Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Style & Safety Prep for Bike to Work Week

Missoni for Target bicycle

If you’ve been thinking about getting bicycle or commuting by bike, next week might be a great time to start because it’ll be Chicago Bike to Work Week, June 9-15, 2012.   And you can sign your office up for the Bike Commuter Challenge at bikecommuterchallenge.org.

I’ve been biking work for the past couple weeks, and I absolutely love it.  I’m fairly active but far from athletic, so if I can do it, just about anyone can.  Biking at a very comfortable pace it takes me about 20-25 minutes to bike 4.5 miles.

I’m no expert but through biking in New York and Chicago, I’ve learned a few things about bicycle safety and style:

Always wear a helmet!
Safety first.  A helmet looks way better an injury.  A few of my girl friends used to bike without helmets until I took a nasty spill a couple years ago.  Thank goodness I was wearing my helmet because there were some crazy deep scratches on my helmet.  If I hadn’t I would have torn up my entire face without a doubt.

A couple days after falling off my bike.  Helmets are cuter than scars!

Try out a summer scarf or kerchief.
Wrapping a small, light cotton scarf or kerchief around your head can help prevent helmet hair and frizzies.  Or at the very least, wrapping one around your hairline can take the place of a sweatband.
And I'm not sure how well these actual work, but awhile back, I did see a blog post about helmet ventilating inserts.  If you've tried it, please let me know how you liked it.

Wear flats.
It’s possible to bike in heels and wedges.  I have many times, but you’re putting your ankles (and shoes) at risk.  Here are some flats appropriate for biking and cute enough to be worn regularly:

Have a hands-free bag.

Apply sunblock.
I’m sure you already know why sunblock is important, so this is just a friendly reminder to apply sunblock 20-30 minutes before going outside.  Your face and arms will get a lot of sun exposure.

Keep bike lights on you.
On more than one occasion I’ve biked to a friend’s house thinking I would only be there for a couple hours.  Next thing I know it’s dark and I’ve got to take a longer route home to stay on bigger streets.

Join a gym or bring toiletries to freshen up.
A gym membership maybe worth it for the shower alone and still be less expensive than commuting by bus, train or car.  You can pack a change of clothes, makeup, etc. and get ready at the gym before heading into the office.  If you don’t have the option to join a gym, you can freshen up with towelettes or even just water and a small towel.  And dry shampoo is handy too!

Lock up low and include your tires - or at least the front one.
The lower the lock, the harder it is for someone to break it because there isn’t as much leverage.  And it’s sad and annoying, but it’s not that uncommon for a jerk to go after your tires.

There are lots of options for bike locks and chains.  The most secure would be the Kryonite chain - but they’re much too cumbersome for my liking.  For the most part, I tend to bike to safer neighborhoods or high traffic areas, so I feel comfortable using a U-lock to lock my bike through just my front tire.  I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

Kryptonite New York U-Lock $68.73 (retail $90)


Anonymous said...

Bikers are menaces. They don't obey the lights, speed and hurt people. When they get hurt it's whine whine. Most of these morons don't even wear helmets in NYC in heavy traffic.

Jess said...

I am psyched to ride this summer. I started commuting last fall - I made it through the winter wardrobe challenges...I don't think summer can be that hard.

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