Breaking Through the Bike to Work Week Barriers

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Philip Moore, director of IT planning for Renown and an avid biker, is a frequent bike commuter.

Bike to Work Week in Washoe County runs from May 16-20. See what some of Renown Health’s employees who often ride their bikes to the office have to say about encouraging you to dust off the bike and take it to work instead of the car.

Whenever Bike to Work Week rolls around on the calendar, it seems like a great idea. The weather’s nicer in May (this year, it’s May 16-20) and that crazy daily commute in your car makes it seem like a great idea.

But, then the barriers begin: the bike tire’s flat, you don’t have a proper lock or you can’t wear your riding outfit to that big meeting. Oh, and the thought of being that exposed in traffic makes your more nervous that a bumper-to-bumper standstill on the highway.

Don’t worry, though: all of those barriers and others can be overcome with some planning. We talked to some of Renown’s employees who frequently bike to work and also found some national experts about biking to help you break through those barriers to getting on two wheels before you clock in.

I’m Concerned about Safety

One of the best things you can do is plan out your route before you head out on your bike-to-work journey. Philip Moore, director of IT planning for Renown and an avid biker, suggests figuring out the route by riding it in a car and then mapping it out.

 “I would actually try out a couple of different routes if you can, just to see which one is the safest and the most conducive to get to work on time,” Moore says.  “It’s also good to have a couple of alternatives, especially if you have to ride back when it’s dark outside.”

It’s also important to keep your perspective while on the two-wheel commute route you choose. Stay on the marked bike lanes and paths, remember to signal turns, and wear a helmet at all times.

“Realize that you are a couple hundred pounds of person on a bike, and people next to you on the road are in cars that are 3,000 or 4,000 pounds,” Moore says. “I can’t emphasize it more – take things slow and easy.”

I Can’t Wear Bike Clothes to a Meeting

This is another one that takes some pre-planning. Moore says he packs his clothes in a bag he can take with him on the bike, but he also suggested driving in one day to leave a bunch of clothes for the week to change into, especially if your workplace’s dress code is strictly business.

Another long-timer in biking to work is Leo Horishny, a pharmacy technician with Renown Rehabilitation Hospital. He said that using a garment bag to its fullest potential can be a key to breaking this biking barrier.

“If the place you work at doesn’t have access to large lockers, a door hanger in your office somewhere with a garment bag can hold several days’ changes of clothing, if you choose wisely mix and match items,” Horishny says.  “I usually have two or three pairs of pants and three shirts — your garment bag may vary. Then one or two days out of the week, you bring home your worn clothing and swap it out for clean clothes from laundry day.”

I Don’t Have a Bike in the Best Condition

If you don’t keep your bike in shape, there are some resources available. Horishny is on the REACT employee committee at Renown, which centers on community work for environmental issues. To that end, he knows many resources for biking groups, which often have an environmental focus.

“I know that Reno Bike Project offers public work stands, and they have a basic bicycle repair maintenance class they offer,” he says. “They also repair bikes upon request and have several stocked work stations for people to repair bicycles themselves with volunteers available to assist.”

Horishny also points out the Kiwanis Bike Program has work stations for the public and will help with repairs for a modest donation.

I’m Concerned about Bike Theft

This may be a deal-breaker for many, as they have no secure way, or even a place at work, to lock up a bike, and bringing it indoors to the office may be prohibited. Checking around to see where bike racks are located at your workplace is a great first step – it’s probably that many employees have them somewhere, and there are also racks on some of the larger city streets in Reno-Sparks that may be available close to your office.

Horishny and Moore do have this support at Renown: there are racks at most locations. Renown Regional even has a new “bike shack” with a secure, badge-operated door and lots of rack space.

As far as what you use for the lock-up, Horishny recommends U-locks.

“In general, the U-Lock is considered the most secure lock form, but if you use one, you need two locks to ensure both tires are secured to the bike or bike rack,” Horishny says. “There are longer cable locks which can secure all parts of your bike to the bike rack. It’s essentially a question of what’s easier for you to manage, at the end of the day.”