June is Bike Month! Workforce WindsorEssex is always encouraging businesses and organizations to take on healthy workplace initiatives. Active transportation is a great way to support health, environmental friendliness, and wellness at work.

According to the 2016 Census, almost 90% of the people in Windsor-Essex commute to work by car. While others take public transit or walk, only 1.3% of the population takes their bike to work.

 

 

As gas prices rise and work becomes more sedentary, the benefits of biking to work grow. Studies out of the UK have shown a reduction of cancer and cardiovascular disease from those who bike to work.

While it might not always be possible to cycle to work, there are still benefits from biking part way or substituting some driving with biking. It can feel intimidating to make the switch to commuting by bicycle, but with preparation, it’s possible.

 

Talk to your employer:
Have a conversation with your employer about your change in commute. You can discuss with them ideal places to park your bike and adjustment to your schedule. Communicating with your colleagues helps them to adjust if you need to carpool to a meeting or if they want to meet up with yo

Some businesses and organizations have embraced healthy workplace challenges. If your work hasn’t gotten on board for one of these, share ideas on workplace health initiatives.

 

 

Be Bike Ready:
Is your bike street-worthy? Take it to a bike mechanic for a tune up and ensure that your brakes, chain, gears, and frame are ready to roll.

Get comfortable biking on city streets and be familiar with the rules of the roads for bicycles. A bicycle is considered a vehicle in Ontario and must follow the same traffic laws as a car or truck. Make sure you have a helmet and lights and a bell on your bike to stay safe while commuting.

 

Test Run:
Before embarking on your regular path to work, map your route online. Apps like Google Maps have the functionality to help create a bike-friendly path. Especially if you are new to cycling in a city, it’s helpful to plan to stay off busy roads and use bike lanes where possible.

Once you have your ideal path, take a test run on a holiday or weekend. Time to see how long it took and if there are any changes to your route you should make.

 

 

Dress for success:
You don’t need to be decked out in Lycra to be a cyclist. Make sure you are wearing comfortable workout clothing while biking to work. If your commute is short and sweet, you can wear your work clothing. Be sure that those clothing items are comfortable and won’t risk getting caught in a bike chain or get too sweaty.

Always make sure to wear a helmet!

Have your change of clothes ready in a basket, backpack, or waiting at your place of work. Leave heavier items, like dress shoes, at work to avoid the added weight.

Give Yourself Time:
Be sure to prepare the night before by checking weather and adjusting your clothing or plan.

Leave extra early to get to work. The more rushed you are, the sweatier you might be. Getting to work early will also ensure that you have adequate time to get changed and comfortable before your day begins. If your work has access to showers, give yourself extra time to clean up. If not, bring necessary toiletries to prepare for the day and cool down.

 

 

Fuel up:
Hydration is key, especially during hot Windsor months. Give yourself energy before you head out and then have a snack ready once you get to work. If you are not used to working out in the morning, it can be a hunger adjustment, so keep oatmeal, nuts, fruit and other healthy snacks on hand.

Be Flexible:
Not every day is ideal for cycling. Be ready to adjust your plans to bike to work. Even biking on occasion still brings benefits to you, your wallet, and the environment.