Commuting to work by bicycle can be a great way to get some exercise, use less gas, connect with your neighborhood, improve your mental health and have a lot of fun. We have more bike lanes in Nashville than ever, so it's never been easier to get there by bike. Here are some good tips to keep in mind.
FIND A BIKE
You don't need a fancy road bike to get to and from work. Any working bicycle will do!
- Recycle: Use your old mountain/road/cyclecross/hybrid/steel/aluminum/carbon-fiber bike.
- Rent a B-Cycle: We have a great bike-share program, so you don't even need your own bike. Check it out here.
- Invest Get a new or used bike from your local bike shop.
- Still not sure? Check out this cool video from our friends at the League of American Bicyclists: How to Pick a Bike.
PREPARE YOUR BIKE
Hitting the bikeways only to discover your bike is not working properly will ruin any good bike commute. Be sure your bike is in good condition before you ride.
- Bike Fit: While exact bike-fit can be an art, making sure your bike is generally the right size will spare you a lot of potential discomfort. For some tips on bike fit, check out the League of American Bicyclist's bike fit video.
ABC Quick Check: Before you ride...
- Air: Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The proper air pressure is usually written on the side of the tire wall.
- Brakes: Are your brakes working? Never ride with faulty brakes. Test that they are not rubbing and smoothly stop the wheel when engaged.
- Chain: Your chain drives your bike. Check that your chain isn't rusty or broken. It should move smoothly when you pedal.
- Quick Check: Most adult bikes use quick release levers to attach wheels. Are yours properly tightened?
- Helmet: Helmets are great! They protect your head, they look really cool, they keep you warm. Wear a well-fitted helmet!
- Water Bottle: Riding a bike is excellent exercise. And regardless the weather, you'll often find yourself in need of water. Be prepared, bring a water bottle.
- Lights: Be seen. Always ride in dusk or dark with a bright front white light, and a bright red rear light.
- Lock: If there's a possibility of leaving your bike outside during the day, always ride with a bike lock. There are lots of types, check with your local bike shop for recommendations.
MAKE A PLAN
- Decide on your Route: Its always best to know your route before you head out. Google maps is a great tool to start (there's a bike route option). You can also check out our suggested Nashville Bike Maps
- Plan Your Day: Bikes are a flexible form of transit, but it may be harder to run home if you forget something. Think through your day and be sure you have everything you need ahead of time.
- Weather: Always check the weather. There's no such thing as bad bicycle-riding weather, just bad bicycle-riding clothing.
It is always good to pack the night before you ride.
- Clothes: Do you need a change of clothes? What's the weather going to be like? If it's warm outside it is often nice to change clothes when you get to work.
- Bag: How will you carry your stuff? You can bring a backpack, a bike-basket, panniers, messenger, bag...the options are endless!
- Snacks: Biking is great exercise. Snacks are always a good thing to have around.
- Work Stuff: Think about what you'll need for work. Make sure to bring what's required, but pack as lightly as possible. Consider leaving laptops at work the day before to lighten your load.
FIND A FRIEND
Biking is more fun with friends!
- Find a Coworker: Do you work with anyone who lives in your part of town. Coworkers make great bike-buddies.
- Find a Walk/Bike Nashville ride: Walk/Bike Nashville hosts commuter rides once a month. Check out our Calendar for upcoming rides.