Midway Through Bike Month: A Guide to Better Bike Commuting

Thanks to a growth in cycling culture, infrastructure and outreach, the last decade boasted a small increase in people commuting to work and school by bicycle which we think is great news and something that inspires us. Closer to our home, we were also inspired by the story of our fellow Vermonter, 11 year-old, Griffin , raising money for the non profit World Bicycle Relief by riding through what was a very snow filled winter in the Green Mountain State. But as Griffin can attest, the will to ride daily takes some planning and there are ways to vastly improve the experience.

Here are a few things we’ve learned in our own travels that keep the pedals turning happily both to and from the daily grind.

  • Pack it up. A change of clothes to stash at work, should you get hit with a rainstorm, attacked by a skunk or otherwise besmirched in your work-a-day togs can save the day.
  • Lay it out. Getting whatever you might need in order (and in a weather proof pack like the one our friends at Archival bags make) the night before your ride will make the bleary eyed start to the ride easier.
  • Brew your ride. Set the timer on the coffee maker the night prior. Bring along your favorite cup with a handlebar holder from Dixon.  Coffee on the road is one of life’s great joys even when you leave the car at home.
  • Wool really is best. You’re reading this on the Ibex site, so we won’t belabor the point except to turn you towards the Ace Shirt which looks like a casual shirt but bears all the moisture managing, comfort enhancing properties of wool. Despite your best efforts, it’s tough to make it stink.
  • Roll fatties. Bigger tires on the bike you take to work will make it more comfortable, reduce your risk of time-sucking flats, and give you the option to take the longer stretch home (the one with the buffed out singletrack berms.)
  • Fend for yourself. Fenders come in a wide variety of sizes. SKS makes an easy-on, easy-off version that can be stored should you hit a nice dry spell.  Even more minimalist is the comfort enhancing Swedish company, ASSsavers, whose lightweight plastic mini fender attaches to the seat and can be found saving the backsides of working stiffs and PRO-tour superstars alike.
  • Light it up. You’ve got options from the incredibly bright LED mini lights from Knog to the pedal driven dynamo lights from Shimano or the high end Schmidt, so snag something that makes you more visible and can help out should you get caught late working on your TPS reports. (We’re going to need you to come in on Sunday, btw.)
  • Be cool. Not just in temperature, though certainly showing up as a hot mess for a board meeting is never advisable. Be cool about your love of riding. Doing it consistently will drive and inspire colleagues. Endless tales of riding sews ire not inspiration so stay relaxed (and stop leaving your bike in the break room.)