As a busy dad, finding the time to work out is hard, especially when you can spend couple hours in traffic. So after a couple episodes of blood-pressure busting traffic, expensive tolls and parking, I decided to explore commuting to NYC from White Plains, it’s a good commute at about 30 miles each way. Commuting into NYC can be a huge challenge, but at the end of the day I feel so great to get in 60 miles (keep in mind that much of that is done on greenways!)
Summer is a great time to experiment with commuting. Here are some tips on getting started
• Helmet required:Fit is important – try before you buy.
• Be visible:Bright colors in daylight. At night, wear something reflective.
• Be predictable: Make eye contact. Ride on the correct side of the road, not against traffic. Look behind you before you make a turn or lane change, that lets drivers know you’re up to something. Use hand signals. Don’t weave in and out of the lane when parked cars are spread out.
• Plan your route: Use Google maps and check the bike option and then overlay traffic patterns. Use Bike paths and roads with bike lanes.
• Listen to traffic:No headphones.
• Watch for parked car doors opening: Keep an eye out and scan parked cards.
• If the sun is in your eyes, the people driving up behind you DON’T SEE YOU. Use bells, horns, hand signals – whatever you need to get their attention.
• Be aware of the “right-side” sandwich between a car and the curb at a corner.
• Use panniers – or a good size backpack
• Cleaning up – some essentials – baby wipes and deodorant.
• Non-cycling clothing – panniers help carry them in. If you make this regular – maybe leave shoes, etc at office
• Cycling clothing – I personally carry an extra set of cycling clothes since my ride in long (and sweaty).
• Get the best lock you can afford – a stolen bike sucks.
Here is a recent conversation with Triathlon Pro and Coach on why he loves commuting:
As a pro athlete I think people envision me riding over mountains in Spain or in some lab, and while I do that, there is still the simple joy of riding or running to get some place. I live in NYC and still work part time downtown. On those days I forgo the packed subways and spin or run the bike paths along the Hudson, at sunrise and sunset, and just enjoy the ride. A heavy off road bike with nobby tires keeps me working hard enough to make the 75 minutes a nice bump in base work and in the early part of the year it’s a great way to sneak in some volume. In the summer it also makes great recovery workouts between all the racing I do.
As a coach I have seen athletes get Kona spots based on the miles and workouts they do commuting. Some log 60-80 miles a day, and it’s the backbone of their training.
Regardless of how or why you commute, I think we can all agree. Time spend on a bike adds to your life, time spent in a car robs you of it.