9 Bike Commuting Mistakes You Should Avoid

By Adam Marsal

Daily bike commuting makes you fit, clear-headed and relaxed, but only if you avoid the most common mistakes.

1. Commuting without tools

You’re bound to get a puncture sooner or later, so keep a spare tube, tyre levers, and a pump on hand to deal with it. A multi-tool is a must-have. Before buying one, make sure it has all of the instruments you need for field maintenance, including delicate Torx heads.

2. Cycling in jeans

If you regularly wear jeans to work, you might try travelling in them, but you’ll quickly discover it’s an experience you’d gladly not repeat. The wrong pants might turn your daily trips into unbearable torture, just before you abandon your bike for the bus or some other means of transport. No worries, though, because there are lots of cycle-specific trousers that you can wear both on and off the bike, if lycra cycling shorts are too extreme for your business career.

3. Neglecting to recharge your lights

Despite all best efforts, this mistake happens now and then. On winter evenings, however, a light that runs out of energy might spoil the ride completely. Keep a spare charger in the office that can refresh the battery during your afternoon work just before you hop on your bike. Then, there’s always the option of using a dynamo light that you power while cycling.

4. Choosing the fastest, yet busiest route

You are not obliged to travel the shortest or fastest path to get to work. Take the towpath instead of riding on the busiest parts of the road if this route feels like hell. Spend a weekend discovering some calm lanes instead of the most direct route. You can change your path from day to day to keep the commute entertaining.

Bicycle commute
Make your daily commute as smooth as possible. © Profimedia

5. Putting the mudguards aside

You can’t choose what time of day you commute to and from work, so it rains sometimes, and the roads get wet. If you’re riding in bike gear, getting wet may not bother you too much, but if you’re wearing clothing for the rest of the day, you are sentenced to suffer wet until your afternoon snack.

6. Forgetting your daily outfit

Many of us commute to work wearing cycling gear and carrying spare clothing in a backpack, including a pair of shoes and a jacket. The system works until you forget to pack something. Even if it’s uncomfortable, you can get away with forgetting your underwear, but once you arrive pant-less, an unsolvable problem occurs. The best advice is to always have a supply of extra clothing at the office.

7. Scrimping on a bike lock

The quality of a bike lock should be adequate to the worth of the bike you’d like to prevent from theft. Being tempted to skimp on a good lock is understandable, yet improvident. Any amount you spend on a lock will be less than the price of replacing a bike that has been stolen.

8. Riding close to the curb

Many hazards are lurking for cyclists riding too close to the club, such as slippery drain covers, the camber of the road, and the exit point for pedestrians. The only way to avoid something that suddenly blocks your path is to divert into oncoming traffic, which is even more risky. Moreover, riding close to the curb can reduce your visibility and attract drivers to pass you when there isn’t enough space for them to do so safely.

Riding near a row of parked cars can turn into a nightmare because car doors occasionally open, sometimes with grievous consequences. For all these reasons, choose a self-confident ride and take the lead position in the middle of your lane. You have every right to do so, and it’s frequently the wisest move.

9. Unannounced racing

Competing against strangers on route only rarely brings joy. More likely, other cyclists will find you impolite, uncouth, or even dumb. However, you are old enough to know better. Aren’t you? Moreover, any racing will make your clothes damp with sweat, which could make your colleagues move to the most distant corners of the office.