Post by: Terri Monserrat, Communications & Education Coordinator
You check the weather, pack everything you need to get you through the day, double and triple check your emergency supplies, layer your clothing for the conditions, and bring as much water as possible. You’re ready!
You’re obviously preparing for a serious adventure, a journey of epic proportions, an expedition. Where are you headed?
Everest? Kilimanjaro? Mount Fuji?
Nope. The office.
D&L Staff members on National Bike to Work Day, 2015.
You’re heading to work, on your bike. The only mountain in your future is that mountain of papers on your desk. You promised yourself you’d organize it but, its tomorrow now. And yet the mountain of papers remains. You’re thinking of naming it. Legitimizing your paper-stack mountains with names like, “Mount Manila Folder,” “Print-Out’s Peak,” “Lookout it’s-going-to-fall-over Mountain.”
Anyway, the point is, you won’t arrive at work looking and feeling like you do when you step out of your comfortable, climate-controlled car. Biking to work may not be glamorous but admit it, you’ve seen people doing it and you admire them.
I can promise you’ll find your way to work free of the stress of traffic, road construction, or worrying about gas prices or car mileage. You’ll learn to appreciate the exact number of miles your car carries you each day. You’ll take in the scenery at 10 miles-per-hour in a way you can’t at any other speed. The natural beauty of the D&L Trail will surround you and you’ll start to wake up. You’ll find yet another reason to be grateful that you have a protected, peaceful, long-distance trail as an alternative to the normal commute. No traffic lights, honking horns, or drivers who don’t know how to maintain a safe following distance. Just the sound of your bike, the river, the birds chirping, and the occasional “hi” or “on your left” from others enjoying the trail. And then? You’re there.
You’ll arrive at work more mindful and awake than you normally do.
A stunning view on my morning bike commute of the Chain Dam and Hugh Moore Park locktender’s house from the D&L Trail, Route 33 Boat Launch – Palmer Riverview Section.
Since you will have your daily work-out in, you’ll also probably arrive with helmet-head. Or maybe a bit muddy, sweaty or a tad sore. More than likely, you’ll be a bit of all of the above.
Wash off the mud and sweat, and brush your hair. No one really looks THAT closely at your hair, anyway. You’ll be ready to take on the day. Paper-stack mountains, beware! You just physically pedaled a two-wheeled contraption, carrying everything you need for the day a significant distance. Nothing can get you down today!
If you’re new to biking to work or looking for ways to make your commute more efficient, here are a few tips:
- If you don’t want to bike the full distance from home to work, then don’t! The D&L Trail has so many trailheads that you can customize your commute. Drive to a trailhead and ride from there. There’s no rule that says you have to bike from door to door to be a bike commuter. Every mile counts! Find a trailhead at delawareandelhigh.org/map.
- Pack everything you need in a backpack or panniers. If you don’t own panniers, start out with a backpack. If you find yourself getting into a bike commuting routine, buy a rack and panniers. We’re lucky to live near so many local bike shops. Visit the bike shop nearest you and talk to them about your work commute. They’ll set you up with something great!
- Pack everything you need for a day at work the night before, including your lunch, a change of clothes and a water bottle. This way, all you need to do in the morning is wake up, get dressed and go. Rolling your clothing helps to prevent wrinkles.
- Pack your bag of choice so it’s easy to unpack when you get to work. Put what you’ll need to access first on top.
- If you have two water bottle cages and you’re a coffee or tea drinker, find a travel coffee mug that fits in your water bottle cage. It’s nice to have warm coffee or tea ready when you get to work on a brisk morning.
- Dress in layers that are easy to pack at the end of the day. The mornings will be cooler than afternoons.
- Always check the weather before you leave in the morning. Even if you checked the night before, things can change.
- If it’s rained recently, the trail will likely be muddy! Put some fenders on your bike or accept that you’ll arrive at work muddy.
- If your office has a shower, be sure to pack for it. If not remember to pack a towel or two to wash off mud or sweat.
- Enjoy the ride! Remember, you’ll be more mindful. You’ll be more awake.
D&L Staff members during 2016’s National Bike to Work Week.