- The weather is fantastic. Seriously. it's just warm enough in the morning to ride in nothing but shorts and a T-shirt. You could probably even ride in your work clothes without breaking a sweat if you take it easy. In the northeast (OK, Vermont for me) the late spring gloom has given way to low humidity, sunny skies, and light breezes. It just doesn't get any better than this, and it's far easier to start the commuting habit now than say, in November, when it will be colder, wetter, and darker.
- You'll have lots of company. I commute on my bike over a fairly long season (April-November) and I've witnessed the ebb and flow of bikes on the road. This is the peak season. People I never see in the spring and fall are out there right now biking to work. Which is great, because it raises motorist awareness to a much higher level.
- School's out. Up here, last week was the last week of school. This week, my morning commute to work got a whole lot nicer. There aren't any school buses on the road, for one, but more importantly there aren't any harried parents using questionable judgement as they try to get Junior to school, text into work that they are running late, and eat an Egg McMuffin all at the same time. There are still a lot of drivers out there, and some of them will do dumb things, that's at a total low right now. If you start to ride your bike to work today, you've got 12 weeks in front of you before the traffic pattern gets more hectic again, and by then you'll be comfortable riding on the road in traffic.
- You have daylight. It's the longest day of the year. Up here the sun is up at about 5:10 AM, and is still high in the sky by dinnertime. If you don't have lights on your bike and work a normal schedule, you can hold off buying them for a couple of months. If you're like me, that early sunrise also wakes you up earlier,which is something a lot of bike commuters have to do in order to get on the road in time in the morning.
- Fitness. Getting in shape is on lots of people's minds this time of year. If you're a gym rat, biking to and from work is your new cardio, and you have less time you have to spend inside and you won't believe how nice it is to not have to fight over the one "good" treadmill at your gym.
So that's my missive for today. If you have a bike and a reasonable distance to go to get to work, just do it. Get on your bike, ride it to work, ride it home at the end of the day. This time of year, it really can be that simple. You don't need special clothes, you don't need lights, you don't need anything but you and your bike and a little bit of time. Bike commuting is a highly individualized activity. what works for me in terms of gear, shower strategy, or clothing may not work for you. But we all have to start somewhere. Get up early tomorrow, jump on your bike, ride it to work. Do it again the next day. You'll figure the rest out, really, along the way.
See you out there.