My first rule of bike commuting: never bike when I am in a rush.
Biking can be risky enough as it is, and feeling rushed causes one to deliberately take more risks. Moreover, being in a rush makes me focus too much on my destination, which then makes the commute seem interminable. The whole pleasure of biking is to enjoy being in the moment. Each moment.
So I will never rush to work. I will look at peoples’ yards and plants. Which houses are now for sale. Which are being prepared to be flipped. I will stop to look.
When I go fast, it will always be only for myself, to feel my muscles work, wind in my face, well-tuned bike beneath my feet.
Biking to the office can help me smile through an entire day of humiliatingly mundane work, because it just makes me feel that good.
Another rule: never bike to work unless I have a ton (at least 16 oz) of my favorite drinks to enjoy after I arrive at the office. This means coconut juice or other nectars from El Super, coke, or a thermos of homemade lemonade or sweetened tea. I am a great believer in sugary drinks in my water bottle holders. The return commute is often needlessly painful if the sugary drink rule was ignored.
I am convinced many people associate physical activity with pain simply because they don’t know the value of eating and drinking beforehand, and sugary drinks afterward. The human body is a wonderful machine that needs to be maintained in the same way a bike or car has to be maintained.
My favorite bike commuting season comes twice a year: in the fall and spring. Daylight lasts into the early evening (so I don’t need to fiddle with bike lights), but temperatures are cooler so my coworkers don’t see me purple-faced and sweaty. I am very much looking forward to the start of commuting season.