Getting Ready

A Word About Helmets

You should always wear a helmet while riding. A good helmet (with ANSI or SNELL safety certificate) can be purchased for as little as $20. It should consist of an outer polycarbonate or fiberglass shell, an energy-absorbing inner liner made of semi-rigid foam, comfort pads, and an adjustable strap. Replace your helmet if you have an accident and break the foam liner.

What Are Your Worksite Facilities?

The lack of safe and convenient parking is the biggest problem facing many "would-be" bicycle commuters. Left on the street for hours at a time, bikes are too often easy targets for theft and damage by individuals, as well as damage caused by inclement weather. On-site, indoor bicycle parking provides the best solution.

Unfortunately, not all building managers recognize the benefits of allowing employees to bring bikes inside, and many buildings have banned bikes. Does your employer offer bike lockers or showers? If not, you could try storing your bike in a nearby building and carrying your work clothes. Many employers want to help employees use alternatives to driving alone, so ask your employer if lockers or showers can be installed or provisions can be made for bicycles inside your building.

What Kind of Equipment Will You Need?

Essential items include a sturdy bike that fits you properly, a helmet, biking gloves, and a strong lock. Depending on the length of your ride, how often you plan to bike, the terrain and the weather, you may need additional equipment.

Ask neighbors and / or co-workers if they ride their bikes to work
Friends who ride to work can give you tips on routes, safety, and parking. If they live near you, ask if you can ride with them for the first few days while you get used to your route and traffic patterns.

Check Your Equipment

Take an inventory of necessary items. If you already have a bike, be sure it's tuned-up and equipped with reflectors. If you don't have a bike, or want recommendations about the best types of equipment, ask friends and co-workers who ride to work. Talk to fellow bicyclists and check with your local bike shop. They can show you all the newest models and equipment. You'll need a good, comfortable helmet (with "ANSI" or "SNELL" safety certification), biking gloves, and a strong lock. Consider a rear-view mirror, repair kit, a mounted water bottle, bicycling shoes, and wet weather gear if you plan to ride in the rain. Law requires a headlight, if you ride at night.

Ride the Route on Your Day Off

Carry the same amount of clothes and other items as you would on a workday. Is the route too steep? Explore alternatives. Imagine traffic conditions during regular commute hours, and remember that your route will look different after dark.

Know in Advance Where You'll Park

Get clearance to use lockers and parking areas. If you park outside, you may want multiple locks. Ask co-workers to be aware of your bike and to interrupt any suspicious behavior.

Know the Rules of the Road

You are recognized as a legal driver of a vehicle. Therefore, drive your bicycle as you would any vehicle. Obey all traffic laws. Both the Department of Motor Vehicles and the California State Automobile Association can provide you with rules for cyclists.