Rick sent in the following question:
I want to ride full time – no more car. I bought a Randonee touring bike and have done a few 40 milers so I know I can do it. I am concerned about sweating and night riding. I need to wear a dress shirt and tie at work and have thought about buying a pannier bag for that. I am also worried about riding at night – I live in Southern Calif in a busy part of town. Any suggestions. I guess I just wish the roads were more bike friendly.
I just can’t seem to pull the trigger and go all bike.
Rick, we’ve written extensively on dealing with the heat, especially since most of us here at Bikecommuters.com live in areas that experience brutal summer heat. Here’s another article that has tips for you.
As for nighttime safety, I wrote an article in 2008 that covers some of the highlights of riding safely at night. We’ve also done several reviews of lights and a DIY article or two that may be helpful — simply click here to be taken to our archive on those subjects. Basically, nighttime safety means being visible and predictable: you can never have too many lights and reflective items, and maintaining your place on the road (no weaving, no blowing through stop signs, etc.) means that most motorists will do what they have to in order to share roadspace with you.
Overkill for nighttime visibility? There’s no such thing!
It can be daunting at first to ride at night, particularly on busy streets. I commuted late at night for the first three years of my current job and quickly realized that the street I took home was rather peaceful as compared to the gridlocked nightmare it was by day. You may also consider finding slightly more out-of-the-way routes if traffic is still heavy on your return trip home.
Really, going completely car-free is a growing process…some people can do it abruptly, but it is often better to “work up” to it. Do your commute and also try to incorporate as many errands as you can by bike. Before you know it, you’ll wonder why you ever owned a car!
Good luck, be safe and have FUN. If anyone else has tips for Rick, please leave them in the comments below.
Have a cycling-related question? Just Ask Jack! Click on the link in the right-hand column to send me your questions.