This blog post is the first of an upcoming series. Our good friend and ambassador, Tamsin, is a year-round commuter and will give her tips and tricks about riding your bike in each of the four seasons. Here’s her blog post about commuting by bike in the spring months!
Spring commuting season is here
And hey, it’s not all birdsong and spring blooms. Commuting on two wheels at any time of year has its challenges. This is certainly never more true than springtime in Ottawa. Two years ago, I rode to work on clear streets only to find the bike paths under several centimetres of snow on when it was time to ride home.
If you find your resolve to ride wavering, here are a few reasons why it can be worth it. According to 2017 study results reported in the British Medical Journal, cycling to work is associated with a 41% lower risk of dying overall compared to commuting by car or public transport. That means that bike commuters are less likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer. Risks of developing heart disease and cancer are also 46% and 45% lower respectively. I don’t know about you, but I find that amazing.
But if you’re like me, numbers like these, while impressive, are not the reason I commute by bike. For me, it’s about being outdoors, seeing the buds on the trees and the first spring flowers sprouting up and of course the freedom to get to my destination under my own steam and on my own schedule. What is your reason for riding to work?
Some tips for getting ready to ride this spring
- Check your tire pressure. The sidewall of your tires will tell you the pressure (PSI) you need.
- Give your brakes a squeeze to see if they still have stopping power.
- Make sure the bolts and quick releases haven’t loosened up too much.
- Is your chain lubed or does it need to be replaced?
- Not sure about any of this? Book your bike for a spring tune up.
- Invest in good rain gear. Goretex rain pants and jacket along with waterproof gloves are nice to have.
- A backpack or pannier with a waterproof cover is also essential for keeping your laptop and office attire dry.
- Pick a safe route on bike paths and low-traffic streets.
- Be open to the challenge!