WOOHOO! You've decided to jump on the bandwagon and start commuting by bike. Go you!
Don't let the title of this post intimidate you, there really isn't that much you need to do in order to prepare yourself (or your bike) for the wonderful world of bike commuting. It's pretty straight forward, but here are a few tips to launch you into this new endeavor:
- Get a Tune Up! Almost any bike shop you go to will have a full service department, fully capable of getting your bike in tip-top shape and ready for the new season. Most standard tune-ups will cover all the basics of your bike: adjusting your brakes, gear shifting, truing your wheels, tightening the bottom bracket, etc. Essentially going over the whole bike and making sure everything is functioning as it should. (Most bike shops do require that you leave your bike for a few days, especially if you drop it off over the weekend. So plan accordingly.) - Aside from the tune up, make sure you check your tire pressure, if not daily, every couple days ;)
- Pack Your "Oh Sh*t Kit". I hope you won't ever need this, but being prepared is key!
- Make Sure You Have the Essentials. I did a little blog post on this very topic awhile back. Go check it out!
- Do a Test Ride. If this really is a completely new endeavor for you, make sure you pick your route and do a test ride first. Get used to the route, know how long it will take you, and make sure you have an alternate route in mind, just in case.
- Enjoy the Ride. I mean this both literally and figuratively. Don't stress out over getting yourself and your bike prepared. The reality is, the first few times you commute, will most likely leave you not only feeling like a bad ass, but also teaching you something to take into account for the next commute. Like not forgetting your deodorant or learning to merge a little sooner than you anticipated, etc. All small things that simply take a little trial and error. And really, you're riding your bike! That in itself is something to celebrate!