but understand that there is no substitute for a full size spare. Often times there will be situations where a tube can be patched. I advocate for carrying a lightweight patch kit and a spare tube in your seat bag.
Pump: You are going to need to inflate your tires at some point whether it be due to a flat tire that was just repaired or maybe that your tires are just a little low. CO2 cartridges can be a real time saver and take up less space in your bag but they are generally more expensive and less green than a simple mini-pump attached to your frame or stashed into your commuter bag.
Tire Levers: These will help you remove the tire from your wheel rim so you can access the inner tube. A good set of plastic levers are usually cheap and sometimes can be found for free from the right bike shop or bike expo. Without a set of these levers you will have a rough time trying to change a flat.
Tools: I would advise every commuter to carry a cycling specific multi tool for small repairs and adjustments. It would be advised to buy something that is not too bulky as to weigh down your bag but have the right tools for commuters. There are hundreds of options out there, be careful these can get expensive quickly when you start counting the grams.
Cash: ALWAYS, ALWAYS carry a 10 dollar bill in your seat bag. And when you spend it, replace it. It can be used to seal a torn tire, or used to purchase a snack if you bonk on the road.
Join the Commuter Movement
Bicycles are used for transportation and commuting all over the world. China and the Netherlands are both deeply endowed with bicycle infrastructure. In the U.S. bicycle commuters have been at risk on public roadways, so there are hard-working advocates who are dedicated to allocating a portion of our transportation budget to make space on public roadways that are safe for commuters. Ideal roads separate auto and bicycle traffic. One example is the green trails that keep commuters safe from motorized vehicles.
Expect it will take time to get used to riding in traffic -- perhaps 10,000 miles to learn by yourself; 5,000 miles if you get help or 2,000 miles if you take a safety course. Find a buddy, if you can, start riding, and have fun. The best time to start is now!
A separate bicycle lane is the best and safest commute through city streets rather than as traffic participants. Many motors do not have an acceptance of cyclists on the same road as automobiles. They may be well informed about cycling and thinks cyclists should not be on the road. They may honk and point at the sidewalk to show where you "belong".
This risky mindset is mitigated when a cycle community designates roads as "share the road" with signs, share-arrows and road paint until the bike path is an accepted part of the local traffic patterns. Join the movement for better bicycling! http://www.peopleforbikes.org/