8 Tips for an Easy Honolulu Bike Commute to Work
It’s Bike to Work Week—Here’s a few ways to make your daily bike commute easy and fun.
Photo: Ambika Castle
Summer’s almost here and that means its National Bike to Work Week. For anyone cycling around town, the Hawai‘i Bicycling League is hosting energizer stations with free coffee and snacks and other goodies—a different location every day. Check the website for more details.
There are a ton of benefits to pedaling your way to work—including saving money on gas and parking, keeping you in shape, avoiding the stress of rush-hour traffic jams and, hey, helping the planet. But if you’re still on the fence about giving bike commuting a try, or just starting out, here are a few tips for making your commutes as easy and enjoyable as possible.
1. Slow Down.
The No. 1 thing stopping most people from biking to work is the fear that they’ll get all sweaty and disheveled. There are a couple of solutions to this. First, slow down. If you budget a little extra time in the morning, you’ll be able to bike at an enjoyable, leisurely pace, and avoid breaking a sweat. You’re not in that much of a rush to get to the office, right?
2. Bring an extra change of clothes.
Second, bring a fresh set of clothing, and change once you get to work. Depending on how far your commute is, and how fancy your pants or skirts are, you might be able to get away with only changing your shirt.
3. Pro Tip: Use baby wipes for a quick refesh.
On really hot days, a zip-top bag of after-ride baby wipes can work wonders for a quick refresh.
4. Install a basket on your bike.
Another source of sweat: backpacks and messenger bags, which trap heat right next to your body. Let the bike carry your stuff, instead. Panniers, racks and baskets are all great ways to haul stuff easily, whether it’s your work papers, or groceries on the ride home—and you’ll stay cool and breezy.
5. Use a waterproof bag.
Hawai‘i is famous for its three-minute rain showers. Be ready for the next one by stashing your stuff in a bag that shrugs off rain. You won’t believe how much less you’ll stress about a little drizzle when you know your phone, laptop and change of clothes are safe and dry.
6. Install fenders.
It’s easy to overlook these when the weather is nice, but trust us, no cyclist wants to wear a stripe of dirty rainwater all up their back.
7. Have a back-up plan in case of a break-down.
For most people, getting to work on time is not negotiable, so be ready for the inevitable bike hiccup—a flat tire, a broken chain, etc. This could be as simple as keeping $2.50 in cash for TheBus, or as involved as a full flat kit (extra tube, patches, air pump, wrench, tire levers). Either way, the peace of mind will be worth it.
8. Give yourself a break.
Nobody’s perfect—we all catch a cold sometimes, and sometimes we just feel lazy. And you have to be seriously hardcore to want to bike when it’s really pouring out. That’s OK. With all the money you’re saving on gas and parking, you can budget for a few skip days. Maybe you grab an Uber once or twice a month. Maybe you spring for a day or two of parking fees. You’re still coming out ahead, and it’s so liberating to have a mini vacation now and then. Hey, there’s a reason diets have cheat days, right?