An Easy, Quick Start Guide to Start Biking to Work

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Erin Potter Tweet Us @BikeArlington@BikeArlington April 24, 2018

Erin Potter is the former Program Manager for BikeArlington.

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People ride bikes for many reasons. One reason is simple—it’s enjoyable. If you’d like to introduce a little more joy into your workday, a bike ride is a really great way to do it especially on May 18.

There are lots of reasons to try biking to work—it’s convenient, cheap, and most of all, fun.
And while it can seem daunting to get started, it doesn’t have to be. We’ve put together a quick start guide to help get you moving by bike.

How to Get Started

1. Choose a Bike

Having an affordable and dependable bike is helpful. If your bike has been in the storage unit for a while, make sure it’s in good working condition. If you want to buy a bike or get a tune-up for your bike, visit one of Arlington’s local bike shops.

If you don’t have a bike, no need to worry. Try Capital Bikeshare. The two dollar single trip fare makes it affordable to try and the mobile app makes it easy to find a station and bikes closest to you.

2. Find a Route and Ride

Arlington and DC are bike friendly cities. There are several route planning tools to help plan your route, including Google Maps, CarFreeAtoZ, and the Comfort Map. You can also ask a friend who’s been biking for a while for advice.

When I first moved to Arlington, I had a friend ride to work with me on a weekend morning. It gave me a chance to ride when the roads were quiet and a better idea of how long the trip would take, door to door.

3. Plan What You’ll Need

Outside of a good bike lock, you don’t really need any bike-specific items to ride. Carrying your lunch or a change of clothes, if needed, is easy. A backpack is one of the easiest ways to carry things. If you’re concerned about sweating or simply want another way to carry things on your commute, swap the backpack for a rear rack and a milk crate. There are all sorts of nifty ways to help you carry things by bike.

Stashing extra clothes or shoes in the office beforehand is also an option. I leave a few pairs of shoes at my desk. My colleague, Elizabeth, keeps a small amount of toiletries in a desk drawer to help her touch up her short hair style.

4. Combine Your Ride with Transit

A lot of people think bike commuting is an “all or nothing” lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be. If your commute feels too long to do twice a day, start by only biking to work and then take a different mode home like Susan who puts her bike on a bus for the commute home. You can also switch it up by biking to a Metro station.

5. Meet People Who Commute to Work

We’re throwing a really big bike party for everyone that bikes to work, and you should definitely come. Bike to Work Day is May 18, and registration is free, plus you get a sweet t-shirt, fun giveaways, and breakfast treats. With over 100 pit stops regionally, including nine in Arlington, there’s bound to be one on your route to meet new people.

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