New Rules for Bike Commuters
To get where you're going safely and in style, use these simple rules from two of our favorite bike commuters.
1. Go chic. "You don't need to go all spandex crazy to ride your bike to work and heels are definitely okay! It's actually easier to bike in heels than it is to walk in them," says Jessica Bosanko, inveterate NYC bike commuter and Vice President at M+R Strategic Services. "As far as what to wear, if you can walk three or four blocks in it, you can probably bike in it," she says.
2. Never, ever leave home without a helmet. And put a good, bright blinking red light on the back of your bike. (Red always goes on the back; use a white one if you want a light on the front.)
3. Get a basket or a rack. "A backpack or messenger bag makes you sweat more," says Bosanko. Get the bag off your body — there are plenty of cool bags (panniers) that attach to racks on bikes. "This will make you look way more put together when you get to your destination and you won't have a big sweat stain on your back," Bosanko says. "The one who arrives at her destination looking the most put together is officially the 'winner' in this adventure."
4. Keep your eyes on the tires of cars. "You can get a feel for what someone is going to do — as in, pull out of a parking spot or turn — by seeing what direction their tires are pointed in," says Joey Zvejnieks, Brooklyn-to-Manhattan bike commuter who does architectural renderings for Ferguson & Shamamian Architects, LLP. "That split second of extra time you have by knowing what they're going to do can keep you out of trouble."
5. Keep your distance. "Don't ride alongside a car. Instead, ride behind the right or left rear corner of the car," says Zvejnieks. "You'll avoid running into the car if they try to turn or pull over."
6. Slow down, enjoy the ride. Remember that the guy walking the dog and talking on his cell phone just won't have enough attention bandwidth to see you, as much as you'd like him to. Plan accordingly. "And don't be a jerk. Think more Country Time lemonade commercial, less Tour de France," Bosanko says.