This Friday is Bike to Work Day, and after 16 years of bike commuting, I thought I would share a few thoughts on the subject:
#1 I love it. That's most important thing. Every workday, no matter what else is going on, I always have two bike rides to look forward to. If you try it, you may love it, too. That's the whole point of Bike to Work Day.
#2 Once you start biking to work, you may find that you no longer need a car. Or you can go car lite, as my family has (1 car for a family of 4). The savings are phenomenal.
#3 Weather is not a problem. In fact, weather keeps things interesting. The adage is correct: There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.
#4 Invest in a good commuter bike. It should be functional and fun to ride - it should be a bike you should want to jump on every morning. A good place to check out transportation bikes is right here at Bikes For The Rest Of Us.
#5 Your fellow cyclists are your friends. If you're having trouble with your bike (most commonly a flat tire), you will be amazed at how many bicyclists will stop and offer to help. When passing a fellow cyclist, say hello. At the very least, give them an audible warning so they know you're there.
#6 Safety is the number one issue preventing people from choosing their bikes over their cars or public transit. Over the course of the last 16 years, and especially in the last 5 years, I believe Washington, DC has become a much safer environment for cyclists. There seem to be a lot more of us, thanks to better facilities and bikeshare, and there is safety in numbers.
You can leave your advice for newbie bike commuters in the comments. And newbie bike commuters, after reading all this unsolicited advice, you may want to check out Bikeyface for a little humor.
Happy Bike To Work Day!