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Take this simple quiz to see if you have what it takes...
If you answered yes to any of the questions, you have what it takes! Now read on to see
what else you need to consider:
You don't need a special bike to commute. Your bicycle should be mechanically sound and fit correctly. Good maintenance is important when you rely on your bike to get to work. Be sure to have it regularly maintained by a bike shop or yourself. Make plans to carry your "stuff" by investing in a sturdy rear rack and bag.
Special clothes are also not needed for biking to work. If your trip is short, you may find riding in business attire realistic. If your trip is long, you may want to ride in more comfortable clothing and freshen up when you arrive at work. All your needs can be transported on the bike or outfits can be left at the office and rotated on days when you do not ride. If showers are not available at your workplace, try using pre-moistened baby washcloths to freshen up. Worried about "helmet hair"? If your work provides showers, that's great - otherwise hairspray or gel can work wonders.
Plan and test ride several routes for traffic considerations at the time of day you will be using them. Maximize your visibility to other road users, obey traffic laws and ride predictably. Choose an easy pace and vary your route for scenic interest.
Some employers provide special bicycle parking. But if not, you can stash your bike in a covered secure place like a closet or storage room. Be sure to use a good lock and correctly park your bike.
It is easiest to start as a fair weather commuter. As you become experienced, experiment with rain gear.
Once again, for a newcomer it is easiest if you start out biking in the daylight. The experienced should know the minimum requirements for bicycle lighting are a white light in the front and a red rear reflector. It is recommended that you use a solid or blinking light at the rear of your bike to make you more visible. Bike lighting systems technology have become impressive so be sure to shop around and select a system that meets the needs of your route.
Information obtained from Effective Cycling - the League of American Bicyclists. For more information about biking in our area, please visit Greater Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia at www.bicyclecoalition.org. Biking maps of the North Penn/Indian Valley region can be obtained by calling The Partnership TMA office at 215-997-9100.