Do you own a bike? Has it been unused for quite some time? Rise Vermont is writing this blog aimed at our whole community to encourage safer, more enjoyable biking this summer. With summer just around the corner it’s important to think about the different activities you’d like to do. We choose biking because it’s the most efficient way of transportation, and the numerous benefits you can receive from a bike ride is astounding. Today we’ll be focused on biking, and how to make it easier where you live, work and play.

With these warmer days approaching it becomes more and more inviting to go outside and explore. If you have a bike you haven’t used in quite some time (3 months or 3 years), first you need to make a goal of getting your bike out from where it’s stored. While you may be thinking this is obvious, it’s very relevant to success to start with smaller goals you’re more confident with. Once the bike it out the next task is check to make sure it is safe for riding.

Not only should you check your bike to make sure it’s safe after it’s been stored all winter, but also before you start riding each time as well. A visual inspection of the brakes, seat padding, cables and chain can all be done first. Then a safe test ride is always a good idea (with a helmet) to make sure the gears, shifters and brakes are all working as anticipated. If you find yourself needed a small repair on your bike, you’re better off getting it fixed before your first ride.

Well, now you’ve got your bike all tuned up, inspected, helmet is ready and weather is nice…where to go next? The first thing you should do is list all the places you drive during a common week and/or all the places you’d like to travel with your bike. You really want your first ride/route to be something that is comfortable and realistic to your biking skill level. So next you want to rank those locations based upon distance and comfort level.

<1 Miles = 1

1 – 3 Miles = 2

3 – 5 Miles = 3

>5 Miles = 4

Comfort Scale: 1 = Safe bike lane, acceptable amount of traffic, and a distance that you feel comfortable with, 5 = No bike lane, too much traffic and you wouldn’t feel comfortable even when you followed all the biking laws perfectly.

Taking these items into consideration for your first ride will give you the confidence to continually bike throughout the summer months and possibly even fall and winter. Biking safety should always come first when you’re out biking. This not only prevents you from getting injured but others as well. Living, working and playing in this community is the biggest pieces of the puzzle. Set yourself up for success and follow these guided directions for biking in your community!