The very first bike commute can be the hardest; the first cut is the deepest. Presuming you’ve decided you want to bike commute and you have all the requisit gear — bike, helmet, shoes you trust, perhaps a bike lock, etc. — your commute route must be tackled. And even if you’ve discovered a fabulous bike map like this or used Google bike directions to diligently plot your route, you still have to remember it. Checking a map on your phone while riding can be awkward, inconvenient, and dangerous — unfortunately devices like this have never caught on — and a paper map is impossible to read while pedaling. Timbuk2 CEO and road warrior Mike Wallenfels prefers the hand-drawn-map-stuffed-into-leg-of-bike-shorts move. Presuming you sort out your route, you still have to ride! It’s a lot to tackle on your first bike commute. Enter bike commute buddy.
A buddy can be a new bike commuter’s secret to success. Riding with a buddy enables you to focus exclusively on riding; you can blindly follow your experienced (and safe) leader while blissfully paying no attention to your route, lights, doors, etc. In fact, we recommend riding with a buddy as many times as needed until you feel comfortable riding on city streets. Once you have some experience under your belt, you can make the great leap to a solo ride.
So onto the next challenge of finding a bike buddy. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) has created a commuter convoy map to help fellow cyclists connect. So ask a friend who rides or check in with your local bike coalition to find yourself a bike commute buddy and learn more about how to make your first bike commute a success here.
The San Francisco Bike Cooalition Commuter Convoy Map:
What does a bike commute look like?
Mike’s Bike Commute from Novato to San Francisco.
Lizzy’s bike commute in San Francisco.