May is National Bike Month and WE are Ready to Ride!!
Today is the official kick-off to National Bike Month and the 2015 season. Now that the trees are budding, the flowers are blooming and the days are longer New Yorkers are beginning to crawl out from underground and emerge from hibernating in their apartments all winter. Looking to enjoy the weather and improve your mood by commuting to work? Wondering what you'll need to pack for your commute? WE Bike NYCer Elyse Bejasa asked some women to share their tricks and tips for commuting to work - thanks Elyse!
Commuting By Bike: What to Pack?
My commute to work is one of my favorite parts of the day. I’m outside on my bike, enjoying the city on two wheels, getting some exercise, and not spending $2.75 to get stuck between stations or hear that there’s a train two stations away (is this ever true?). But one of the most cumbersome parts of bike commuting is knowing what to pack. Overpack and you’re riding with an unnecessarily heavy load. Underpack and you might get stuck in a situation where you don’t have what you need. What’s a commuter to do?
WE asked a few WE Bike NYC commuters to share what they pack on their commutes and tips to keep in mind when packing.
Change of clothes for work: Most of us work in environments where bike/workout clothes aren’t work appropriate, so we either bring a change with us or have clothes already at our offices. Socks, underwear, and bras also get packed when we think we might need a change when we get to work.
Baby wipes and deodorant: Depending on the length of your commute and the weather outside, you may get to work sweatier than you’d like to be. If you don’t have access to a shower, these help freshen you up so people won’t mind sitting next to you during meetings.
“Bike bag”: We all kinda-sorta carry some sort of bike bag. Usual contents include: tire levers, extra tube, bike lights (if they’re not already mounted to your bike), small pump/CO2 tube, patch kit. Whether it’s in our bags, on our bikes, or wherever, these things can come in hand on your commute when you least expect it. Most shops aren’t open in time for the morning commute so it’s great to have these things accessible if you don’t have time to wait for the nearest shop to open. But if you do find yourself in a bind, you can always locate a BikeStock vending machine and get what you need to keep going.
Lunch and snacks: A long commute can lead to a hungry (read: CRANKY) cyclist. Keeping snacks in your bag can help alleviate that (bars like CLIF, Kind, etc.). Nuun tablets during the summer help re-hydrate after a sweaty commute. If you bring your lunch to work (like me!), remember that it can take up a fair chunk of space in your bag, so if you’re buying a commuter bag, keep this in mind.
Bike lock: Most of us are lucky to get indoor bike parking in our buildings, but even so, it’s always a good idea to carry a lock. You never know when you’re going to need it.
Etcetera: Medicine/makeup bag (includes things like Chapstick with SPF, face and/or hand lotion, and sunscreen); essentials (wallet, phone, keys); phone chargers, headphones.
- If you find yourself switching between bags pretty often, keep things in separate pouches so it’s easier to transfer between bags.
- Leave things like extra lotion, baby wipes, deodorant, etc. at your desk as necessary.
- If you have a rear or front rack, consider riding with panniers or with a bag strapped to your rack by bungee cords.
: 8 miles, Crown Heights to Chelsea
: Fundraising at a nonprofit
: Timbuk2 Custom Commute Laptop Messenger Bag
. I love this bag because it is pretty large (and can expand as necessary), has plenty of pockets for keeping things organized (including an exterior pocket on the side for easy access), is weatherproof, and was designed with commuters in mind. Having a big bag also means I don’t necessarily have to eliminate things when I’m deciding on what to pack and I like to be prepared for anything. I also chose bright yellow to help with visibility.
: 9 miles, Murray Hill to Washington Heights
I am not an everyday rider, but I am working my way to more frequent commutes. I don't mind cold, just ice, so that inhibits me. Several times a week and I'm happy. Would be nice to eliminate the MTA completely, but it's not a reality for many reasons.
: Public Librarian
: When I had a folder bike I used Ortlieb panniers, but much of what I carried then I just leave at work now, so just use a simple, light non-bike specific Nike backpack.
During the summer, on rare occasions, I can travel with a jersey and just squeeze my keys, phone cables, change of sports bra/underwear into a large bottle and put them on the bottle rack. Sounds gross to put clothes in a bottle, but only when they are clean. I sometimes leave them at work until a back pack day or train day. I have a full wardrobe of old clothes at work along with soap, wash cloth and towel and toiletries in my locker and desk drawer.
: 4.5-5 miles, Park Slope to Lower Manhattan
: Trading at a mid-size firm
: I carry less and less because I hate carrying all that stuff on my back. Sometimes I even leave my clothes at work and just wear the same thing for several days at a time, and just switch out my bike clothing at home for washing. No one notices.
I use a messenger bag or a small backpack. I tried using a hiking pack once and that wasn't good - the top of the pack (which was hard to keep the pack rigid) kept hitting the back of my helmet and made for a very uncomfortable ride. The messenger bag (once I got used to it) is nice because it can fit a lot if I need it to. Even so, I'm always on the lookout for more back-ventilation friendly bags.
: 10 miles, Washington Heights to TriBeCa
: Due Diligence and Strategic Research
: One Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic Pannier
. Carrying anything on my back while I bike quickly brings on lower back pain, so I love having panniers for my bicycle racks. My Ortliebs are completely waterproof so if I decide to commute in the rain, I know all of my things inside won't get wet. Also, one pannier is 20 liters, so it can hold a lot! I carry all the essentials for a simple bike fix, lock and lights. I also bring a change of clothes, a makeup bag, and breakfast/lunch. When packing up my pannier, I use tote bags to keep my clothes separate from things like my wallet, daily planner, etc. That way when I arrive to work I know that one tote has everything I need to get ready and I can leave the other stuff at my desk. I'm lucky to have a shower at my company so I keep things like a hair dryer, hair brush, shampoo and conditioner all at my desk.
: 16 miles, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn to Fordham, The Bronx
: Business Advisor
: Avon tote bag attached to my back rack with bungee cords from the discount store. I've actually had the bag for years but have recently fallen in love with it because it exactly matches my Torch illuminated helmet (I like to coordinate).
On this day, I actually took my bike on the train because I wanted to ride home from work in the good weather. Because of the distance (and three bridges), the economy of weight and bulk is especially important for me. So on bike-to-and-from-work days, I have to carefully choose my professional clothes for the day. I try to choose work outfits that are loose or stretchy (like a body con dress under a simple black skirt) to avoid winkles, and bike outfits with thin but effective layers so that they fit in the bag with my helmet, lunch, Kindle, and essential equipment. Chargers are also a must because I am still trying out new routes and cannot afford to run out of juice for my Google maps 3 boroughs from home!
Despite our different routes, jobs, and gear, WE all agree that getting to work by bike is the best way to commute! Ride safe!
Any questions? Have other ideas? Post them on Female Bike Forum!
WE Bike NYC is an entirely volunteer-run organization, but it still takes a bit of money for us to maintain our current standards of operation!
If you are looking for a way to support fun, free, noncompetitive bicycle events and programming specifically for women, please consider donating to WE Bike NYC!
*WE Bike NYC events are open to women, female-identifying, and gender non -conforming people only, unless otherwise noted.*
National Bike Challenge Kick-Off
May 1 - September 30
Free! - Join Team WE Bike NYC
Ready to take full bike adventure advantage of the warm weather? Join the WE Bike NYC National Bike Challenge team!
The National Bike Challenge is a nationwide event uniting thousands of current bicyclists—and encouraging countless new riders. It is a free and easy way to challenge yourself, your colleagues and your community to ride more while competing on a local, state and national level. We aim to unite 75,000 riders to pedal 35 million miles from May 1, 2015 until September 30, 2015.
Monthly prizes will be awarded to our participants with the most mileage.
Note: if you were on the team last year, you do NOT have to create a new account. Just log-in and enter your miles.
WE Bike NYC 5BBT Team Meetup
Sunday, May 3
6:00 am - Meet at the Fountain at City Hall Park, Manhattan
Advanced Registration Required for the Tour
Check our Facebook Event for up-to-date info!
The day is finally here! WE are riding the Five Boro Bike Tour together - but you do NOT need to be on the WE Bike NYC Five Boro Bike Team to participate. WE will be meeting up at 6AM before the first wave start for coffee, bagels, and pictures. WE will also be pairing off so everyone has a ride partner who will be riding at a similar and comfortable pace. If you are registered for the tour and are looking for people to ride with, join us!
WE Table at the Bike Jumble
Saturday, May 9
10:00 am - 4:00 pm - Washington/JJ Byrne Park around the Old Stone House at Fifth Avenue and 4th street in Park Slope, Brooklyn
More info on the jumble Here
The New York Bike Jumble is NYC's only bicycle flea market. This year, it's returning to the Washington/JJ Byrne Park around the Old Stone House at Fifth Avenue and 4th street in Park Slope, Brooklyn. At the Jumble, you can find new/used bikes and accessories, clothing, collectibles, overstocks, and other bargains for you and your bike!
WE Bike NYC will have a table, so drop by and say hello!
WE Ride for Cyclofemme and Donuts
Sunday, May 10
11:00 am meet, 11:30 am wheels down - Across from Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Where Joralemon St. hits the park there is an open area with a bunch of bike racks -we'll meet by these bike racks. Brooklyn
CycloFemme is a yearly women's cycling day celebrated with rides around the globe! Join WE Bike NYC for a fun and relaxed ride along the Brooklyn waterfront. We'll meet in Brooklyn Bridge Park and take the waterfront greenway, then we'll head up through Dumbo, around the Navy Yard and up Kent Ave. through Williamsburg. When we get to Greenpoint we'll stop at the famous Peter Pan donut shop for some treats and end at McCarren Park. Most of the ride will be on greenway and bike lanes, but a few blocks will be on the street with traffic. Total distance is about 6 miles. All bikes are welcome! Bring water, money for donuts, your helmet and (optionally) a picnic lunch.
Bridge Battle Meetup
Saturday, May 16
1:30 pm meet, 2:00 pm registration - 72nd Street Bandshell, Central Park, Manhattan
Meet-up with other women, female-identifying, and gender non-conforming riders for the Bridge Battle, a street race covering bridges across the city, to find a race partner or help figuring out the manifest.
This is an ADVANCED event and all participants should be comfortable riding in heavy traffic and for long distances. The Bridge Battle itself is not affiliated with WE Bike NYC.
Bring: lock, WATER, helmet, $10 cash for registration (proceeds go to benefit the North American Cycle Courier Championships being held in New York City in 2016)
May Happy Hour - 80's Themed!
Thursday, May 21
Ride - 6:00 pm meet/ glam-up, 6:30pm wheels down - Meet at Brooklyn side of Williamsburg Bridge
Happy Hour - 7:00 - 9:00 pm - Pizza Party, 254 Irving Ave, b/t Greene Ave & Menahan St, Brooklyn
Meet us on the Brooklyn side after work, pull on your Get in Shape Girl leg warmers, smear on your blue sparkle eye-shadow and roll through our 80s themed Happy Hour ride to Pizza Party in Bushwick!
Preorder a WE Bike NYC T-shirt for pick-up at the event! Order form here!
All genders welcome for happy hour, but the ride is for women, female identifying, and gender non-conforming persons only.
WE Ride to TA's Bike Home from Work Party
Friday, May 29
6:00 pm meet, 6:30 pm wheels down - Madison Sq Park, SW corner of 26th Street and Madison by the Chester Alan Arthur Monument, Manhattan
May is Bike Month and in celebration of their annual Bike to Work Challenge, Transportation Alternatives is throwing a Bike Home from Work Party beneath the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO.
Join us after work as WE ride to the party, where there will be food, drinks, free bike valet, and more! Bring a helmet.
Sustainable Cycles Return to NYC (and Leave Again) Ride-Out
Saturday, May 30
8:00 am meet for coffee and chat, 9:00 am ride out - Location TBD; LES or Brooklyn Heights likely - check the Facebook event or email email@example.com for details!
Join us as we celebrate, support, and ride with the women of Sustainable Cycles!
Two of our ride leaders, Ruby and Sarah, embarked on their cross country tour in February from Oakland, CA, and they're almost done! They, as well as other women from the Sustainable Cylces org, will be passing through NYC on the way to their final destination: Boston. These women have ridden thousands of miles over the last couple of months, and WE want to join them as they ride out of NYC.
Come by early for coffee and chat with these amazing women. They need an early start, so WE'll be wheels down at 9:00am. WE'll ride along with them for 5-15 miles, and then send them on their way! Exact meetup location and route is TBD due to the unpredictable nature of bike touring, but we will be staying within the boroughs. Check the Facebook event page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details as we get closer to the date!
May is Bike Month, so there are a LOT of bike-related Community Events happening all over NYC - A few of our favorites are featured here, but check them all out on bikenyc.org!
Black Girls Do Bike: NYC - First Ride of the Year
Saturday, May 9
9:30 am - wheels down. Meet at the fountain at Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn
Join the BGDB: NYC Facebook Group to RSVP
Join the Black Girls Do Bike: NYC Chapter on their first ride of the season! Start with a group ride to the Brooklyn Bike Jumble (remember to stop by the WE Bike NYC table!), and continue on for a group lunch in Red Hook to share ride plans for the summer. Bring cash, bag and lock. Note: All persons who identify with the triumphs and challenges of being a black female cyclist are invited to attend this first meeting of the year. Future events will be planned for the inclusion of friends and allies of women of color in cycling.
InTandem's All-Night Donut Ride
Friday, May 22
11:30 pm - 90th St & 5 Ave Entrance of central park
More Info Here
You are invited to join InTandem for their first annual InTandem All-Night Donut ride on May 22! You can captain one of our tandems or ride on your solo bike! We will be visiting at least one of the best donut shops in each of the four bike-able bridge connected boroughs (Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and, Manhattan), learning some fun facts about NYC, and riding under the twilight until the sun comes up! We will be meeting at the 90th St & 5 Ave Entrance of central park at 11:30pm. For more information visit InTandembike.org.
I Challenge Myself 10th Annual Century Ride
Sunday, June 7
7 am - Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, NY
The century ride is a 100-mile bike ride serving as the culminating event for ALL high school students enrolled in I Challenge Myself's Cycling Smarts Programs at four New York City public Schools. Over 90 students, coaches and volunteers will cycle from the Bronx, NY 50 miles to Carmel, NY (via the Putnam County Trail system) and then back own to New York City for a finish line reception. I Challenge Myself is seeking to fill the following volunteer positions to make this challenging but transformational experience possible for its students:
- Support Cyclists volunteer: Experienced endurance cyclists are needed to ride with the students and coaches. Support Cyclists will be assigned to one of the four participating school teams and will help motivate students and keep the group together on the road and trail. The Century is not a race. Support Cyclists must report to Indian Field in Van Cortlandt Park by 7 am. Volunteers must be able to make an all-day commitment from 7 am to 7 pm.
- Finish Line volunteer: The finish line reception and awards ceremony serves to welcome and celebrate the students' accomplishment. The reception is attended by students' family and friends. A healthy meal is provided for all the cyclists and light refreshments are provided for guests. Volunteers are needed to set up tables, food, drinks, clean up and store student bikes after students arrive. Volunteers need to report to Bronx Design and Construction Academy, part of the Alfred E. Smith Education Campus (333 East 151st Street, Bronx, NY 10451), at 2 pm.
To volunteer for any of these roles, download and fill out the application form at 2015 Century Ride Volunteer Application
The Century Ride volunteer applications will continue to be expected until all volunteer slots are filled. There is a mandatory Century Ride volunteer orientation on the evening on Thursday May 29th.
Volunteers are also needed for Spring Training Rides, which help students prepare for the Century Ride. The Spring Training Ride application can be found HERE.