Q: How do I get started? Maybe you haven't been on your bike for a long time. Pull it out of the garage, give it a tune-up (or take it to a shop for a tune-up) and climb back in the saddle. On that first sweet downhill, you will remember why everyone loves to ride a bike!
Set reasonable goals! Start off riding once or twice a week. When you meet that goal, add another day. And don't make yourself miserable, if you don't like to ride in the rain, don't! In the summer, try to ride early when it is cool. On hot days, adjust your pace. YOU CAN DO THIS! And once you get started, the riding will become its own reward! Q: How do I find a good route to commute to my job? Go for a test ride on your commute route. Give it a try on a weekend, when there is not a lot of traffic. Unsure of your route? Contact one of our Bike Buddies, they can help you plan your route and even meet you on your commute. Or check our Map of Routes Used by Bike Commuters (this map is best viewed on line, using the zoom feature. However, if you can't see the routes on the map, try saving it to your computer and reopening it.) Another useful map is the DOT online map .. Once on the home page, click on the map navigation link. (once there, if you click on "east coast greenways", the map will show some of the trail system.)
Is your route longer than you are comfortable with? Why not try "Bike 'n Bus"? Bike to a commuter parking lot then put your bike on the bus bike rack. Or "park ‘n cycle". Leave your car in a commuter parking lot and then bike the rest of the way. Click here for a listing of the park 'n ride locations Q: What are the rules of the road for cyclists? Check out the Connecticut Bicycle Statutes - Its always good to know what the laws are regarding bicycles. Your locality may have regulations of its own (ex. rules about riding on sidewalks). Also, check the CT Online Driver's Manual Bicycles follow the motor vehicle code. Every time you obey a traffic signal/sign, you reinforce the fact that bikes follow the vehicle code. Every time you skip a stop sign or ride through a red light, you raise the question: where do bikes belong? Let's show we belong on the roads: OBEY TRAFFIC LAWS!Check our TipsPageto learn how to operate safely on the road.
Q: Don't I need an expensive bike and specialized clothes? Any bike in good, safe mechanical condition and clothes suitable to the weather will do. You will probably want some kind of storage system on your bike - a rack and panniers work well. Some people like to use a backpack. Be sure to wear a helmet and have a lock.
Q: Do I have to carry that big stupid bike lock to work every day? If you use the same rack every day, just leave you lock there - but don't forget your key. Not carrying your lock saves a lot of weight on you and room in your bags. Some people actually have several locks that they leave in the two or three most common of their destinations.
Q: I live 25 miles from work. How could I bike to work? You can park ‘n ride your bike from one of the many free commuter lots. Drive to a lot that is located at a comfortable biking distance from work, park your car and bike the rest of the way. This has the added advantage that if something comes up or the weather turns bad, you can leave your bike at work and take the bus home. If you park at a CT TransitPark 'n Ride you can take your bike home on the bus's bike rack. Of course, after riding for awhile, you may find you want to make that 25 mile bike trip once a week!
Q: How can I find someone else to ride in with? Contact one of our Bike Buddies to see if you can meet along the way.
Q: How can I bike to work with my busy schedule? Consider the traffic on your route and the length of your trip. Many people find that bike commuting only adds a few minutes to their commute time. And they have the added bonus that they have made time for a workout in their busy day.
Q: There is no shower at my office. Where should I clean up? For a short commute, you may find that you don't need to shower. Often just "freshening up" and changing your clothes is sufficient. For those who work downtown, if you do need to shower, Fitness Squared (located next to the Old state House) has agreed to let bike commuters use their showers on bike to work days and the Downtown Hartford YMCA has agreed to make their shower facilities available to bike commuters any day you commute by bike.
Another option if you are changing in a restroom (or large handicapped stall) is to pack handi-wipes or some type of alcohol wipe with your change of clothes. This is good for a quick sanitization of areas most likely to get fragrant. Its also good to keep a spare pair of socks and a deodorant bar in your desk drawer.
Q: What about my work clothes? Different bikers use different strategies. Some bike in their work clothes. For a more strenuous commute, you can carry your change of clothes in a pack or a bag on your bike (bike rack with panniers). Or, on non-biking days you can bring several days of work clothes for your bike commute days.
Q: What if I'm out of shape? Ease yourself into biking. If you go at an easy pace, you will find biking no more strenuous than walking. And you will be surprised by how quickly your body responds and is capable of more.
Q: What if there's no place to lock up? You might be able to take your bike right up into your office. Check on nearby parking garages, many of them have bike racks. Otherwise, lock your bike to an immovable object, use a cable or U-Lock, and for extra security, be sure it is in a visible location. Stay away from building exits and stairs, or you may block a fire exit and your bike won't be there when you get back.
Q: What do I do if it rains? A raincoat and a shot of lube on the bike's working parts will keep both you and the bike from rusting. But don't make yourself miserable, if you don't like to ride in the rain, don't!
Q: Is commuting by bicycle dangerous? Like any outdoor activity, there are risks. Don't forget there are also risks involved with driving and most other activities we undertake on a daily basis.
Remember, the best strategy for safe cycling is to follow the rules of the road and be predictable. Cyclists should follow the vehicle code, obeying traffic control and riding on the right side of the road. If you ride when it is dark, be sure you have adequate front and rear lights. Remember, Bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.
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