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Become a better, smarter biker

by Galen Mook

"I like to say that biking is a very 'Zen' activity, because you must always be in the NOW — and always keep moving forward."

Landry's Everyday Biking Tips are designed to help encourage and educate newer bicyclists. As you read through these tips, keep in mind our objective of three terms:  Comfort, Knowledge, Awareness. Or, in less-wonky parlance:  Feel Good, Get Smart, and Stay Tuned In!

Feel good

Riding a bike should be comfortable, from the bike fit and maintenance, to the helmet size, the clothes you wear, and the route you choose. There are infinite variables to mix-and-match when considering your bike ride, that if something isn’t right then you’re encouraged to change it up! There’s no reason why you shouldn't be riding with a smile on your face, whether it’s a 1-mile ride to work or a 100-mile day out in the country. It's plain and simple: If you’re not comfortable, you won’t ride.

Get smart

Know what’s out there, and ask around about options. Is something not working just right for you? Find your perfect alternative. I guarantee there’s a product, riding group, bike route, and more that will suit your needs — it just might take a bit of know-how. Maybe you are hesitant to ride to work because of a few nasty intersections? Let’s find an alternate road that avoids that mess and just might make your ride the best part of the day! And yes, all these choices may make selecting the perfect item or combination a bit intimidating… that’s what your bike experts at Landry’s Bicycles are here for! But you won’t be able to find out if you don’t ask, and sometimes it’s up to the rider to explore and find out what’s available.

Stay tuned in

I like to say that biking is a very "Zen" activity, because you must always be in the NOW — and always keep moving forward. If your attention slips, even for a moment, you may find yourself out on the ground instead of keeping the rubber-side down. This means you can’t bike while impaired, or with headphones on (you gotta hear the traffic coming up on your left!), or with your thoughts flowing elsewhere. If you need to take a look at that reflection in the buildings or check a text message, just pull over for a few seconds -- I guarantee you’ll make up the time at the next red light. Traveling at 12–15 MPH is a great way for a human being to experience the environment, and you will soak in an enormous amount of information at that speed. As you become experienced out on the roads and pathways, most of your experiences will be processed subconsciously. Yet until this second-nature is an ingrained part of your psyche, you will need to keep these biking tips in the forefront of your brain. You’ll need to consciously check for car-doors that may open up on you (look for a head poking up above the driver’s seat, a face in the rear-view mirror, or a car that just pulled in), and check behind you occasionally to know about passing traffic, and look for pedestrians with their hands waiving in the air hailing a cab. By using all of your senses, even your sixth-sense of intuition, you will become a better biker, a smarter biker, and a comfortable biker.

Why ride more?

"I ride to be a part of the community," Galen Mook says. "To me, biking is traveling on a human scale at a human pace, and it's how I get to know my world. Biking allows me to say 'hi' to fellow riders at stoplights, wave at friends on the sidewalk, see the sights and hear sounds of the streets, and get a sense of my city when it's busy and when it's quiet. Group riding is my favorite activity because we can all share the world together!"

Everyday Biking Tips
by Galen Mook

Galen Mook worked in Landry's marketing department from 2013–2018, and he is now MassBike's executive director. Galen is a year-round bike commuter, experienced cycling instructor, and community advocate for better bicycling.

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