Bikes are good for a number of things, and one of those is getting you out to see things you normally wouldn't. I've taken my bikes out on a variety of adventures, and sometimes I write up what I've found.
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I've been using a bike to get to and from work and school ever since I was in college, but it was surprisingly long before I recognized that I could actually use a bike to get almost everywhere. In 2015, I set a goal to ride my bike to work every day during the summer. I latar expanded it to be during Daylight Saving Time, and more recently I've been doing it year-round.
Of course, I've learned some things along the way. Some of my tips inclue:
- If you have flat handlebars, get a set of Ergon grips. They make a huge difference in how pleasant it is to ride. I've got GP1s on my silly folding bike, and GP3s on my commuting bike
- You're probably going to want to carry some stuff, and a backpack will work fine. But if you want to carry stuff in style, get a rack and some Ortlieb panniers. I've been using the same set of Back-Roller Classics for over ten years now, and they've been fantastic. They've worked equally well in the strong sun of New Mexico and the constant rain of Seattle.
- There's no need to dress in body-hugging clothes just to get from your home to work. However, I have found that having a dedicated set of biking clothes is nice. Mine consist of a bright yellow polo-style biking jersey and some padded shorts. I'm fortunate enough to have a shower at work, so I pack my clothes into my panniers and I'm all set. But if I didn't have access to a shower at the office, I'd do the same thing and just change into my normal clothes in the bathroom. That way I can keep one set sweaty and one set clean.
- Speaking of clothes, it can get cold in the winter. I've done well with the layering technique: I use the same shorts and short sleeved shirt all year, but I wear some tights and a wool shirt liner when it gets cool in the fall. Paired with a light windbreaking jacket and some gloves, the combination works for me until it gets a ways below freezing.
- I got several flat tires the first year I rode every day until I got some Continental Gatorskin tires. After that, I haven't gotten a single one. Every couple of months I put the bike in a stand and pull the little bits of glass out of the tires to keep them from getting too damaged. I even had to stop once to pull a small nail out of my back tire, and then just kept on riding.
When I got my mountain bike in 2004, I figured I had my bike to keep forever. When I got my commuting bike in 2014, I was sure I would never need another bike. When I got my folding bike in 2018, I stopped making predictions.