What better time to pick for Bike Month than May? The weather is starting to warm up and everyone is eager to shed their winter coats (not to mention pounds) and enjoy outdoor activities.
Biking isn't just a great way to enjoy the outdoors, it's an environmentally-friendly alternative to commuting to work by car. So as Wells Fargo celebrates National Bike to Work Day this May 18th, we want to share the experiences that two team members, Lorraine Jarvis and Eric Kurnie, have had biking to work, and give some advice on how you can get started too!
My husband and I are serious bike enthusiasts. We like all types of riding: mountain biking, road riding, and even racing on the velodrome.
My commute takes me from Marin County north of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and into downtown San Francisco. Not only am I lucky enough to enjoy one of the most scenic rides in the country, my commute is good for the environment and lets me avoid the frustrations that come with driving to work, save money on gas and public transportation, and help me stay in shape and train for upcoming races.
In fact, it was the daily training of my commute that helped me win the 2009 500 meter time trial at the Track Cycling Masters World Championships in Sydney, Australia, and the same event in Anadia, Portugal, in 2010. Right now, I'm training for the National Championships coming this July. (—LJ)
Cycling has always been part of my life. Starting in elementary school all the way through college it has been my primary means of local transportation, my ride to freedom (well … to school and friends' houses).
My work bike commuting started several years ago during a Bike to Work Month. With an inspirational group from the Risk & Compliance and Fraud teams, we challenged ourselves to see how many days in May we could bike to work instead of driving. I'm happy to say I was able to bike to work the entire month.
Since then, I regularly bike from my home on the San Francisco Peninsula to work, with the aid of the commuter train. When I get home at the end of the day, I've ridden 16 miles, and my ride helps me focus on my way to work and clears my head on my way back. Not to mention it always gives me great pride to do something for the environment.
Cycling is a friendly community that's especially active in the Bay Area—I hope Bike Month can inspire more people to join us!
Whatever your inspiration to get on your bike and ride to work may be, here are some tips on getting started:
- Start slow. Don't feel like you have to start biking to work every day right off the bat. Try it a couple of times, allowing yourself a public transit option one-way just in case.
- Develop a routine. Once you feel comfortable riding to work often, find a routine that works for you. Some people like to keep a week's worth of clothes at work, others like to bring their clothes for the day in a backpack. Find what works best for you, but pack light when you're riding.
- Give yourself time. Biking to work can make your commute longer than you're used to or it might even be a shorter commute! For your first few times biking to work, give yourself enough time to get to work and change.
- Pick the safest route. There are probably direct routes to your work, but you want to make sure your route is safe for bikes. A number of cities have “bicycle boulevards” specifically designated for bike travel because they are less traveled by cars, but still get you to your destination quickly.
- Learn the rules of the road. Bicyclists are expected to obey all the same traffic laws as a car—but there are some differences that you should know. For a good list of Bicycle Rules of the Road, click here.
- Have fun!