National Bike to Work Day

by Sue Taggart

If you are considering making your commute a two-wheeler affair, you might want to check out some tips from Gale Bernhardt.

In preparation for this article, I did actually try out City Bikes in New York City yesterday. The bike ride was no problem, actually trying to pay for and get the bike out of the stand was way more problematical! Anyway just to prove I got on the bike, here are some pictures.

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I am very lucky that I can walk to work. Riding a bike would actually take me longer, because I did (as one of Gale’s tips suggested) a dry run to find some roads that were not so busy with traffic. New York can be challenging that way!


So here are a few more tips to get you on that bike:

1.Take your clothes to work the day before you commute.

If you plan to change from cycling clothes to work clothes when you commute, bring your clothes to work the day before your ride.


2.Strategize your clean up time before work.

Some commuters will want a full shower before sitting next to coworkers. If that’s the case, use a chamois towel (popular among swimmers) to dry off, rather than lugging around a bath towel. If you don’t have a shower, you can use a wash cloth and soap in the restroom to give yourself a “spit bath.”


3.Watch for parked car doors swinging open.

Be alert for cars parked on the side of the road. Take note if there are people in the car that might be getting ready to swing open the car door without looking for you coming from behind on a bike.


4.Learn how to change a flat.

If you don’t already know how to do it, learn how to change a flat tire.


5.Carry a cell phone and call for help if you have significant mechanical trouble.

If you have time to change a flat tire or deal with other mechanical issues on the way into work, fine. If you’re pinched for time, call someone to give you a lift. There’s a good chance you’re on the road well before anyone else, so it’s likely that a co-worker will come your way.


Now, for some what’s cool and what’s not advice from Gale:

What’s Cool

  • One pant cuff rolled (hint: the right one)
  • Racks or panniers to carry commuting essentials
  • Bike commuting for any portion of your trip to work, even if it’s riding to a public transportation hub
  • Recruiting a friend to ride with you
  • Bike commuting in less-than-perfect weather conditions

What’s Not

  • Inside-out bike shorts hanging on your cubicle wall
  • Riding on sidewalks
  • Listening to music while you should be listening for potential hazards around you
  • Weaving in and out of stopped or slowly moving traffic
  • Darting across medians and riding against traffic

So, are you all set to be cool riding a bike to work?


Gale Bernhardt was the USA Triathlon team coach at the 2003 Pan American Games and 2004 Athens Olympics. Her first Olympic experience was as a personal cycling coach at the 2000 Games in Sydney. She currently serves as one of the World Cup coaches for the International Triathlon Union’s Sport Development Team. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale’s pre-built, easy-to-follow cycling and triathlon training plans. Let Gale and Active Trainer help you succeed.

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