Is Your Ride Ready for Bike To Work Week?

With Bike to Work Week (May 11 – 17, 2009) just two weeks away, Paul Bogaert, owner of the Bike Doctor cycling stores in Vancouver and Burnaby, has five helpful hints for all those folks dusting off their bikes and getting ready to try a pedal-powered variation on their usual commute.

Sunday cyclists in Melbourne circa 1895

1) Your usual route may not be the best way to get there by bike, especially if you’re used to
driving on major thoroughfares. Plan ahead of time and find a quieter route if necessary. Preride the route ahead of time if possible. You can access Translink’s cycling route maps at:
http://www.translink.bc.ca/Maps/cycling_map_guide.asp

2) Do a basic bike safety check at least a few days beforehand, so you have time to get a tune-up
or make necessary repairs–before Monday morning. Make sure your brakes are working well.
The pads should engage the rim well before the lever touches the handlebar. There should be
no frayed shifter or brake cables. Oil the chain. Proper bike chain oil is best. Regular
household lubricants such as 3-in-1 oil will work fine too. Check your tire pressure. Many
occasional cyclists often ride on under-inflated tires, making their journey harder, and slower,
than it has to be.

3) Helmets are an essential piece of protection for inexperienced riders who will be mingling
with traffic. Make sure yours is in good condition and the straps are well adjusted. If looking
good is a concern, check out the latest urban styles which give cyclists an option beyond
road-racer chic or mountain bike overkill.

4) You can use a backpack, but considering buying a good rack and pannier bags for your
commute. You’ll discover how much easier and comfortable riding is without a hot, sweaty
bag weighing you down.

5) Whether you decide to ride to work in your regular work clothes, or have the luxury of
showers and change rooms at your workplace, dress for your ride in such a way that you feel
cold at first. You’ll warm up quickly, but if you don’t overdress and give yourself plenty of
time to ride in a leisurely fashion, chances are you’ll arrive at your destination without
breaking a sweat.