Did you know that June is Bike Month in Colorado? And capping off a celebration of all things cycling, in a state known for its biking prowess, is Bike to Work Day.
Held the fourth Wednesday of Bike Month (this year falling on June 27), Bike to Work Day caps off the month with a simple challenge: whether you do it every day, only sometimes or this will be your first, ride your bike to work for one day.
According to Bicycle Colorado, 40 percent of trips in the U.S. are two miles or less, making cycling a great option for commuting. And you’ll be in good company if you decide to join in the fun for 2018’s Bike to Work Day: it’s estimated the number of bicycle commuters has jumped by over 62 percent in the last 15 years.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or are looking for an entry into commuting by bike, you’ll want to set yourself up for a killer Bike to Work Day in Denver this year. Here are some key ways to ensure your 2018 Bike to Work Day is epic:
Plan your route
Spend some time looking at bike maps and finding designated bike trails, bike lanes and routes before you hit the road.
Yes, we know you already know how to get to work, but do you want to be that person who’s riding down the middle of a busy street with people honking and swerving to avoid you? Of course not!
The City of Denver offers robust official bike maps, and there are nonprofits which try to maintain more regularly updated maps. If it’s your first time riding to work, pick a day to drive the route beforehand to have an idea of the potential obstacles and intersections you’ll be traversing.
Even if you already ride every day, keep in mind that there will be many more cyclists on Bike to Work Day, so think about any tweaks you might want to make to your usual route.
No matter what you’re doing, there’s no better way to crush it than with free breakfast.
Multiple sponsors will be offering breakfast stations from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. throughout the Denver metro area. Check out the complete list here and be sure to add one of the stations on your route.
If you’re among us in the Denver South region, be sure to stop by the Arapahoe at Village Center Station for some bagels and coffee. It will be set up just in front of the Tokyo Joe’s, and is a short ride to the light rail if you need to supplement your ride.
And on the way home, stop by one of the many water stations for some hydration in the afternoon summer heat.
The freedom of riding a bike is coupled with the need for safety. Remember, you’re exposed and people in cars might be posting selfies to Facebook rather than paying attention to all the cyclists around them.
You hear it often, but it can’t be said enough: wear a helmet. There is no official law in Colorado requiring cyclists to wear a helmet but protecting that noggin can be the difference between a mild bruise or a serious injury. It’s one of the most basic safety principles for good reason.
In addition, remember that you are considered a vehicle on the road. Use turn signals, raising your arm and pointing either left or right to give motorists a heads up. You can also raise your left arm and hold it at a right angle to denote a right turn — either way, make sure your intentions are known.
Sidewalks should only be used when you’re within a half mile of your destination, and be sure to give pedestrians or slower cyclists a heads-up with a ring of the bell or a “on your left!” before passing them.
At intersections, the rules are the same as they are for cars, but one of the safest approaches is to make eye contact with drivers. This ensures they’ve seen you and you will be aware what each other are doing.
And of course, be sure to brush up on Denver’s bike laws before heading out for Bike to Work Day.
DIY tune ups
If it’s been a while, it’s a good idea to get your bike into one of the numerous local shops for a professional tune up. But if you can’t make it in before Bike to Work Day, there are a few easy things you can do yourself to ensure you’re ready to ride.
Checking your tires is number one. The last thing you want is to be halfway through your commute and realize you’ve got a flat. Check the recommended pressure on the side of your tires, pump them up well ahead of time and ensure you don’t have any slow leaks. A fresh set of tubes are generally affordable and easy to install.
Check the tread on your tires as well. Bald tires are a safety hazard and are more likely to lead to a flat. If you want to be extra safe, grab a patch kit just in case. They’re generally less than $10.
Cleaning and lubing your bike chain will make for a super smooth ride, and it’s cheap and easy to do yourself.
Next, flip your bike upside down and push the pedals to make sure nothing’s wobbly. Give the brakes a squeeze to make sure they’re ready to go.
It doesn’t take much to make sure your bike is ready to kill it on Bike to Work day, so take a little time to give it some love.
Celebrate good times
Finally, celebrate all things pedal. Several places will be hosting parties as Bike to Work Day winds down across the Denver metro region, from breweries to burger joints.
Take some time to celebrate with your fellow cyclists as Denver’s 2018 Bike to Work Day comes to a close. And now that you’ve got it down, it’s time to think about making every day bike to work day.
And we’re on board you decide to have a party every time, too.