How to Safely Bike to Work With Style
Today’s post is brought to you by FattE-Bikes
It’s international Car Free Day and I’m celebrating the bad-ass bikers among us who pedal their way to work or play!
I commuted via bike for years when I lived in DC and Portland, where I spent a short-term stint working on a campaign. Both cities have pretty big bike cultures, but I always wondered why I see so many more men than women on the bike path. Commuting by bike has so many endorphin-boosting, heart-pumping, and carbon-reducing benefits, that I want more women to reap those rewards, too!
Last year I interviewed Rebecca Serna of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and learned that the top reason women don’t bike to work is the fear of biking through traffic. And not to mention sweat factor, too! I totally get that – no one wants to show up to work drenched with sweat and smelling not-so-fresh for the rest of the day.
That’s why I teamed up with Victoria Brunner, founder of FattE-Bikes, an electric bike company based here in Denver, to give commuting by electric bike a try. Their battery-powered electric-assist bikes were designed specifically with safety and sweat-reduction in mind.
Here’s what I’ve learned about how to bike to work with safety and style:
1. Plan Your Route
Before leaving my house, I always take a few minutes to review my route on GoogleMaps, which has an option to select biking as your mode of transportation. That way, your suggested route will prioritize bike paths and streets with designated bike lanes.
You can also get a hands-free phone attachment for your bike (I love this one, which works well even on the bumpiest of roads) so you can keep your route within sight via the GoogleMaps App.
Bike paths often offer more scenic views and also mean you won’t need to compete with car traffic. Streets with designated bike lanes are becoming increasingly popular in major metropolitan areas, and help with rider safety and comfort, too.
2. Pack Smart
I like to designate a specific backpack for biking, and always keep it stocked with the essentials so I can just grab it and hit the road.
If I can’t bring my bike into the office, I always have my go-to bike lock, the Fahgettaboudit by Kryptonite. It’s big and beefy, so I feel secure leaving one of my most prized possessions outside. If you’d like a lighter option, disc brake locks are an excellent choice, too. They’re compact but super-secure and prevent your bike from being rideable until removed.
Next, I always have a tire patch kit and levers on hand. If you ride over a nail or sharp piece of glass and pop an inner tube, you’ll need to know how to fix if yourself if you can’t get to a nearby bike shop. Don’t worry, a patch job is less daunting that it sounds. I taught myself with a little practice and a lot of Youtube tutorials like this one.
Depending on how long your commute is, I always like to have water and a snack on hand, too. If your ride is less than a few miles, you might be fine without it, but you never know when you might want to opt for a longer spin instead. And riding while thirsty or hungry is the worst – not to mention dangerous.
3. Don’t Sweat It
My favorite part of riding the FattE-Bike was the way uphill climbs felt as effortless as downhill cruising. I simply set my pedal assist level (1 through 5) on the handlebar interface, and with every pedal I took, the motor gave me a major boost. It’s like I was going twice the distance I normally would with every rotation – and I didn’t even set it any higher than level 2!
The bike also had a throttle control on the handlebar, which made me feel like a badass motorcyclist. I’d just rotate the throttle towards me and zoom! The bike took off. It was a great way to get a head start.
Electric bikes make hills a total breeze, which means you’ll arrive at the office faster and without the need to de-sweat in the bathroom before heading to your desk. You get to decide how much exercise you want to get out every ride, since the motor-assist level is totally up to you.
4. Go Big
When picking out the best electric bike for you, think big. The FattE-Bike I rode had a sturdy frame that would keep even the most petite woman feeling strong and steady when on the road. Bigger bikes are easier for motorists to see, and get in fewer accidents as a result.
Bigger, fatter tires are also a huge benefit when riding on rocky, uneven roads. They’re pothole-proof, all-terrain, and all-weather, ensuring that you and your bike can keep cruising through just about anything. Fat tires have more surface area on the road, so they provide more traction and stability, too.
5. Stand Out
One final way to ensure you’re safe and stylin’ on your ride into work is to wear bright colors. Bright, reflective attire ensures that everyone else on the road sees you coming, even after dark. I like to use velcro ankle reflectors to keep me visible and pull in any flared-out pants I might be wearing to keep them from getting shredded up by my gears.
Another way to stay bright? Pick a colorful helmet! Mine is black, but I’m looking to add reflective tape to it to increase my visibility.
Do you bike to work? Why or why not? Have you ever tried an electric bike?
I’d love to hear from you. Has the safety or sweat factor kept you trapped in your car thus far? What would make biking to work easier for you? Let me know in the comments section below and tag me on your bike-to-work selfies on social media @emiliearies or @bosseduporg!
And if you’re looking for the ultimate urban commuter vehicle, get yourself a FattE-Bike at FattEBikes.com now, and use code BOSSEDUP at checkout to snag a free disc brake lock with your purchase.
Disclaimer: I’m an emphatic fan of all the products detailed above, which is why I’m recommending them. That said, some of the offers above also include affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I may earn money when you click through to make purchase.