Time to Haul Out Your Bike?

It’s spring, and the weather is beautiful in much of the country. If it’s not, it probably will be soon.

bike path

Have you ever considered biking to work? Or for your errands? With gas prices climbing ever higher (they will hit $4/gallon soon in my area, the way things are going), biking is looking more and more practical for a lot of people.

It’s also great exercise. You don’t want to ride so hard that you arrive at work covered in sweat, of course, especially if you’re dealing with the public all day.

If you’re within 5 or so miles of your work, this can be highly practical. It doesn’t take all that long to bike that far, and unless you have a lot of hills to go up you probably won’t need to sweat much to get there, except perhaps in the summer if you live in a place where it’s already hot by the time you leave for work in the morning.

This is something we’re hoping my husband can do for his next job. While we’d like to stay where we are, if he ends up commuting a distance we’ll look at moving once my daughter’s out of school. No point in having him drive far just to go to work if we can live closer.

If you have baskets on your bike, it can be highly practical for many errands. I remember when I was in college I would ride my bike to the grocery store and just carry the bags on my handlebars. A basket would have been much easier, with significantly less distraction and risk of breaking a bag.

A challenge these days is where to store your bike at work or when you get to the store. A lot of places don’t offer a place to lock up your bicycle, a serious problem. When I was a kid all the grocery stores in my area had bike racks. Now I rarely see them, and I do look!

Some jobs will allow you to bring your bike inside. There may be a storage closet or room in your cubicle for one, depending on the setup. It’s something to discuss with your boss if someone else hasn’t found the solution first.

Stores can be more challenging. Most have trees in the parking lot, and many people use a cable to gently attach the bike to the tree. But no matter where you lock up your bike, make sure that you aren’t blocking walkways or ramps.

You will want a good quality lock for your bike. U-locks are very popular, as they are much more resistant to theft than cables are. Square link chains are also quite strong.

Make sure that when you lock your bike you lock the wheels to the body of the bike. It’s quite common to have individual parts of the bike stolen rather than the entire thing. Many bikes come with an easily removed front wheel, so you can pop it off and lock it to the body and the back wheel with little effort.

You don’t need an expensive bike either. Keep it affordable and you can quickly pay off the investment in terms of gas money. Add in the benefits of the exercise you’ll be getting, and the advantages may be too much to resist.