Try a practice run on the weekend. Take it slow, and note the grades, road conditions, and traffic loads. Keep track of how much time the ride takes.
Commute with a friend or a co-worker. Riding with a friend and making a mutual commitment to ride is a great motivator.
Start slow. Try commuting just one day a week, such as on a Friday or a designated casual dress day at your workplace.
Secure your bike. Make sure there is a secure place to lock up your bike at work. Leave your heavy lock at work instead of hauling it back and forth with you.
Preventative Rx. If you are unfamiliar with bike maintenance, take your bike to a mechanic for an overhaul before getting started. A simple tune-up can be an inexpensive step to preventing an en route mishap.
Be alert. Ride so drivers can see you and predict your movements. Watch out for cars - assume they donÕt see you until you are sure they do, or have made eye contact with the driver.
Be predictable. Use hand signals. Ride in a straight line. DonÕt ride against traffic. Ride on the right in the slowest lane. DonÕt weave in and out of cars.
Be seen. Wear brightly colored clothes. Consider clothing with reflector material. Wear a bike helmet. A headlight and red rear reflector light are required by law when riding at dusk or in the dark. Consider additional lights and reflectors.
Be aware. Watch for street hazards such as parallel-slatted sewer gates, slippery manhole covers, oily pavement, gravel, potholes, and ice. Cross railroad tracks carefully at right angles. For better control, stand up on your pedals when moving over hazards and bumps.
Be ready to brake. Keep both hands ready to brake. Remember that brakes are less efficient in the rain.
(Adapted from ÒBiking to Work in the Washington Area: A Guide for EmployeesÓ by Commuter Connections www.mwcog.org/commuter/ccindex.html