Bike Commuting Basics
Riding to class or work has many benefits for your health, your wallet, and the planet! Here’s some info to get you on the road.
- Wear a helmet. Even if your commute is 100 yards, helmets save lives!
- Check your bike. Do an ABC Quick Check.
- Be seen. Ride with lights and reflectors. Ever see cyclists in bright neon outfits? There’s a reason. The more visible you are to vehicles, the lower the chances of a collision!
- Avoid mechanical issues. Keep your bike in good mechanical health. Regular chain lube and occasional tune-ups go a long way in keeping your bike mechanically sound and safe.
- Learn the rules of the road. If your commute takes you onto shared roads, learn bike laws and etiquette. Signal to cars to let them know your actions and ride defensively.
- Bike Lanes, use them! Sacramento has great bike infrastructure, use it! Go with the flow of traffic, ride single file. Always ride with traffic.
- Eat & Drink! Cycling uses calories, make sure to eat before your ride to have some “fuel in the tank.” Be sure to stay hydrated, especially in the summer heat!
- Get Adjusted! A proper bicycle adjustment can go a long way in creating an enjoyable and comfortable ride. Make sure your bike seat is at a proper height (typically hip level) and that your reach to your bars is not too aggressive. Most bike shops will help you get your bike adjusted for free.
- Take your time. Your commute is not a race. Take your time and enjoy the ride. You can go for Strava records if you’re up for it, but if you’d rather just stroll along, do your thing!
- Bring a change. A change of clothes can make your day at school or the office a more pleasant experience. I’m sure your coworkers or classmates will thank you.
- Learn roadside repairs. Learning how to put your chain back on or how to fix a flat might help save you from arriving late if things go wrong. Knowing you can take care of minor roadside repairs can also alleviate some stress and help empower you to take care of other cyclists! Attend one of our classes or clinics to learn more!
Links and resources
- Campus Bicycling Info – Sacramento State University Transportation
- Campus Bike Compounds & Parking Locations
- Sac State Bicycle Infrastructure
- On-Campus – Bike Locker Rentals
- Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates – Commuting Info
- Plan Your Route
Bike Commuting Wardrobe
Helmet (always important)
To protect that lovely head of yours; no matter rain or shine, a helmet is your most important piece of equipment. Wear one.
Shirt and Shorts
Shirt – cotton tends to absorb sweat and not wick it away. A nice synthetic shirt will make your long commute a much more enjoyable one.
Shorts – or pants. It’s your call.
Socks and Shoes
Socks – wool socks are always the way to go no matter the weather.
Shoes – whichever shoes are comfortable for you to ride in. Platform pedals and sneakers (instead of clipless pedals cycling shoes) tend to be more convenient. Avoid sandals, as they can get sweaty and become slippery, creating blisters.
Helmet (always a key for cycling)
A fleece helmet warmer is a great way to keep your head nice and warm. A beanie is also good if you can fit it in.
Jacket and Pants
Jacket – a waterproof windbreaker with a hood is great for cold as well as rainy conditions.
Pants – wool cycling pants are amazing for cold weather, but nylon waterproof pants are the only way to go when it comes to rain. Cotton will absorb all the water and leave you low and wet.
Shoes and socks
Socks – wool socks always!!
Shoes – for shoes in cold weather it’s up to you. Whatever will keep your feet warm. In the rain, wear those same warm shoes, but get a waterproof booty for them. That way, your feet are warm and dry.
Classes and Clinics
For proper accessories and commuting etiquette, come to our How-To Clinics on Year-Round Riding. They are held throughout the year. We will teach you how to ride when the traffic is packed and what you should always have on you when you’re on your daily commute. Best of all, it’s free.