Last-Minute Tips for National Bike to Work Day

Happy Bike Month

So, you’ve been thinking about participating in National Bike To Work Day.  You may have even registered with the Washington Area Bicycling Association.  Good for you!

But there’s no reason to NOT ride to work even if you haven’t registered.  But you’ll need to do several things before you head out to the bike trails Friday morning.

No. 1:  Make sure your bike is rideable.  Check your tires NOW and see if they will still hold air.  Pump them up to the recommended pressure (on side of tire) and check back a bit later to see if the air pressure has dropped.  Look for thorns or metal wires that may have worked into the tread.   You really don’t want to have a flat on the way to or from work.  Be sure to bring a spare tube, a compact hand-pump and a few CO2 cartridges and inflator nozzle.  If you haven’t changed a flat in a while (or ever) practice before you head out.

No.2:   Click through your gears a few times, make sure everything is hunky-dory.  If shifting is balky, wipe a bit of lube on the cable and try again.  Lube the chain lightly, as well.

No. 3:  Check your personal gear:  Helmet is an absolute must.  Check fit before you head out.  A loose or too-tight helmet can spoil your ride, not to mention failure to protect your brain.  Gloves will help keep your hands clean and, even with a morning forecast in the low-60s, keep those digits warm.

No. 4: Be seen and heard. Is your bike bell dinging?  Is your head-light and tail-light working?  Check batteries and bring spares.  Remember, your return trip could be at dusk or other low-light conditions.

No. 5:  If you were thinking ahead, you already left a change of work clothes and personal toiletries to freshen your body when you get to work.  You may not notice right away, but you might be perspiring for up to an hour after riding.  You co-workers will notice.  Think about taking a container of those baby wipes.  You may be schvitzing for hours.

No. 6:  Hydrate or get really, really thirsty.  Make sure your water bottle isn’t full of fuzzy funk left from that bottle of Mango juice you put in it a month ago.  Take an extra bottle filled with ice for the return trip home. Put it in the office fridge if you have one. Your mouth will appreciate it.

No. 7:  Communicate.  Make sure your cellphone is fully charged.  The life you save may be someone else.  You would want someone to make that 911 call for you.

No. 8:  This is not a race.  It is RIDE to work.  With temperatures in the 80s, you don’t want to have a crash or  arrive drenched in a pool of sweat.  Enjoy the ride, smile at the other folks and arrive alive.

No. 9:  Scout your ride path BEFORE you head out. Check out great local bike commuting tips and routes at FABB.  Remember things look a lot different from behind a steering wheel than behind handlebars.  Bring a lock to secure your bike.  If it has a combination lock, write the code on a piece of paper in your dry wallet.

No. 10:  Don’t forget your office shoes.  I always kept a pair in my office desk just in case.  If anyone notices, just tell them it is National Work in Your Socks Day.

OK, now get out there, have fun, be careful and congratulate yourself for doing a very cool thing.

National Bike To Work Week and National Bike To Work Day

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In a perfect world, every day would be Bike To Work Day. But this year we get a whole week to celebrate commuting that’s fun and emission-free.

What could be better for curing work stress than a fun bike ride to and from our workplaces?  A ride to and from work gives us “me time” to think about the day ahead while also enjoying fresh air and physical exercise.  It is well-known that moderate exercise can make us smarter. Remember, Einstein rode a bike!

A good place to start planning your ride is

Biketoworkmetrodc.org.  The site has maps of Bike to Work pit stops, where you can pick up a free Bike To Work T-shirt on May 17 (order when you register online), get refreshments and meet fellow bike commuters.  The Bike Lane will be supporting the Reston Town Center and the Burke VRE Pit Stops.

The Bike to Work Day website also lets you join a group of “Bike Bus” riders heading in your work direction, with a ride leader who knows the ins and out of that route.

Before you ride to work, stop by The Bike Lane stores in Springfield and Reston to get your bike tuned up for commuting. You will also find a great selection of office-friendly bike clothing and fenders, panniers, baskets, bells, lights and other accessories that will get you out of gridlock and into pedaling nirvana. And don’t forget your helmet!

Bike to Work Day

We hope a lot of you enjoyed your bike commute to work today. Although the rain did not hold off at least it was not too cold. The Bike Lane helped out at The Reston Town Center, AOL, and Springfield pit stops. We saw a lot of our customers out there and we hope that many people are making bike commuting a part of their lifestyle. Fairfax County is trying to help. The Washington Post wrote a great article about the new Fairfax County Map! Stop in to check out the new map
From the Washington Post:
The Road Best Traveled
County’s New Map Guides Cyclists to Safe and Straightforward Routes

By Amy Gardner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 15, 2008; VA14

Cycling across Tysons Corner has been described as more dangerous than traveling from the Baghdad airport to the Green Zone. The same story unwinds across Fairfax County: Along Braddock Road, Lee Highway, Huntsman Boulevard and many other thoroughfares, cyclists put their lives in jeopardy trying to share the road with fast-moving traffic.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/13/AR2008051303458_pf.html