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Bike Commuting for Non-Morning People

Jamee Ernst
Jamee Ernst July 6, 2017 Jamee is a former Planning Specialist for the Property & Development Services Program.
ATP Takeaway: Though bike commuting requires some preparation, it’s a great way to fit in daily exercise and take advantage of the area’s bike infrastructure. It can also wake you up in the morning!

I am a person who could always sleep in a little (okay, a lot) longer. Even with several years of working with a consistent schedule, I still need several alarms to get me out of bed in the morning.

Bike commuting seemed like too much work and I felt like I didn’t have enough time to get everything together in order to be prepared. What do I wear? How do I pack? Which route do I take? It all seemed too overwhelming and I am definitely too tired in the morning to ensure I remember crucial items.

When I started my position as Planning Specialist with Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP), I realized that my commute from DC to Rosslyn was only 4 miles, largely on protected bike lanes. I enjoy biking so it seemed silly not to ride to work just because I’m not a morning person.

Through some trial and error, I have learned to prepare for my ride the evening before so I have minimal work to do before I hop on my bike in the morning. Now when I arrive at work, I am awake and alert from biking and ready to start the day.



Preparing for My Bike Commute

In order to have a streamlined commute in the morning, there are several things I prepare the evening prior and some items that I leave at the office.

1. Clothing

In the evening, I check the weather for the next day and pick out an outfit accordingly. I pack this in my backpack so it is ready to go for the morning. I bike in gym clothes for the hot weather so I lay those out as well make sure I am prepared.

I keep a few pairs of shoes at the office as well, to decrease the weight of my bag. This also allows for one less item to think about when packing.

2. Food

I often have my dinner leftovers for lunch the next day. I pack those up in the evening so I can throw this in my bag in the morning.

As I am often rushed for time in the morning, I have a quick breakfast like yogurt or cereal before biking and have a snack when I arrive at the office.

3. Bike Safety

Aside from a small stretch on M Street before crossing the Key Bridge, my route is almost entirely on streets with bike lanes. Though this is great, it is important to remain aware of vehicle traffic, other cyclists and pedestrians. The bike ride over keeps me awake and alert as I take in my surroundings and I enjoy the time I get to exercise in the morning.

4. Shower

I am fortunate that our office has shower facilities, especially since it has been so hot recently. I keep some travel size toiletries at work for easy access (and one less thing to remember!). I also keep a small bag of basic makeup in my back pack to put on at the office.

After a bike ride and a cool shower, I am ready for the workday!

Bike Commuting Can Help Make You Seem Like a Morning Person

Biking to work can be challenging, but I have found that it is my fastest commute option and helps me to be more awake and alert than sitting on a bus or the Metro. It allows me to be active and focused and combat my urge to stay in bed. Even if you are nervous about biking, with a little preparation, bike commuting can be less overwhelming.

Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/ for Arlington Transportation Partners

Tags: Bike, How I Commute to Work, Active Transportation, ATP Staff, Commute


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