Want to Commute by Bike? Better Get Aggressive

Commuting by Bike

I paid $3.99 per gallon to fill up my car last week. So I guess that’s why I’ve been thinking more about commuting to my part-time job by bike.

Beyond the monetary benefit, there’s the health benefit and it’s better for the environment. Besides, it’s hard core, right? Honestly, though, I’m so scared about it.

How do I know a car will not hit me from behind? Do I need a rearview mirror on my mountain bike?

And how long will it take me? I know about how long 11 miles on the trail takes me, but I’m sure it takes longer on the streets, right?

Of course there’s a website with some answers! Commute by Bike has a page called “Top Ten Commuting 101 Articles,” which includes a guide on how to commute by bike, how to select a route, how to claim a lane, and many more essential tips for beginning bike commuters.

One of the articles on the site states bike commuters are better off being aggressive: “Riders who are afraid to assert themselves in traffic are a danger to themselves and other riders…As this study about traffic deaths among London cyclists found, an abundance of caution in riding is not a benefit.”

To me, it seems the most important thing I will need for bike commuting is confidence and aggression. As a car driver, I have plenty of confidence. I know when it makes sense to be aggressive and when to just let things go. But on a bike? I’m a big chicken. I can’t even get first gear to work. I need help!

Do you bike to work? What tips do you have to help a relatively new cyclist commute by bike?