Whether you’ve commuted by bicycle in the past; only biked for recreation; or are a first-timer, this toolkit details steps to dust off your bike (or get a new one) and hit the road!
Bike Back to Work: A Toolkit for SRP Employees
Biking is naturally socially distanced, a great way to exercise, and we think it's a great commute mode to consider.
Whether you’ve commuted by bike in the past; only biked for recreation; or are a first-timer; this toolkit details the steps to dust off your bike (or get a new one) and hit the road!
Why Start Now?
In many ways, now is the best time to get on a bike and start a new commute habit. Here are a few reasons why:
With limited choices these days, a bike ride is one of the prevailing outdoor activities. Benefits include:
- A good excuse to get out of the house
- Excellent, well-rounded source of exercise
- A great way to explore, whether on a nature trail or around your neighborhood
- A way to shop for household essentials
- A strategy to keep your kids active and engaged
- For extensive info, check out this Family Biking Guide from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
A Disrupted Routine
Research shows that it's easiest to change your habits during a significant change in your life, such as moving houses or starting a new job. Take advantage of this transitional opportunity while being home, and keep biking once more re-opening and business resumption occurs, and returning to the workplace starts to occur.
While cycling is feasible year-round in the Bay Area, Spring and Summer are especially forgiving, with lots of dry, sunny days. Just don’t forget the sunscreen. :-)
Avoid the Traffic Dilemma
If you own a car, driving alone back to work is a natural option that you’ve likely considered. Take a moment to think about the fact that many of your fellow Bay Area neighbors are thinking the same thing. With the existing constraints on roads, it’s worth considering the added strain on this infrastructure once everyone returns. Avoid this traffic dilemma altogether by preparing yourself to bike to work.
How to Be a Successful Bike Commuter
There is an old proverb that says “the thousand-mile journey begins with the first step.” It can be daunting to think about getting back on a bike. Maybe your bike is out of service, or you aren’t familiar with the right equipment. The following offers a wealth of resources to help take that first step – or pedal to be more accurate – and how to build up to comfortably and confidently riding to work.
Get Ready to Hit the Road
Flat tire? Rusty chain? Poorly fitting helmet? Or simply need the right bike? Check out these videos and other resources to help get your bike ready for the road:
Picking the Right Bike:
- Bike Buyer’s Guide for Beginners (3-min. video by Bikes Make Life Better)
- Bike Buying Guide (blog post by SRPGO)
- Kids Bike Buying Guide (blog post by SRPGO)
Getting Your Bike Ready to Ride
- ABC Quick Check (4-min. video by Bikes Make Life Better)
- Fitting and Adjusting Your Bike (1-min. video by League of American Bicyclists)
- General Bike Maintenance (blog post by SRPGO)
- Change Your Inner Tube (6-min. video by Park Tool)
- Just for fun, watch Change Your Inner Tube with Stephen Colbert!
- A Selection of Bike Maintenance Videos by Park Tool
- Mechanics: Are videos not enough? Most bike shops are open for business, so you can stop in to talk with a mechanic. Summit Bicycles in Palo Alto is near SRP, and there are lots of other neighborhood bike shops. Note: make sure to check websites and call ahead due to possibly altered shop hours and in-person customer protocols.
You can also have an expert come do a (socially distanced) house visit to get your bike in order. Velofix is a mobile mechanic that makes house calls.
Having the Proper Gear
- Helmet Guide (blog post by SRPGO)
- Helmet Adjustment (2-min. video by Bikes Make Life Better)
- Proper Clothing (1-min. video by League of American Bicyclists)
- Essential Items (1-min. video by League of American Bicyclists)
- Bike Lights (blog post by SRPGO)
Go For A Ride
Once you have your bike and gear ready, it’s time to hit the road! The following offers best practices and guides for choosing the best route.
- Bike Commuting Basics (blog post by SRPGO)
- Starting/Stopping (1.5-min video by League of American Bicyclists)
- Steering (1-min video by League of American Bicyclists)
- Shifting Gears (1-min video by League of American Bicyclists)
- Proper Signaling (1-min video by League of American Bicyclists)
- Lane Positioning (1.5-min video by League of American Bicyclists)
- Scanning (1-min video by League of American Bicyclists)
- Lane Changing (1-min video by League of American Bicyclists)
- Intersection Positioning (2-min video by League of American Bicyclists)
- Sharing the Road (blog post by SRPGO)
- Sharing the Trail (1-min video by League of American Bicyclists)
- Basic Traffic Laws (1.5-min video by League of American Bicyclists)
- Urban Riding (blog post by SRPGO)
- Riding at Night (blog post by SRPGO)
- Emergency Roadside Assistance (blog post by SRPGO)
- Ride in the Rain (blog post by SRPGO)
Choosing Your Route:
- Find a Car-Lite Route to SRP (blog post by SRPGO)
- Bike Route Planning with Google Maps (2-min video by Bikes Make Life Better)
- Where to Ride in the Bay Area (blog post by SRPGO)
- Bike Lanes (1-min video by League of American Bicyclists)
- Bay Area Bike Maps (resource page by Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition)
- Other Helpful Route Planning Sites:
- Ride With GPS (website)
- Bikemap (website)
- Report Road Hazards (blog post by SRPGO)
Begin On the Easiest, Safest Route
Start with something easy and familiar, like a ride around your block, and move up from there.
Practice Your Commute
Like we mentioned before, now is the best time to explore the streets with reduced level of traffic (remember to continue to obey all traffic laws and proper bicycle maneuvers outlined earlier in the “Biking Fundamentals” links). Take this opportunity to practice riding your work commute. Remember to plan out your route first.
Behavior Change Doesn’t Happen Overnight
Research shows that it takes an average of two months for a person to successfully change their behavior. So start now, but start small, and work your way up. And most importantly, keep it up!
Need more tips and/or nudges to get you out of the house and onto the streets? Check out the following resources ranging from expert advice to fun bike-centric activities.
Advice from Experts
There are lots of helpful webinars and interactive virtual sessions happening now that are well worth taking advantage of. Many of these sessions are local to the Bay Area, and are even hosted by your fellow SRP colleagues.
- San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Virtual Events: sfbike.org
Challenges, Tracking and Other Fun Activities
- Bay Area Bike Challenge: Love to Ride
- Track your ride and learn good routes from others:
- Did you know you can track your Strava rides on SRPGO??
- Ride With GPS
- Map My Ride
- Make It an Adventure!
- Scavenger Hunts:
- Wildlife Spotting: City Nature Challenge
The SRP Bike Program
Learn more about how Stanford Research Park helps current and aspiring bicycle commuters: SRP Program Explainer
SRP Bike Commuter Profiles
Get inspired by your fellow SRP riders: