The Uncommon Life

Biking to Work

May 15, 2011

May 16-20 is Bike to Work Week, and it’s the perfect time of year to give your bike a tune-up, and start pedaling.

I checked in with Mindy, our HR manager, who has been biking regularly in 2006. She’s been testing out our new Cycle Care Kit, $15, to see if it helps her keep her bike in great shape.

Made in Atlanta, the Cycle Care Kit has a selection of bike care products, along with bug repellent, to make sure your daily bike commute, or weekend bike trip, goes smoothly.

Q: Mindy, why do you bike to work?

A: I bike to work for several reasons. I like that I am fitting in a little extra exercise. There are a lot of stoplights on my route, and I am a pretty cautious rider, so my heart rate doesn’t get too elevated, but it is still 45 minutes a day of moderate exercise. I also bike to work because it saves me money. I spend less to maintain my bike than I would on a monthly metro card.

The most important reason I ride is that I control my schedule. Except for the very occasional flat tire, I do not have to rely on any one but myself to get where I am going on time. No waiting for trains for me!

Q: What did you think of the new Cycle Care Kit?

A: I only used the wash and wax, since my bike has almost no stainless steel or chrome or tin. My bike’s finish is pretty shiny, so I didn’t like the instruction that said “may take multiple applications.” I didn’t know when I was supposed to be done!

I liked that it was easy to use, and didn’t have an offensive smell. Most bike cleaners/degreasers tend to be pretty strong. My cat, however, was very interested in the smell!

The intense neon color was a bit, well, intense… And when it got on my countertop I freaked out a little – it was almost glowing! But it wiped up just fine.

Once I had completed the application, and I “buffed” it to impart shine, I could tell it looked better, but the pics don’t really do it justice. When I was riding to work this morning, I definitely noticed the difference.

Overall, I would recommend it. It is essentially a one-step cleaner and it wasn’t too stinky!

Q: What other advice do you have for people who are just starting out with biking?

A: If you live in an urban environment, you need to be cautious and very alert. But you also have to be a bit aggressive. At least in New York, everyone (vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists) are for the most part looking out for themselves. It is important to observe traffic laws, but you can’t just let others bully you either. Eventually, the more you ride, the more you understand the way traffic moves and it becomes easier to get around.

I started biking a little when my husband bought me a mountain bike for my birthday 11 years ago. When we moved to Brooklyn in 2003, he started biking to work, but I didn’t see that as an option (although it actually was!) We would mainly go on rides around Brooklyn on the weekends. In 2006, I decided I really wanted a road bike, so I bought a slightly used one off of Craigslist. That was what hooked me! Having a nice bike and being able to ride (somewhat) fast was exhilarating. I take my bike on long rides in Prospect Park or into Manhattan for a workout.

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