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Bicycling to Work Tips from Team Papa Wheelies

August 20 2014

papa wheeliesThe Papa Wheelies Team won the “Small Business” category in “Bike to Work Week” for six of the last eight years. I interviewed Josh Pierce, Jud Umberger, and Matt Legge for tips on bicycling to work. Hear it from the pros!!

1) Have the “right” bike, although you can commute on any bike.
2) Be prepared and take your time. It may take just a little longer than a car. Enjoy your ride and you will want to do it again!
3) Make yourself visible to cars. Be predictable. Make eye contact so you know the driver sees you and your intention.
4) Don’t use a cell phone or ear buds while riding. You need to act like a car – respect gets respect. If you have to use ear buds, leave one ear open, or use a blue tooth speaker (e.g. Buckshot) mounted on your handlebar like a car stereo. Use as much of your senses as possible. Listening is important; it’s like having an additional mirror.
5) Weather is iffy in New England, but go ahead and ride. “If I didn’t ride because of the weather, I’d just be sitting on the couch”, Jud said.
6) Have or wear layers of clothing; put your wallet and phone in zip lock bag.
7) Three gear essentials: mirror, flashing red back light, and white light in front.
8) To find the best route, go to Google maps or your local bike shop. (Papa Wheelies offers a service that plots the best route to your work site and a staffer will bike it with you while giving safety tips.) You may have to travel a bit further than the route you would take with your vehicle.
9) Bring in work clothes by car one day and leave in your office.
10) If your commute is too long, drive in one day with your bike on the car, bike home. Next day bike in, drive home.

When asked what motivates them to bike to work, the answers ranged from “I share a car with my girlfriend”, “Fitness – I get a free pass to eat whatever I want!”, and “It’s a physically and emotionally good start and finish to the day”.

Josh, Jud and Matt said the reasons for biking to work include saving money, doing the right thing for the planet, easing traffic congestion, and avoiding the hassle of parking downtown.

Thanks for the tips Team Papa Wheelies!