Even if you live ITP (inside the perimeter), commuting just a few miles to work can be stressful and time-consuming. Chris, a Square Software Engineer at Atlantic Station, recently started using a bike for his 2-mile commute from his home in Midtown to work. He decided to give it a try after a coworker suggested he sign up for Biketober–a fun, free competition that takes place each October to encourage Atlantans to break out their bikes and experience the benefits from enjoying the city by two wheels.
We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Chris to hear about how relying on a bicycle to get to work has impacted his life for the better.
What led you to start riding your bike to work?
There were a lot of people in the office who biked, and they were riding longer distances than my commute. When Biketober rolled around, one of my coworkers encouraged me to start riding and gave me a bike. Now, my commute is about 10-15 minutes total by bike.
What is your favorite part about commuting by bike?
It’s a faster commute, I save some money, and it’s an unavoidable workout. Before, I wouldn’t make time for working out or would work out on and off. Now, I get my exercise in each day I go to work.
How did you decide to rely on a bike for your commute?
I was interested in getting a bike to avoid driving a car and received one for free, so that helped me make my decision.
Do you have plans to continue riding your bike?
Definitely, I currently use it for commuting, but I do plan on using it to travel to other places. I’ve only had to skip riding it one day because of the weather, so it has been very useful.
What tips do you have for someone trying to find a bike that best suits their commute?
A coworker told me this quote: “Your first bike should cost less than your helmet, your second bike should cost more than your helmet, and your third bike should cost more than your car.”
Also, starting to ride is not as bad you think. In general, cars are very respectful. There’s some unfounded anxiety about biking prior to starting. After you begin biking that goes away. I was worried about not being in good enough shape, but it was easy.
You just have to rip the Band-Aid off and start trying!
How did you determine the best bike route to take to get to your office?
I first asked coworkers who biked into work. I also tried a couple of different routes I found via Google Maps. My first attempt was West Peachtree Street, which had a huge hill, and figured out fast that would not be a good route. Then, I found that 17th Street to Peachtree Street was pretty flat, so that’s been my route since.
Do you have any accessories for your bike that make commuting easier?
You are going to need a light for riding after dark, bike lock, helmet, and backpack. Some people use harnesses or panniers like the Ortlieb Back Roller Classic. You can hook it to your bike to carry things, so you don’t have to carry a backpack.
What tips do you have for people considering riding their bike to work?
Try to ride your bike in good weather–avoid really hot parts of the day in the summer. You can also rent bikes to try out before you commit to buying one. The Beltline has a lot of bike rental places.
I highly recommend practice riding on the Beltline because you don’t have the pressure of cars surrounding you. You can try out several bikes to find one that is most comfortable for you.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your commute?
I used to take Bird Scooters, but I enjoy biking much more because of the exercise. I wish I had started riding a bike sooner. I’m enjoying participating in Biketober and will continue riding, as I feel healthier and am saving time on my commute!