This weekend I went for a long ride through Setauket and Stony Brook doing errands on my bike. Despite my “bike more, drive less” mentality, I realized I rarely use my bike to run errands but it’s amazingly easy to do. If the places you need to go are within say 5 miles of where you are, it may be faster and more efficient to take your bike, especially in places like Long Island where the smaller local roads get congested with all the weekend traffic. To maximize your trip you need to do a few things:
- First, plan out your route. This will help prevent back tracking and having a much longer trip than you would like (unless you want a long ride). If you’re not sure, ask a Freewheeler what routes they use.
- Second, get yourself a comfortable backpack to carry basic essentials (water, jacket, etc.) and things you plan on purchasing. Be careful though, you probably don’t want to load it with more than 10-15 lbs, otherwise you may hurt your back and/or shoulders. If you anticipate carrying larger loads you may want to invest in a bike rack and maybe some panniers.
- Third, check the weather. You want to make sure you won’t be riding through any bad conditions that may prove dangerous on the road.
- Lastly, have some comfortable clothing and proper safety gear. You don’t need fancy bike clothes, but also make sure they’re not the nicest things you own. Even under the best conditions you will sometimes get crud on your clothes. You can tuck your pants into your socks or use rubber bands to keep your pants cuffs away from the gears. Sunglasses are good for very bright days when you need help seeing the road as much as possible. Always make sure you ride with your helmet!
With the high price of gas and general concern over global warming, using your bike as much as possible is an easy way to help save money and do your part to reduce your carbon footprint. Furthermore, it’s good exercise and it gets you outside on nice days. Riding through your community at a slower pace gives you a chance to enjoy things you might not otherwise notice zooming by in a car. Now that summer is here, what are you waiting for?
See you on the road.