Choose your bike with purpose in mind, not design
Lots of bikes attract us with great design. Sometimes we try to find a motivation for daily commuting by acquiring a bike we’ve dreamed of since childhood. As soon as you set out on your first trip around the city, however, you can quickly sober up from your enthusiasm. Your dream bike from the shop might have unsuitable gears, turn out to be uncomfortable for rides on cobblestones or be unequipped with fenders, which will make you look like a fisherman whenever it rains. Each bike should serve its purpose, and daily commuting is no exemption. Even though we like MTBs or folding bikes in cities too, the bike for daily rides should be simple, reliable and practical. Wider tyres will ensure a comfortable ride, smooth design won’t slow you down. A belt drive system will prevent your pants from getting smeared with chain grime, as will a shifting system hidden in the rear hub. Fenders will protect your bum from the wet, and a rack will carry your bags, so your back will stay dry even after long trips. In our opinion, a perfect city bike would be like the ones below. The second one in case you prefer motor support on your way back home after a bad day in the office.
Those who can take a shower upon their arrival at work have a great advantage. Changing clothes after a recreational ride is not obligatory, but it mostly comes in handy no matter if it rains or if it’s too hot outside. If you don’t ride a bike every day, choose a day of the week to bring your spare clothes that you can change into in the upcoming days. Having a safe place to store them or arranging a service room where you can dry your cycling clothes seem to be a nice benefit, too. This also applies to a spare pair of shoes that you can permanently keep in the office. If you park your bike outside, pull a plastic bag over the saddle if rain is expected. There is nothing worse than going home with a wet bum.
Make yourself visible
It is not necessary to remind regular cyclists to stay visible. If you are tired of recharging batteries in the lights regularly or afraid that they will die on your way home, look around for a generator that will produce electricity from the energy of your spinning wheel. It will steal a bit of your performance, but will enable you to make power for your lights just by pedalling.
Look for new routes
Even though there’s usually something like the fastest or most convenient route from your home to your workplace, every routine becomes boring sooner or later. So don’t be hesitant to experiment and look for new routes. That way you may discover places you have never been to or find out that a little detour will bring you to safer roads with far less traffic.
Don’t get scared
Statistics show percentages of accidents that happen on the road every year. The situation is actually much better than the numbers suggest. Most drivers are tolerant, and with mutual respect, everybody can fit on the road even when there are no separate bike lanes. You don’t even need to worry about being laughed at by your colleagues who will eventually become envious of your good condition, fitness and permanently good mood.
Ride with confidence
Cyclists who ride too close to the curbs because they are excessively afraid of the traffic are always in fear of a possible collision. The best you can do is to find a confident way of riding that is both predictable and fair to other road users.
Carry the essentials
Potholes or debris at the sides of the road is usually responsible for punctures in the cities. Even though the streets are full of fellow cyclists that might rush in to help you when you’re in need, you’d better carry a pump and a spare tube with you, no matter how long your daily trip is.
Don’t let the thieves steal your bicycle
Even the most inconspicuous commuting bike can become the subject of theft. Let the bike shop assistant choose a lock that is both light and relatively resistant. If you use the same place to keep your bike safe every day, you can leave a heavy and outstandingly resilient bike lock fastened around the pole or railing, so you don’t need to carry a lock with you anymore.
Panniers for transport of goods
A backpack is a good thing unless you decide to cycle with it because of the sweat you’re bound to have all around your back. Panniers attached to the rear rack will not only relieve your back, but will also lower the centre of the bike’s gravity.
At the end of the season go to the service
Only a few things can spoil a cyclist’s mood more than a bike that doesn’t work flawlessly. Inaccurate shifting or annoying sounds might ruin any cycling trip. If you commute regularly, your bike should get inspected by a professional serviceman at the end of every season so that it’s ready for next year. Those who ride all year round should have the bike maintained at least every six months.