Managing stress, work-life balance — commute by bike!
Work-life balance and stress management are familiar coping skills for any Goizueta student. Along with good sleep, exercise is one of the best stress management techniques we have. With our busy schedules, however, squeezing in time to work out can be a challenge.
Depending on how close you live to Emory or your employer, commuting by bike can be a great way to get some exercise in, get outdoors and get one more car off the congested Atlanta roads. Commuting by bike becomes even more of a reality if work or school has showers and a locker room. My personal preference is to stash a gym bag with work clothes and shower supplies in my office and then get ready at work in the locker room after I ride in. This eliminates the stress of packing early in the morning since I’ve done all my thinking and packing beforehand. For people looking to commute to Emory, the WoodPEC has locker rooms, and we already pay the recreation and athletic fee to use it as part of tuition. Below are some pointers for getting started commuting by bike.
Bicycle – The best thing about bike commuting is that you can do it on just about any bike. Maybe a high-strung road racing bike wouldn’t be the best choice. Nor would a rugged full-suspension fat tire bike — but both will get you there. Chances are if you have a bike, you can try bike commuting on it. If you decide to commute more regularly, and your current ride isn’t comfortable; visit your local bike shop, and they can help you find a more suitable machine.
Safety – Helmets are a must. Wearing a helmet is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself while riding. Make sure you get a comfortable, well-vented one so you are more apt to wear it. Lights are the second most important piece of safety equipment. A flashing red rear light is a must have. They can be found for less than $10 online or in stores. A white front light is a must if riding at night; otherwise it’s just nice to have.
Lock – When parking your bike outside, the last absolute requirement is a good lock. Flexible cable locks should not even be considered — they are the easiest to cut through. Good quality U-locks and chain locks are the best bet.
Gear – Don’t worry about fancy clothes or bags when getting started. Regular workout clothes and a backpack are fine. If you get more serious later, you can upgrade to special clothing, baskets, racks and bags.
Plan – Google Maps bicycle directions and mapmyride.com are good resources for route planning. They usually suggest quieter roads or those with bike lanes. Pre-ride your route on a weekend or after work so you feel comfortable — this will help the first couple times you ride in. This one-minute video is a good primer for cycling on the road for the first time.