In addition to being fun, bike commuting can be a great way to increase physical fitness, help the environment, and save money. The BikeArlington Forum is a great resource to help you get started.
Bicycle Commuter Act
Did you know that you can receive a $20 reimbursement per month for riding your bike to work? The Bicycle Commuter Act added reimbursement for bike commuting to the IRS' list of qualified transportation fringe benefits in 2009. Arlington employers can contact Arlington Transportation Partners for assistance in setting up tax-free transit benefits for their employees.
Planning a Route
You may know how to get to work by car or transit, but how do you get there by bike? Arlington County, and the region as a whole, has a great network of trails. In addition, the network of on-street bike lanes and routes is always expanding as well. For bike maps and more information, see the Maps & Rides page.
Bike to Transit or Bike on Transit
If you live far from work, consider combining bicycling with transit -- park your bike at a Metro station, commuter rail station, or bus stop and take bus or rail. Or take your bike with you on Metrorail, Metrobus, ART, and most other local bus systems. There are some restrictions; see the Bike on Transit page for more information.
What to Wear?
What you wear for your bike commute will depend on many factors, including outside temperature and time of day. For short commutes of up to two miles, you may be fine simply wearing your work clothes. For longer trips, you may be more comfortable in bike clothes, such as spandex shorts, jersey, and sneakers. You can change to office clothes in the restroom or locker room once at work. If you do this, consider bringing dress shoes and other dress clothing to work a few days ahead of time to lighten the load on your bike.
Helmets will not prevent accidents; however, they are valuable protective devices proven to be effective in reducing serious head injuries and fatalities during crashes and spills. Because even a careful and skillful bicyclist will crash occasionally, it is important to wear a helmet whenever you ride. Helmets are required equipment for all bicyclists age 14 and under in Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax County.
Bike Commuting Suggestions
- Try a practice run on a good weekend to find a good route and see how long it takes.
- Find a co-worker or friend who bikes and commute with them. Start by trying just one day a week, perhaps on "casual" Friday.
- Use bike panniers or a rack trunk instead of a backpack to stay cooler in warm weather.
- Bring bike lights in case you come home later than planned.
- Register your bike and keep it locked when unattended. (More on bike parking and security.)