The Two-Wheel Commute

If you think that “looking forward to your daily commute” sounds outrageous, you’re probably thinking about mind-numbing, stress-inducing, bumper-to-bumper travel. Change your mindset to bike commuting—the kind that lands you at your desk invigorated, mentally sharp, and high on endorphins. To make sure the experience is a positive one that you’re eager to reproduce daily, read on.

Avoid Peak Car-Travel Hours
Road safety is a common concern for bike commuters. If your job allows it, shift your schedule to miss peak rush-hour traffic. Also, consider small detours on designated bike routes or the city’s trail system, making your trips not only safer but also more enjoyable.

Don't Expect the World to Revolve Around You
Obey traffic laws! Playing by the rules will garner respect from motorists. At night, blinking lights and reflective tape really help. For winter riding, studded tires are worth the expense. Finally, take defensive riding to the extreme; unless you make eye contact with a motorist, assume they can’t see you.

Dress for Success
If you have a long commute and don’t have access to a shower at work, a change of clothes is good way to go. Don’t overdress, and remember to ride at a reasonable pace. Vests protect your core from cold wind but allow plenty of ventilation. A bike rack with a basket alleviates the sweaty backpack issue. For cold mornings, a jacket or sweatshirt with a hood that fits over your helmet is more comfortable and breathable, and it’s just as warm as wearing a hat under your helmet.

Your Dream Machine
A decent bike goes a long way toward making bike commuting a pleasurable experience. Fortunately, decent does not mean expensive. If you're going to invest in a bike, simpler is generally better. The most important purchase you can make is in a good set of fenders. If you think fenders are geeky, get over it. Go for maximum coverage—the longer the better. After all, water falling from the sky is no big deal, but dirt, oil, and grime from the road is a problem. Fenders keep you and your bike clean so you can ride every day, lose the parking permit, and really make a dent in your gas expenses. Pretty soon, $50 fenders start to look really cheap.

When you wake up “less than excited” to get on your bike, remember what a fellow bike commuter recently shared, “I have commuted in the predawn in all sorts of weather. I often dread the morning ride, but I never regret a single one.”