5 Common Objections around Bike Commuting, and How to Overcome Them
It is widely accepted that getting around a city on a bike is the quickest and least expensive way to go, especially during rush hour. So why is it, then, that only 3.1% of D.C. area commuters get to work on a bike?
Here’s Amber Wason, co-founder of Riide’s, take on why more D.C. commuters should bike:
“As co-founder of a company that makes bikes for commuters, I spend most of my days talking with prospective customers about their desire to try bike commuting, helping them to explore and overcome their fears and excuses. Here are the most common objections we talk about.”
1. “I don’t have a shower at work”
If you aren’t lucky enough to have showers and changing facilities at the office, your options are limited, but bike commuting is still possible!
Take simple measures to protect your work clothes, such as rolling up your drive-side pant leg (the leg that sits near the chain), or toting heels or your dress shirt. There are also technical fabrics (check out Ministry of Supply or Kit and Ace) that absorb sweat and leave you looking polished.
If you’re someone who sweats a lot, or have an uphill ride to work, consider trying an electric bike.
2. “How will I carry my stuff?”
Along with wardrobe changes, if you’re new to bike commuting you must figure out your carrying game. The two most popular options for lugging gear are: 1) a rack/pannier combination or 2) a backpack.
The rack/pannier option is super practical. You can slip whatever bag/briefcase situation you currently use in the panniers, while a backpack is the more minimal approach (there are some super stylish backpacks out there. I rock the Everlane bag).
3. “What do I do in bad weather?”
I love this Norwegian quote: “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. Once you’ve discovered the benefits of getting to work on two wheels, there is little weather that will keep you off your bike and the proper gear will get you there warm, safe and dry.*
For rain, we recommend a really good rain jacket, waterproof shoes and a dry bag to protect your electronics. For cold weather, dress in layers and always cover your ears (a hat works, if it fits under your helmet, or check out a winter insert).
If you’re a fair weather fan, that’s okay too! Save bike commuting for the many beautiful days, and consider an alternative commute for bad weather.
*Always use extreme caution while riding in the rain or snow.
4. “I’m scared my bike will be stolen.”
Theft is a common fear around bike ownership, but you can drastically reduce your chances of a stolen bike by following these 3 rules:
- Whenever possible, bring your bike indoors with you. Check to see if bikes are permitted in the office, or if there is secure bike parking anywhere in your building.
- Use a lock with the highest security rating. We love the ABUS Bordo 6000, or ask your local bike shop for their recommendation. Always secure the front wheel and seat post with your lock or a cable extension.
- Limit the amount time your bike is locked in one location. As a general rule, avoid leaving your bike for more than 2 hours in a public or unsecured location. And even when stored in a bike room or office, be sure to lock it to something secure.
In the chance a theft does occur, make sure your bike is properly insured. Check your homeowner’s or renter’s policy, or consider a third party bicycle insurance product such as Velosurance.
5. “Drivers scare me.”
Sharing the road is important for the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and drivers alike. Brush up on local bike laws (Washington Area Bicycle Association has a great pocket guide for the D.C. area) and take precautions to avoid dangerous situations. Use designated bike paths and lanes whenever possible, keeping a safe distance from parked cars and other cyclists. Finally, do everything in your power to be visible to drivers, such as equipping your bike with reflectors and lighting, and using the proper hand signals when turning.
The best way to conquer any fear around bike commuting is to get out there and try it. At Riide, we offer a free 3-day demo on our bikes (click here to reserve a spot) and we’re always available to talk through any challenges, or even go on a ride with you! Send us your questions in the comments section, visit us at our store, or shoot us a note to email@example.com.
We look forward to seeing you out there!