How-To :: How to get around by bike

by rodneypaul

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Riding a bike is a great way to get around.  It’s much cheaper than using a car and more flexibile than public transportation.  Bikes can be taken on BART and buses to go longer distances.  Just be sure you can ride the bike safely and protect it from theft. 

A good way to save money and avoid theft is to get a used bike that doesn’t look attractive to thieves.  Some bike shops sell used bikes but you can also find great deals at garage sales and on Craig’s List.  A friend or family member may even offer you a bike they're not using.

Make sure the bike is safe for riding.  Important things to keep in mind:

  • Be sure the brakes work well and can bring the bike to a stop in a short distance.
  • Wheels should spin with little or no wobble
  • The bike should fit well, allowing you to sit comfortably, hold the handlebars and extend your legs

If you need to ride at night, wear bright clothing and be sure to use both front and rear lights (newer LED models are a good choice).  A light or reflector in the spokes is essential for being seen from the side.

A cable lock used alone is not very secure.  U locks are much stronger.  You can combine both, locking the frame with a U lock and the wheels (which can be easy to steal) with a cable lock.  A less flashy bike with one or more strong locks is less likely to be stolen.

Few people enjoy biking in the rain.  But if your bike has fenders and you wear rain gear, you can go short distances without getting very wet.  But it’s important to be very cautious and remember that many drivers may not see you and braking distances will be much longer.

With these ideas, you can get around safely and cheaply.  You may even find that getting around by bike is surprisingly convenient, too.