Follow these simple steps and you will be on your way to bike commuting!
Selecting a bike
Whether it's fixing up your old bike or choosing a new one, follow our tips for selecting a bike to make sure you get the bike that's right for you.
Choosing a route
Visit our bike map page to find bike routes in your county. It's always good to have a copy of your county's bike map on hand in case you want to bike to a new location so visit your local bike shop to pick one up or join your county bicycle coalition to get a free copy of your county's bike map. 511.org has a Bike Mapper tool to help you find bike routes in your area. Every Bay Area bridge provides access (either by path or shuttle) for bikes. Click here to find local bike paths.
Secure your bike
A good bike U-lock is the best way to secure your bicycle. Smaller locks are more difficult to break open, and the less slack you leave in the lock the better. Here is an excellent Streetfilm showing what to do and not do when locking your bike. Remove any accessories that have quick releases (lights, cycling computers, water bottles). For more security tips, visit our page on securing your bike.
Practice your route
It's a good idea to give your route a try before you make it your regular commute. Bicyclists average about 10 miles per hour so use that as a beginning estimate and give yourself some extra time when you first try commuting by bike or ride the route on a day off to test the time. Carry the same amount of clothes and other items as you would on a work day. Is the route too steep? Is there ample lighting for riding in the evening? Explore alternatives. Imagine traffic conditions during regular commute hours, and remember that your route will look different after dark.
Know in advance where you'll park
Check with your workplace to see whether you can store your bike in your office or where the nearest bike locker or racks are available. If you park outside, you may want to remove your front tire and lock it to your back tire and frame, or use an additional cable lock to use with your U-lock. If you are biking to a transit station click here for a listing of bike racks and lockers.
Know how to ride safely
Visit our how to ride page to learn the rules of the road and pick up skills for safe riding in all situations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is biking safe?
There are bike routes throughout the region that will provide you with bike lanes and lower traffic streets to ride to make your commute safe. To make your ride as safe as possible, make sure you know the rules of the road and basic riding skills before you bike. The best way to ride safely is to take a bike skills course. There are also bike skills classes that are offered year round.
Will biking lengthen my commute?
Short distance commutes will most likely take the same amount of time or even be quicker because you won’t have to sit in traffic or wait for a delayed train. If your ride is five miles or less, it will only take about 25 minutes. Longer commutes can be achieved by combining bikes with transit for greater time savings. Also, cycling doubles as a workout so that’s one less trip to the gym you have to make.
How expensive is biking?
You can buy a good reliable bike for a few hundred dollars or fix up your old bike for less than fifty. After the initial investment on a bike and equipment, you'll save money on gas and maintenance compared to driving.
Will my clothes get wrinkled on the way to work?
On a short flat ride of 5 miles or less, you can ride about 10 miles per hour without breaking a sweat and arrive ready for work. For longer rides, you may want to carry a change of clothes or leave some work clothes at the office.
How do I find someone to bike with?
Colleagues who live near you and neighbors who bike to work near your workplace can give you tips on the best routes to take and even ride with you. If you don’t know anyone who bikes to work, you can find a Bike Buddy through the 511.org Regional Rideshare Program’s free Ridematching Service. Join your local bike coalition to connect with other bike commuters in your county.