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Biking is good for your health and your savings account.

You know what they say, a penny saved is a penny earned. So, if you live within a five-mile radius of your destination, save money on fuel and try biking instead of driving. You’ll enjoy staying active and helping the environment with every trip. And since your bike can take you places a car cannot, you might see some new sights along the way.  

Prepare for your ride.

Biking is a great way to travel because of its flexibility. And people who prepare and put safety first, enjoy a better biking experience. So, we’ve got some tips to get you off on the right foot.

The ABC Quick Check

Every time you ride, do The ABC Quick Check:

A is for Air: Check the air pressure, spin the wheels, and make sure the tires are not worn out.

B is for Brakes: Check to make sure the brakes will stop the bike by spinning the back wheel and applying the brake. If the bike has hand brakes check to see that the levers do not hit the handlebars when squeezed. Life one tire up at a time spin it; squeeze the levers to see if the tire stops. The brakes should be clean, straight, and contact the rims properly. 

C is for Cranks, Chain, and Cogs: Grab the crank arms and try to wiggle side to side. There should be no movement. Spin the pedals and cranks to see if the chain drives the rear wheel. The chain should look like metal not rust or black gunk. If the bike has gears check to make sure the gear levers and derailleurs (gear-changing mechanism) work to shift the chain between gears

Quick refers to Quick Release: Some bikes have quick releases on the wheels or the seat post. Check to make sure they are tight and closed properly. 

Check: After making sure the seat and handlebars are tight and the proper height, have the child ride the bicycle around the parking lot and check that everything works well.

Wear a helmet

Wearing a helmet that fits not only protects your face and head but can save your life. A good helmet absorbs most of the impact of a fall and protects your brain and skull. Invest in a helmet with MIMPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System), which is designed to manage energy and angular impacts. Remember, a helmet only protects as well as it fits, so make sure to invest in a one that fits well. You need to replace your bike helmet at least every 5 to 10 years.

Avoid sidewalks 

You may think a sidewalk is a safe place for a bike ride, but statistics show the safest place for you to be is on the road — with moving traffic. When you ride on sidewalks, cars, intersections, and people all present safety issues. So, protect yourself by keeping on the road and off sidewalks whenever possible.

Be seen

The easiest way to make sure you are visible to cars is to stay in the travel lane, and away from parked cars. When riding at night, make sure to use headlights and taillights.

Be predictable

No weaving. Ride your bike in a steady line. You want drivers to anticipate your travel path. So keep your riding consistent and be aware of passing or oncoming drivers.


Use proper hand signals when turning, slowing down, and stopping. And try to make eye contact with drivers to know they see you. Not sure what they hand signals are?


Learn more about the basics of biking to work with this Bike Commuting Checklist from our friends at Bike Clark County!

Get Geared Up.

Now that you’ve found a bicycle you like, it’s time to get geared up for your trip and spruce up your ride.  Here are some common items to consider for pleasant and safe travel.  

Headlights and taillights

Headlights are required by law when traveling at night. Even though you only need a red reflector for a taillight, it’s much safer to have a lighted taillight as well. Lights vary by quality, mounting design, light brilliance, and battery life. Visit your local bike shop to find the right lights for you. When selecting your lights, you have three choices in battery type. 

  • Non-rechargeable
  • Rechargeable headlights
  • Generator-powered headlights

Bike locks

U-locks are the most durable and highly theft-resistant lock. But they’re also heavy and inflexible. If you choose to invest in a U-Lock, you might find it easier to leave it at your workplace or a location you regularly park your bike, rather than carrying when you travel.

Cable locks are more flexible and are lighter, but are also less secure. When purchasing a cable lock, select one with a built-in lock. You can choose between either a combination or key-lock style cable.

The perfect combination would be to have both styles. A U-Lock for commuting for your long commute trips and cable lock for shorter trips.

Bike Index – Bike Registration

Register your bike through Bike Index and if your bike goes missing, there is a community of people ready to help you locate it. Registering your bike is simple. Go to, register with your name, bike manufacturer, serial number, and component information. Nearly 1 million bikes are registered on Bike Index and nearly 12,000 bikes have been recovered. This is a free tool, be sure to take advantage!

Storage bags

You may want to have room on your bike to carry groceries or other items. An ideal option is to purchase panniers that attach to the rack on the back of your bike. Many bike riders prefer these over a backpack. You’ll have waterproof, sealed compartments for carrying all of your items.


If you have a long commute, or just want to keep your clothes fresh, consider investing in clothing for bicycling. You can usually find shoes, tops, and bottoms at your local outdoor store.

Bike accessories

Just like your car, a few upgrades will add comfort to your ride. Consider purchasing fenders, mirrors, and specialized tires for added safety and an improved trip experience.




Sometimes you need a little boost.

About 50% of new electric bike (e-bike) owners are people who did not consider themself a biker before their purchase. Why? E-bikes open new possibilities for people. Like older riders who need some extra support or new parents hauling young kids in a trailer. The e-bike helps them go farther. Plus, e-bikes are FUN!

Go farther with an electric bicycle.

When you were first learning to ride, you may have needed an extra little push to get going. That is exactly what an e-bike does. But instead, that extra boost keeps you going all throughout your ride!

Why Electric Bicycles?

Electric bicycles open new opportunities for people. E-bikes allow you to go farther and faster. You can carry more items (or people) than a manual bicycle. You can also keep up with your hardcore bike friends on your e-bike. E-bikes are great for not sitting in traffic. 

E-bikes are also great for older adults, people with children, and people who travel or make deliveries for work. E-bikes are great for people with disabilities because of their multiple configurations, power capabilities, and more. E-bikes are versatile, fun, and more affordable than purchasing a car or SUV. 

Where can you ride an e-bike?

The short answer is you can ride any type of e-bike “on the street.” Ride your e-bike like you would ride a bicycle. Be sure to review your city or county’s rule and regulations.

What is different about riding an e-bike?

Riding an e-bike is different than riding a manual bicycle. E-bikes are typically heavier than manual bicycles. E-bikes also travel at a faster speed than manual bicycles. When you want to stop an e-bike you need to brake earlier to ensure a safe stop. While riding an e-bike pedal at a faster cadence and in low assist mode as much as possible. This will ensure you have a smooth ride and are efficient with your battery. 

How long does the battery last? 

That depends. There are a lot of variables that affect the battery life on an e-bike. For example, the more powerful of a motor will typically mean better performance but less battery range. However, it also depends on where and how you ride the e-bike. 

How long does it take to charge? Most e-bikes will completely charge in 3 to 5 hours. The larger the battery the longer it will take to charge. Some people purchase an extra charge to leave one at home and one at work. A charger ranges in price but is approximately $100 to $200. 

How many batteries are included? Many e-bikes can have more than one battery. This extends how long you can ride and can give riders some peace at mind if they are concerned about running out of battery. 

Where is the battery located? E-bikes are more and more integrated the battery to the frame of the e-bike. This allows you to add more components like bottle cages, bags, racks, and more.

How to choose the right e-bike?

Before purchasing your e-bike (or any bike), review your city or county’s rule and regulations and identify a budget for what you can spend. For regulatory reasons, electric bicycles have three classes:

  • Class 1: The motor kicks in only while you’re actively pedaling, and the motor assist stops when you reach 20 mph.
  • Class 2: Has a pedal-assist mode up to 20 mph; it also offers a throttle-only mode. (No other class of e-bike offers this mode.)
  • Class 3: Works like Class 1 (pedal assist only), but the motor won’t stop assisting until you reach 28 mph.
Most first-time e-bike buyers will purchase a Class 1 e-bike because it is affordable, and you can ride it on city streets and most bicycle paths. People with a 10+ mile commute or that run errands or travel for work most often find a Class 3 e-bike the best fit. Class 3 e-bikes can carry more weight and you will find you can keep up with traffic. Whatever you do be sure to research before making a final choice. 

Tip for caring for your e-bike 

  • Charge the e-bike or battery inside, inside storage in the winter is required, cold temperatures can kill the battery
  • Take great care of the brakes, especially if they are hydraulic
  • Take excellent care of the chain
  • Always do The ABC Quick Check before riding

Remember, the better care you take of your e-bike the longer the lifespan it will have!




Choosing the right route. Sometimes getting off the beaten path is better.

The best route for a car may or may not be the best bike route option. Sometimes the driving route is the easiest, safest, and most direct choice to get to your destination on your bike. But neighborhood or residential streets may have less traffic with shorter commute times. Try a different path. You might like the scenery better.

Bike Maps

These are some local maps you can check out.

City of Vancouver/Clark County Bike Map
Also available in the lobby of Vancouver City Hall (415 W. 6th Street), Monday-Friday from 8:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M.

Clark County Parks & Trails

Experience the beauty of Clark County on your bike.

City of Portland Maps
Portland Bicycle Network Collection and I-205 and I-5 bridge bike paths.

Metro Bike There Map
A bicycle map of the Portland Metro area.

Combining Bicycle and Transit.

Trip too long to bike the entire way?

All C-TRAN and TriMet buses offer bicycle racks on a first-come, first-served basis.  Watch this how-to video on safely loading and unloading your bike on standard C-TRAN buses and The Vine.  You’ll also learn additional information for bikes on buses.

TriMet allows you to bring your bike on the bus, MAX train, and the Portland Streetcar. You’ll also find racks to hang your bicycle at designated locations along the MAX and the Portland Streetcar routes.

C-TRAN Bike Lockers

Want to leave your bike behind? Try a bike locker for safe, weatherproof storage.

Lockers can be rented for three (3) or six (6) month periods.  If you need your bike before the end of your rental period, don’t worry,  C-TRAN will refund the remainder of your monthly rental fees when you return your key.

You’ll find lockers at:

  • 99th Street Transit Center at Stockford Village
  • Fisher’s Landing Transit Center
  • Salmon Creek Park & Ride

Call (360) 695-0123 check bike locker availability at the location most convenient for you.