Getting There By Bicycle
Whether you are bicycling within your neighborhood, exploring the state’s scenic county roads and trails or commuting to work, this site will provide you with information and resources to help you make your trip a safe, efficient and enjoyable one.
A Few Tips
Choose your route carefully. Be sure to know the traffic laws that apply to you as a cyclist. Remember, you must follow the same rules as motor vehicles. Also, know that your commute to work can include transit. Most buses in the Twin Cities area have bike racks as well as many Greater Minnesota Transit Systems.
Your Bike Commute
Choosing your route to work is a critical step to an enjoyable and safe trip. Using a map that provides the local road network is a good place to start.
Check out the Share the Road Website for more information on safety, the 8 rules of the road and commuting by bicycle.
Parking Your Bike
All racks are not created equal. Racks are the best if they can easily accommodate all-locks, are located in a well-lighted location and are securely installed.
There are many choices in the types of bikes that are out there.
- Commuter bikes are an emerging category of bikes available. While riding a commuter bike, the rider sits in an upright position that is stable for commuting. These bikes can be equipped with fenders to keep road debris and water away from the rider. See Road Rules for operation of a bicycle and to know what is required.
- Mountain bikes are designed for off-road riding. They have fat, low pressure, knobby tires designed to grip rocks, dirt, roots, etc. and have upright handlebars with easy maneuverability for good performance on tricky terrain. If you have a mountain bike, it can be changed to a commuter bike, by adding narrower, smoother tires.
- Road bikes are built for speed and have narrow, smooth, high-pressure tires designed for fast aerodynamic performance. These bikes have various gears to maneuver through different terrain (hills or flat terrain). The rider sits in a hunched position, but to make this type of bike more commuter friendly raise the handlebars to sit in a more upright position.
- The best commuting bike for you is the one that’s most comfortable—that may be the one hanging from your garage rafters.
- Lights are required for early morning/evening, night and foul-weather commutes. Buy a headlight for your handlebars and blinking lights for your seat post, back pack or helmet. For more go to your safety and road rules.
- If there’s no shower at work, set an easy pace. Experience the journey!
- Do a maintenance check and consider taking a basic maintenance class through a local bike shop
- Each day before riding check your brakes for wear and tires for appropriate inflation - each week give your bicycle a thorough inspection
- Use a seat pack capable of holding a spare tube; tools, flat tire repair kit; coins for phone call - or cellular phone
- Bring a tire pump or inflator. Some can be attached to your bike frame.
- Rear rack and panniers or a bicycle trailer to carry your belongings
- Use a bell to signal to others that you are approaching
- Use a mirror for scanning behind while you ride but also learn the technique of looking back while holding a straight line
You the Commuter
Bicycle commuters need to research and plan their routes carefully to have a safe, reliable and convenient commuting experience. Considerations to take into account when you choose bike commuting as your mode or partial mode of transportation include your route selection, clothing and bike storage. Bicycling is an energy-efficient, economical, and non-polluting mode of transportation. Bicycling can be a healthful and enjoyable form of recreation.
- Choose your route according to your ability
- Check Minnesota city and county websites for maps of your bike commute area
- Know the rules and responsibilities you have as a bicyclist by checking out road rules
- Consider the benefits of wearing a helmet—you will be more visible to other drivers, better protected against injury, and motorists have more respect for cyclists wearing a helmet
- Carry waterproof clothing
- Carry identification
- Wear eye protection
- Wear padded gloves
- If you come across sand, gravel or debris or potholes on your route, report any of these hazards to the local road authority
With gas prices climbing, choosing bicycling as a commute option is not only good for your health, but also the health of the environment and your pocket book!