Trying out bicycle commuting for the first time

Fitness and health issues

Are you not in good health? Tell your doctor about your intent to start cycling, if so. The doctor and you together can decide if you need a physical exam or special training.

Perhaps you are not accustomed to riding routes as physically demanding as the ones you expect to commute. You might want to do exercise rides first. Start with short rides you can handle. Gradually make the rides more difficult.

To pursue a (hopefully) medically sound and expertly designed training regimen, see the cycling books at a local bookstore.

When you start cycling long distances and you're not accustomed to that, you may experience soreness. For soreness doesn't diminish after a few rides, here are some things you can try:

Here's further guidance about pain caused by cycling.

Other preparations

When you learned to ride a bike as a child, you probably only learned the most basic techniques. But, with a little more knowledge, you may improve in important ways.

To get cycling or mountain-biking instruction for yourself or your kids, ask a nearby bike shop if they know about a good class. Or look for a course recommended by a national bicycling organization, such as the:

You might enjoy sharing at least part of your commute with another cyclist for companionship. Check for a local bike buddy program.

To just try out bike commuting, it might be easier to first bike on an official casual dress day (assuming your workplace has such a thing).

Not accustomed to riding in car traffic? First practice in light traffic, then try the busier streets.

See my page about route planning for more information to prepare for your first trip.