• Sun, May 12 - 1:09 pm ET

Skip the Subway: Tips for Bike Commuting to Work

bike gear

Want to hop on the bike-commuter trend?  May is Bike Month in NYC so whether you’re in New York or somewhere else, now is the perfect time to skip the subway or car ride and head out via bike. Before you get started, here are some safety (and fashion!) tips to ensure a safe and fun bike-commuting ride:

Prepare: Before jumping on your bike, make sure you know a safe route. Look online for bike lanes and low-traffic streets to get you to your destination. Check to see where you can put your bike once you’re at work. Some offices have bike rooms, which is ideal, but if your office doesn’t, see if there is a safe place to lock your bike up outside (and invest in a good lock!). Some offices won’t allow you to bring your bike into the building so make sure you figure out exactly where your bike is going to go before you ride to work.

Be an efficient packer. Can you leave your regular shoes or a change of clothes at work? Little things like that wil make your ride more pleasant. As you pack, make sure you have a flat tire kit just in case (and learn how to change one). Check out the Game Ready backpack by Roxy which folds away into one if it’s pockets, have the bag when you need it, stash it away when you don’t.

Pick Your Bike: There are hundreds of bikes to choose from, so make sure you end up with one that works for your route. Schwinn has a wide variety, the Rendezvous 2 ($650) and the Cutter ($440) are my favorites. The Rendezvous 2 allows you to ride in a more upright position and has a 7-speed drivetrain, plus it has a coffee cup holder, what could be better (but don’t drink and ride! Sip your coffee when not in motion). The Cutter is a more aggressive ride, styled like a messenger bike. If your ride to work takes a bit more agility than cruising, go for the Cutter. Bike share programs are popping up in various cities so if you aren’t ready to commit to buying a bike yet, see what your city as to offer (here is New York’s program).

Dress Appropriately: Biking in a skirt? No thank you! Think about your outfit ahead of time and figure out what will work as a biking outfit and an office outfit (depending on how formal your office is, this will vary). Layering pieces is key. So if you want to wear a skirk to work, throw on a pair of leggings underneath for the ride (or put the skirt in a backpack and change once you’re at the office). Keep in mind the weather might change from morning to evening so be prepared with a jacket. MPG’s Furtive jacket ($118) is perfect, you can wear it at two different lengths so as you ride have it rolled up, then make it longer during the day. If you want a sportier look, go for Sugoi’s HydroLite jacket ($100), it’s super light and packable so you can stash it in your bag if it gets too warm. Lululemon recently released new biking gear. It’s designed for a more serious ride but also is perfect for layering during your commuting ride.

Safety Tips: Most importantly, let’s make these rides safe. Always ride with a helmet. Worried it’s going to mess up your hair? Use the Cannondale Teramo helmet ($119.99), which is pony-tail friendly. Or check out Schwinn’s complete line which offers a wide range of styles and pricing (and it’s available at Walmart & Target). Not sure when you’ll be leaving work? If it might be dark, add lights to your bike and wear light colors. Always keep an eye on the weather. if there’s a chance of storms, perhaps skip your ride that day.  Make sure your bike has a bell and always obey the bike & traffic laws.

Biking to work can make for a relaxing start and end to your day, just make sure you’re prepared and enjoy the ride!

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  • Eileen

    I wouldn’t try to wear a work-friendly outfit on your bike – anything that’s going to look appropriate at work is going to get in your way while cycling…not to mention you will probably get your outfit wrinkled and sweaty. Plan to get to work ten minutes early (that’s another thing – make sure you have a decent idea how long it’s going to take you, and give yourself extra time until you’ve been at it for awhile) and change once you’re there. Spandex is your best friend while cycling, but it’s not work appropriate.