Gasoline skyrocketing, rush hour traffic, little time to train, and much more. There is no shortage of reasons to start commuting by bike. Yet despite the enthusiasm, there never seems to be a good time to start. Also, you are afraid of the issues that could arise during the journey, creating many inconveniences. So, here are 10 tips for you to follow before getting in the saddle, or to review if you are already a regular commuter.
1. Choose a bike for commuting
Just to leave the car in the garage, any type of bike can be ridden for your urban trips, or at least to begin. Since every type of bicycle is meant for a specific use, and commuting is one of them, to enjoy your outing in the most comfortable way, it will be good to choose the right bike. Even better if it is an urban e-bike such as NOKOTEMPO and NOKOFORZA e-bike models. A little help can come in handy when we are particularly tired, avoiding sweating when the route involves a bit more tiring sections.
Urban bikes are easy to recognize, and hundreds of them are already present around the city. They are distinguished by the classic riser handlebar, for those looking for maximum comfort, or a flat, which ensures excellent driving control. The fenders cannot be missing, to protect you from splashes that could come from other traffic users, or if you cycle over a puddle. And to be complete, a city bike must have a luggage rack where you can place your bag or backpack, thus avoiding sweating to carry it on your shoulders.
2. Wear the right clothing
For cycling commuting or recreational cycling you will not need to wear technical cycling clothing. Depending on the distance of your commute, you may be able to travel in your daily or work clothes. In addition, by following our useful tips, you will be able to pedal in total comfort, and above all, to feel at ease once you arrive at your destination. Especially during this season, be well prepared to face the cold weather, the rainy and/or snowy days that you will inevitably encounter. As we have already talked about winter clothing, our advice is to dress in layers, and invest in some smart clothes to keep you warm and dry.
If you bike to work, always carry a change of clothing with you! Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to take a shower as soon as they arrive at work, so it’s best to be ready if needed. If you have the option, it could be a good idea to keep some spare clothes in a locker in your office to have them on hand right away. The same goes for a spare pair of shoes that you may be leaving permanently at your workplace. Of course, changing is not mandatory, but definitely useful, if not necessary, especially in case of rain or high temperatures.
3. Drive safely
Drive safely and obey the traffic laws first of all. If you travel early in the morning or in the evening when it is dark outside and visibility is poor, turn on the lights and wear something reflective. Whether it’s a jacket or bands, the important thing is to make yourself visible.
To protect your head and the wonderful ideas in the unfortunate event of an accident, wear a helmet during all your cycling trips, even the short ones. If you worry about looking messed up in front of your boss and colleagues, bring a brush or comb with you to make up for it as soon as you get to the office.
When you are near an intersection, it is a good rule to slow down: you never know what obstacles you may encounter and you may need to brake suddenly. How do they say, prevention is better than cure, right?
Sometimes, it may happen that you might be running late for work or for an important appointment. Even if you might be tempted to go fast, it is better to avoid getting hurt and to drive safely. We recommend leaving home 10 minutes earlier than usual and allowing some extra time in case of unforeseen events, and avoiding the risk of running late. And of course, needless to say, pay attention to cars, and pedestrians who might cross without looking.
4. Plan your route in advance
Planning your route in advance is a good solution to arriving on time at your destination. When calculating the time, you will take on your commute, keep in mind the traffic you might encounter especially when traveling during rush hour. Alternatively, you could consider roads outside the city, perhaps longer but less busy, surrounded by greenery and without smog.
You could try the alternative route for your commute on an off day, to learn the new roads in the smallest details; know where there are bike shops along the road, areas to safely stop if needed, or even just a café to stop on the way to work. In such a way, you will be able to tackle the journey to work worry-free.
5. Do a general check before every ride
Before jumping on the saddle, take a look at all the components of your bike, with particular attention to the brakes, tires, and drivetrain. Do some braking tests to make sure they are working properly. If you notice anything odd, make sure you take your bike to your trusted mechanic. Better to avoid nasty surprises when you are near that famous intersection! Check if the tires are deflated, and inflate them if needed, based on the ideal pressure, which can be read on the tires (expressed in bars). Take a look at the transmission components, making sure that the chain or belt tension is in place. Take a look at the transmission components, making sure that the chain or belt tension is in place.
If you travel by e-bike, check the battery level before each ride. Nobody knows the range of your e-bike battery better than you; if you think you need to recharge it, make sure it is done prior to riding out. Keep in mind, with NOKO you can travel an average of 70-100 Km, depending on the route and other factors. If during the check-up you notice that a component does not meet the operating requirements, do not use your bike until the issue has been repaired!
6. Prepare a repair kit
Prepare your repair kit and always carry it with you in a saddlebag. Here are the tools to always keep with you:
- hex keys
- levers to change the tire
- spare air chamber
- anti-puncture patches
- Co2 cartridge with dispenser
These are the main tools that can always assist you and make sure you are able to get back home.
7. Learn to change a tire
IIf you haven’t learned how to change a tire yet, now is the time to do it. We hope you won’t need to, but it is important to know how to, just in case it happens, at any time and in any weather condition. Not all the roads you travel on will be smooth and free from pointed or sharp objects which might damage and puncture your wheel. Knowing how to change a tire quickly and easily will come in handy, trust us.
8. Perform regular maintenance
Few things can spoil a cyclist’s mood more than a bike that doesn’t work perfectly. Inaccurate gear changes or annoying noises could ruin your bike rides. If you are a regular commuter, we recommend that you have your bike inspected by a mechanic every six months or so, and whenever you think it is necessary.
9. Protect your bike from bicycle thieves
Bartolini already wrote about it in 1946, also inspiring the film of the same name. Bicycle theft is a big problem, especially in cities with higher theft rates. Even the most discreet commuting bike can appeal to a “bicycle thief”! Our suggestion is to carry with you a padlock with a high level of security, or a modern GPS anti-theft device, to monitor your bike in real-time. On the market, there are different brands and ranges, you just need to choose the one that makes you feel safer or get advice from your trusted shop.
10. Find your bike buddy
Having someone to share the route with will be one more reason to use the bike and resist the temptation to take public transportion or drive the car, especially in cold seasons. Also, being lucky enough to have a friend to talk to along the way can help you change the direction of your thoughts towards something positive when you need it, especially after a hard and stressful work day.
These are our 10 easy tips for starting a new life as a commuter by bike or for improving your already established good habits. Do you agree with us? If you agree or enjoy our 10 tips, contact us via email or WhatsApp and share with us your typical daily commute by bike, we are all ears!