Bike Everywhere Month: Getting Prepared (Part 1 of 2)
Updated: Jun 10, 2019
By Kyle Stahley, Senior Transportation Engineer
In honor of Bike Everywhere Month, we will be doing a 3-part series highlighting the tips and tricks to a successful ride.
Getting Ready for the Road
Every May, Transpo Group employees participate in Bike Everywhere Month! This is a great way to kick off the summer by promoting bicycling and replacing vehicle trips through a fun challenge against the region’s architecture and engineering firms and other Puget Sound companies, such as REI, Amazon, Boeing, and Starbucks. As our employees kick off the month, competing both internally against each other and as a team, it is also a great time to take a look at the basics items needed in order to get rolling on a successful bike commute.
1. Bike Prep
Whip that ride into shape!
After brushing off the cobwebs from Winter, It is important to make sure your bike is in good working order prior to riding it. Similar to taking a car in for a check-up, it is recommended to take bikes into a local bike shop to ensure that the brakes will stop when needed, the gears will shift, and that the chain is greased. Make sure to pump up the tires to the recommended pressure (found on the side of the tire) at least once a week and remember that there are two types of bicycle valves, Presta and Schrader, so make sure to get a pump that accommodates the right type.
Use your head... the right way.
In addition to getting the bicycle in top shape, it is important to acquire a few additional accessories to make commuting both safe and enjoyable. A helmet is an extremely important item, both to meet King County law but most importantly to protect from head injuries, so make sure to use one that does not have any visible dents or damage. Even though the days are getting longer, it is also important to use headlights and taillights. These not only illuminate pathways for riders, but also aid in making bikers more visible to vehicle drivers and should be used anytime the sun is not out (such as rainy conditions, dawn, dusk, and night).
3. Commuting Accessories
Trick yo ride.
Finally, put in some consideration to transporting items. The days of bicycles with a front basket are forgotten, but not gone– front or rear baskets are both options for being able to quickly throw items on a bike and take off. Backpacks also work very well as they carry a lot of things, are comfortable, and keep weight balanced on the rider’s back; however, they can also cause some discomfort on long rides. Also consider panniers; these are bags which attach to a rack mounted above one of the two wheels and let the bike carry the weight.
4. Route Planning
Get ready to get out there.
After making sure all equipment is in order, it is time to go out and ride! Short trips throughout the neighborhood to restaurants and grocery stores, or relaxed, recreational rides along non-motorized facilities are a great way to get the wheels spinning. The next important steps in planning a bicycle commute are to plan a bicycling route and distance that is comfortable based on fitness and roadway characteristics, to allow for plenty of time in order to not be rushed by the ride, and to figure out what facilities are available once arriving to the workplace.
For more information on kicking off Bike Everywhere Month, check out the challenge link! https://www.cascade.org/connect/2018-bike-everywhere-month