When I got into graduate school I was determined to stay in shape while working nights and weekends pursuing my academic and career goals. For some reason I thought biking in Southern California would be easy… Let’s keep in mind I am not a biker, I hate going down hill on a bike, my last bike was from Walmart. So this time I was determined bike it right.
First I got the proper gear! My bike is a road bike, made for women, light frame, with multiple gears. The ideal commuter bike is light weight, has multiple gears, disc breaks and come from a local bike shop. If you shop local you are likely to get free service for the first few years as well as accessory discounts. I bought a U lock, bike shorts, biker water bottle, and a helmet. If you have the kind of bike that has a quick release wheel I would suggest buying wheel lock; it holds the wheel to the frame.
Next make sure you know your climate, terrain , and sweat.
If you are bike 5-10 miles to campus or to school check the incline on google maps. A slight incline will greatly affect your commute. I only bike 4 miles round trip to campus and the slight incline to campus is painful compared to my ride home of no peddling. Next think about your climate! Check the weather the night before. If you are biking more than 5 miles one way, sweat when you workout, and have a warm climate consider wearing workout clothes on the bike and changing when you make it to your destination.
For me biking a couple miles is easy, but I do have asthma, allergies, and sweat a LOT when I work out. So I wear workout clothes to campus and then change when I get there.
Don’t forget about timing! Google maps will give you a rough estimate for how long it will take you to bike to your location but you should still do a test drive. Also I would shoot for getting to work/school early.
Biking in heels? You can do it but you should be very careful! If you have little incline, paved roads, and have stretched out calves then do a test bike. You can bike it heels safely and you can also hurt your self in heels. Use caution and do what is right for you.
Lastly, have fun! I love biking home because it is downhill, but also because I am not on my phone, looking at a screen, or a textbook. I just look up and around taking in the tree lined roads and beautiful buildings that make up my campus.
Accessories you need: helmet, U lock, Wheel lock, Seat cover, Lights (front and back), and storage (back pack, saddle bags, etc.). What you may need: biking gloves, biker shorts, biker shorts/ leggings with padding, phone mount (GPS), and a change of clothes.