It's Active Commute Week in Grand Rapids, and you're probably one day into five fruitful days of smart commuting. If you're going by bike, we've got some ideas to make it more fun.
If you're riding your bike to work for the first time, there might be some uncomfortable things you're not digging. From what to ride, what to wear, and how to get there, it's easy to get a bit turned off at the idea of rolling to the office late, sweaty, and tired. But it ain't gotta be that way! We've got a few tips that'll make your roll to work funner-er than ever before.
1. Get going! Leave two minutes before you think you need to. This is useful on both ends of your journey. Giving yourself a bit more time takes the stress out of the ride, so you can enjoy the pedaling and allows for any issues with stop lights, crosswalks and other travel issues. Since those probably aren't going to slow you up, it also gives you a few minutes to lock up and change before you hit your desk.
2. Freshen up. If your place of work doesn't have a shower, don't worry. One way to make sure you don't smell is to stash some cooling wipes at your desk. They'll help you cool off and get the worst of your sweat, too. Of course, keeping a stick of deodorant either in your back or at work is also a pretty easy to way to smell like an Irish Spring, rather than a Kent County Ditch.
3. Two shirts. Pack your nice attire, wear something else. Especially if you're using a backpack, your shirt is bound to get a little perspiration in the pits and back. Wear a light jersey or active t-shirt to stay cool, and toss on your nice Armani dress shirt when you're at your destination. At the end of the day, change again and your snappy shirt stays clean!
4. Racks vs. Panniers vs. Backpacks. This totally depends on your commute and plans. Having your bike set up with a rear rack or a rear rack with panniers greatly increases your carrying capacity, but also your comfort. It also makes it easier to work in daily errands into your commute, saving you time. Panniers make it easier to stop for a few groceries on the way home, or transport other things you'll need throughout the day. For most day-to-day commutes, a good backpack should be enough, plus it means you can keep your bike nice and light in case you're heading out to train or join a group ride when you leave the office.
5. Be safe. Wear a helmet, and we strongly encourage daytime lights, especially a rear blinker. If you're riding during morning and evening rush hours, making yourself as visible as possible makes the roads safer for you and for all cyclists. Know the rules of the road and ride defensively...and make sure you smile and wave to everyone. Let's get those good vibes going with everyone on the trail and roads.