In the United States, 40 percent of urban travel is within two miles of where people live, which means most vehicular trips can be replaced by biking.
Biking is an inexpensive and fun way to commute to work while also providing you the opportunity to relax, exercise, and get some fresh air. The League of American Bicyclists found that just 3 hours of biking each week can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50 percent! Not much is needed to get started with bike commuting, just a decent bike and a lock.
Every year, drivers in Northern Virginia spend hundreds of dollars just to get to work. Fuel, maintenance, parking, and ownership costs add up as you put more and more miles on your car. Biking is a practical alternative for anyone who wants to travel 2-10miles each way. In fact, if you live within 10 miles of work, bicycling takes about the same amount of time as driving a car.
Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or you’re just starting out, there’s no better way to stay fit, save time, reduce your impact, and enjoy yourself.
General safety tips
- Follow the rules of the road, ride with traffic and obey traffic lights and stop signs
- Always yield to pedestrians, especially at crosswalks
- Watch out for car doors opening, if you can, ride at the very edge of a bike lane or at least 4 feet away from a parked car
- If you are new to cycling, avoid busy streets and roads with a high speed limit, stick to bike paths.
Tips for starting out
- Determine your route. Keep in mind, the route you use to drive to work may not be the same route you use to bike. You can use a tool like mapmyride.com or the Tysons Partnerships very own trip planner. If you’re worried about your first trip, try giving it a go on the weekend first so you can identify any issues that might come up.
- Find a bike you are comfortable riding on and fits you well. Biking doesn’t have to be fancy, but if the bike is fitted to your body, you will feel more comfortable on the ride.
- It is helpful if your commuting bike has the following: fenders for your tires so you don’t kick up mud on your clothes, a rear rack to snap in bike bags for storage, a bell to notify pedestrians or other cyclists, and front and rear lights.
- Biking in comfortable clothes is always ideal. Depending on the length of your ride and how much you sweat, you can either wear your work clothes or wear workout clothes and pack work clothes in a bag, or bring along your attire the day before so it doesn’t get wrinkled.
- Try keeping extra items at your office just in case such as socks, underwear, shirts, shoes, if you have the space.
- If your office has a shower, even better, but if not you can freshen up with wipes, deodorant, and a towel.
- Remember to wear reflective gear and bright lights to see and be seen at night (a front white light and a rear red light are required).
Bike on Transit or Bike to Transit
Bicycling can be a great way to travel between your starting point and the nearest transit stop, and from the transit stop to your destination on the other end. You can park your bike at a Metro station, commuter rail station, or bus stop and take bus or rail. Or take your bike with you on Metrorail (there are some restrictions), Metrobus, ART, and most other local bus systems. MARC and VRE commuter rail systems have bike parking at stations and allow folding bikes on board. VRE also allows full-size bikes on some trains and cars.
Check out the links below for more information: