No one disagrees that riding to work is cheaper and better for you than driving. If you’ve never done it, though, getting organised can seem more hassle than it’s worth. But with a little planning you’ll find it’s not so difficult and you might even enjoy it.
Think about your route first. Sometimes it’s better to take back streets and cycle paths, even though it may be a bit further. You’ll avoid traffic and arrive more relaxed. Ask experienced cyclists which routes they use. Test it out one weekend and see how long it takes you
So, you know you can get to work safely and on time. What about your clothes? Depending on how far you have to travel and how you’re expected to dress at work, you might be able to wear them. Some prefer to ride in something more comfortable and change at work. Take a couple of changes to work on a day you don’t ride, or carry them with you. Clothes folded neatly, then wrapped in a sturdy plastic bag travel surprisingly well.
How do you carry everything? If you can keep things at work, you can travel light. A courier-style bag that slings over one shoulder or a small back pack are both easy options. If you need to carry a bit more, panniers are the best shot. Line them with a big plastic bag to keep things dry on the rare occasions it rains.
OK, you can get everything to work. Don’t you get sweaty riding? Unless you’re riding a long way or training for a time trial – no. Your workplace may have a shower, which makes it easy to freshen up if you ride a fair way. If you’re not so lucky, ask if you can share a fellow cyclist’s facilities, or you may belong to a gym close by. A wash cloth and small towel at a hand basin are also very effective!
So, well done. You’ve gotten to work under your own steam. The trick now is to keep it up. Team up with others who ride your way or start a workplace BUG. (Check out Bicycle Victoria for help – http://www.bv.com.au.)
Ride to Work Day on Wednesday 4 October is a great way to start. There’s a free community breakfast in the Civic Gardens from 7.30 am and members of the Bendigo BUG will be leading groups into town if you want company.
See you on the road soon, God willing. Eddie Barkla
First published in the Bendigo Weekly Friday 8 September 2006