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 your car can’t, you might see some new sights along the way.
Biking is a great way to travel because of its flexibility. And bicyclists 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.
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. Remember, a helmet only protects as well as it fits, so make sure to invest in a one that fits well.
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.
The last thing you want is to have an uncomfortable ride or break down along the way. Make sure to inspect your brakes, tires, pedals, seats, and handlebars regularly to keep your bike performing its best.
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.
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?
Here are some great links to find out more about riding safely.
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 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. When selecting your lights, you have three choices in battery type.
Visit your local bike shop to find the right lights for you.
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.
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.
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.
The route you drive your car may or may not be the best route option. Sometimes your driving route is the easiest, safest, and most direct choice to get to your destination. But, alternate routes may have less traffic with shorter commute times. Try a different path. You might like the scenery better.
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.
I-5 Bridge Map
From downtown Vancouver to Delta Park via the I-5 bridge.
I-205 Bridge bike path map
Gets you from Portland and Vancouver via the I-205 bridge.
Clark County Parks & Trails
Experience the beauty of Clark County on your bike.
City of Vancouver Parks and Recreation Trail Maps
Tons of parks and trails to enjoy.
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.
Trip too long or unsafe 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.
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:
Call (360) 695-0123 or e-mail to check bike locker availability at the location most convenient for you.