Disclaimer: My bike commute is SHORT (3 miles each way) and riding my bike to/from work is faster and cheaper (15-20 min; free!) than public transit (30 min; $2.50) and only a little slower than driving (10-15 min; parking = $11-20). That should catch the Centsible Runner's attention! These factors provide a lot of motivation to bike. If my commute were longer and/or I had free parking, it would be harder to motivate myself to ride.
Here are some things that made it possible for me to bike commute with relative ease:
- Panniers: Wearing a backpack sucks. It makes your back hot & sore and it can be difficult to fit everything in, especially in the winter when you are taking in a big sweater to wear and packing a laptop. I found two on Ebay for about $50. They're not fancy but they are just fine.
- Ditch the purse: Just throw your wallet & little pouch of necessary "things" into your panniers. A purse takes up too much room. Keep an extra purse at work in a drawer that has extra stuff that you don't need to schlep back & forth - extra chap stick, comb, feminine products, etc. Then, when you need to go out of the office at work, just grab your things from the panniers and toss them in your work purse.
- Keep extra clothes at work: Stock your office/cube with an extra raincoat, umbrella, warm coat, casual gloves, hat, etc. These are things you can't bike in but may need if you leave the office during the day. No need to tote them back & forth when you can keep spares at work.
- Keep shoes at work: If you have one or two pairs of shoes that you only wear at work - leave them there so you don't have to schlep your shoes. Leave some pantyhose & extra socks there too!
- Keep extra toiletries at work: My commute is easy enough that I can shower after I get up, bike in, and not be too messed up for work. I know not everyone has it that easy so if you need to "get ready" for work at work - take all your stuff in and leave it there so you don't have to bring things back & forth. Do this even if it means buying an extra flat iron, travel hair dryer, make-up, etc. Keep some wipes around to catch that sweat.
- Be safe: Get a good helmet, reflective coat, warm gloves for winter, and invest in a decent headlight (or 2) and flashing tail light. Don't be cheap on this one, they're very important during winter.
- Pack your bags each night: When I don't pack the night before, it's too easy for me to bail and just take the light rail to work. Pack at night, prepare your lunch, even pack your clothes for work next day. Then, getting ready to jump on your bike & go is much easier in the morning and doesn't give you excuses about packing your stuff.
- Roll your clothes: This reduces wrinkling.
Biking, even at an easy pace, will give you a few extra calories burned each day which for me is not a bad thing (I like beer too much). Plus, the extra strength & cardio are nicet compliments to running and may even count as cross-training on an active rest day. Many birds = 1 stone!
What tips do you have to make bike commuting easier?