Wow, we asked and you guys delivered! We got dozens upon dozens of clever, insightful bike tips from you, plus a whole lot of QB love :) But first, official business. We've got some WINNERS over here!
And now on to the biking tips...
Keeping safe on the road is a big topic. Lindsay and Gabriella remind you to wear your helmet! Barbara, Karen, Amy and Brandy remind you to follow the rules of the road, be courteous to fellow travelers, and never assume that other cars, cyclists, or pedestrians can see you. Always look twice!
Own the lane! Especially if you're cycling in cities where there are banks of parked cars, it's important to cycle in the middle of the lane a) so cars can't try to dangerously overtake you and b) so you won't get doored. - Cat
Jessica asks us to ride with traffic, not against it, and jquall has the very important tip not to wear headphones or anything that can impair your senses while riding.
Visibility is a huge part of being safe on the road, and many of you wrote in to remind us to always use lots of bike lights in any low visibility situations, even if it's not all the way dark out. Leslie likes to keep extra lights in some of her more frequent locations, just in case she forgets to bring one with her. Nicole chimed in (get it??) to mention that a bell is a good idea too.
Whether it's staying hydrated in the heat or staying dry in the rain, being prepared for the weather is one of the biggest challenges of being a regular bike commuter. Lots of you reminded us to bring a beverage to stay cool on hot days. Amy T likes to use an insulated bottle in the summer so the water stays nice and COLD. April recommends packing cleansing wipes and an extra shirt for those real scorchers.
For rainy days, Ellie and Jen bring a plastic bag to keep the seat dry when parked outside, and Alisha likes to use a plastic shower cap. Being prepared with good rain gear and fenders is also a must, so says Allison, and Kim. Karen recommends wool socks and mittens, because it stays warm even when wet. We couldn't agree more, Karen! Jessica likes to wear ski goggles on those really crappy days. For serious winter riding, Ellie recommends studded tires.
QB customer Heather with her sweet ride
Having the right stuff on the road is essential for successful bike commuting. Lights, water, phone and rain gear are all important items for your biking checklist. Having a kit packed beforehand is a good tactic to make sure you have all you need. Barbara, Stephanie, and Ellie like using panniers for an easier ride, and they are also a great way to keep all your bike stuff with your bike and ready to go. Alexandra keeps quarters handy in case her tires need air, and Connie likes to bring a bandana just in case there's sweat, raindrops, or bike grease involved.
Barbara loves her panniers for storing bike essentials, and she also loves Boston!
Lots of you recommend finding those perfect work clothes you can also ride your bike in. Barbara likes to rock the skirts with bike shorts underneath. Karen recommends buying a bike with chain guards so you can wear wide-leg pants with ease. Karina changes clothes at work, and she recommends rolling your change of clothes up with a towel to prevent wrinkles. Plus, then you have a towel to dry off from the rain!
Probably the number one tip we received is to bike with friends, family, or fellow commuters, because it's more fun that way! Now that is some great advice. Megan brings up a serious subject: make sure you start your ride with a good song stuck in your head. We hear you, Megan!
Pick one day a week to start bike commuting to make it a habit. That way you'll get all your gear ready and set your alarm earlier the night before instead of running out of time and taking the car. - Stefanie
Sharon says she is more likely to commute by bike if her car is not readily available. So maybe leave your car somewhere else, or loan it to a friend, or sell it! Jennifer recommends getting a bike that you love, then you'll want to ride it everywhere. Candice likes to leave extra time for the little things, and Tina says remember to enjoy the ride!
Jennifer and her family love biking together
So there you have it, pearls of biking wisdom from all over the country, from Boston to Alaska. If you'd like to check out even more commuting tips, this interview with our own Rebecca Pearcy and Leah from Gladys Bikes is essential reading. Speaking of Gladys Bikes, they are a great example of a friendly local bike shop that can help get you outfitted to rule the road. Check them out if you're in Northeast Portland, or find a friendly bike shop in your neighborhood.