Here are some tips to start bike commuting:
#1--Get a bike: Ok that seems obvious, but it's important to get a bike that will be comfortable for your commute and that will support your type of riding. If you commute on a gravel path, you'll want a different bike then if you have to commute up a 5 mile climb. Any bike for commuting is better than no bike, but take a look at where you'll be riding and make sure your bike is appropriate for your commute. We can help you sort out one type of bike from another so you pick the right one as your alternate transportation.
#2 Find your route: Once you are committed to make the commute by bike you'll have to figure out how to get there. If you normally drive to work on the highway that isn't going to work with your bike--take a look at local resources [Rubel Bike Maps are available here] for local bike lanes or bike path maps, scout routes to there you work that have less traffic, use resources such as MapMyRide to determine the distance. Once you know your route, consider riding it on a weekend as a test, or driving it one day to and from work to check it out.
#3 Get your bike set up for safe commuting:
Once you have your bike you'll need to get it ready for commuting.
First step--get a good helmet, your brain is worth it. Second step--get
front and rear lights. Rechargeable lights are the best for "seeing"
the road, whereas blinking LEDs are best for "being seen." We say you
can never have enough "blinkies." Red on the back, white on the front
of the bike. Third step--decide if you need fenders and a rear rack for
hanging panniers or a trunk bag. Fourth step--make sure your bike is
tuned up and in good working order, that means checking the brakes,
shifting, and condition of the tires. And don't forget the 48-hour
turn-around we offer to commuters!
#4 Try your route out once: It's always good to incorporate your ride to work into one of your weekend rides before you commit riding to work so you can get an idea on how long it might take. Nothing is worse than being late on your first day of bike commuting because you misjudged the time it would take to get there.
#5 Get your cycling clothing ready: Here in the Boston area we all know the weather can change on a moments notice, it could be cool in the morning and still warm by sunset, you just need to anticipate the changes. Make sure you have the equipment you need to keep you at a comfortable temperature and of course, DRY. It's important to make sure you have a waterproof jacket for wet days, but one that allows ventilation for when your body heats up. As with your bike route--try out your equipment before you commit to a ride to work. Your commute will be a lot more fun if you are comfortable the whole way.