Bikes, Buses, and Commuting on Bike to Work Day

Austin Bike to Work Day 2017

Friday, May 20th, was Austin Bike to Work Day. This annual tradition encourages Austinites that normally drive to opt for another mode of transportation for only one day. This is in line with what Austin is all about: promoting a cleaner environment and attempting to decrease unpleasant traffic. This day also promotes the pairing of two useful tools: bikes and public transportation. Although many opt for one or the other, both options can be utilized for a safe, clean, and stress-free commute.

Austin Bikes and Buses: Decreasing Traffic and Injury

When it comes to avoiding traffic, public transportation and bicycles are some of the best options, especially in Austin. Through public transportation, such as Capitol Metro, you can ride past traffic in designated bus lanes. Same goes for bikes, and certain streets boast their own lanes, promoting bike safety and convenience. But why not combine the two? Bike part of the way and then ride the bus for the rest. Not a fan of the bus? Do the same, but with the train. We’ve discussed the wonders of combining public transportation with cycling before, and believe that they go incredibly well together. Still unsure how this could possibly work without being left cramped and uncomfortable? Well, we will help you out with useful tips to take the stress out of your commute.

Bike and Bus to Avoid Traffic

Capitol Metro makes taking your bike on the bus an easy and stress-free process. We will walk you through taking your bike on the bus, step by step, from packing your bag and getting to your destination.

  1. Find Your Bus: Before you even leave the house, check your Capitol Metro app or their trip planner at http://www.capmetro.org/planner/. Here you can plan how far you want to bike, where you want to get on the bus, and how much time you need to get there. This will keep you from biking until the point of exhaustion, and keep you from riding around aimlessly searching for a bus stop that will take you exactly where you want to go.
  2. Dress Accordingly: Make sure you are wearing the proper attire for biking, even if you are on your way to work. Always wear a helmet, and sunglasses are recommended on sunny Austin days.
  3. Pack Accordingly: You will want to pack a change of clothes, deodorant, and water. Trust us, getting to your destination in clothes wet and smelly from sweat is no fun. If your destination happens to have a shower, lucky you. If not, bring a change of clothes and maybe some cologne or perfume. And definitely bring deodorant and water. Keep yourself hydrated and smelling great.
  4. Loading Your Bike: Once you’re at your bus stop and the bus approaches, it is time to place your bike on the bus. Almost all Metro Busses are equipped with a front bike rack that holds two or three bicycles with 20″ wheels and electric bikes under 55 pounds. When the bus approaches, remain on the curb with your bike until it comes to a complete stop. Then, make eye contact with the bus driver so they see what you are doing, and load your bike onto the front rack following these instructions:
    1. Lower the rack by squeezing the handle and folding it down
    2. Place your bike’s wheels in the wheel wells
    3. Lift the spring loaded support arm over your front tire so it hugs the tire securely in place.

If you forget these instructions, not to worry, they are written on the bike racks to help users. Just make sure when loading your bike that you are standing in front of the bus so that you do not block traffic or get injured by a passing vehicle.

  1. No Room on the Bike Rack: If there is no room on the bike rack, there are a couple of ways to proceed. There is bike parking available at most bus stops, so feel free to leave your bike chained at the bus stop if there is room. If you feel uncomfortable leaving your bike far away from your destination, then your only option left is to wait for the next bus and hope that there is room on that bike rack. However, this is rare, and most of the time there is space available on the bike rack. But do not attempt to bring your bike on the bus. There is already limited space on the buses due to crowding, and a bicycle would take up a great deal of room.
  2. Time to Pay: After loading your bike onto the bus, it is time to pay for your ride. Guess what, bringing your bike on the bus doesn’t cost you extra! Enjoy the rest of your commute sitting in air conditioning and cooling off after getting a nice bit of exercise.
  3. Relax and Enjoy the Ride: You did it! Now that your bike is safe and secure on a bike rack, whether that is on the bus or parked at the bus stop, you are on your way to your destination. Follow the same steps on your way home, and you will have completed a round trip ride utilizing bikes and buses.

Bike to the MetroRail Without Accident

Biking and then using the Metro Rail is just as simple, yet only slightly different. In this instance, you would bring your bike on the train with you. Imagine attaching your bike to the front of a high speed train? That is just an accident waiting to happen. However, there are bike racks located inside each train car, and there are steps for properly loading them. For loading and unloading instructions on the train, read here.

There are some rules when bringing your bike onboard a train. Only standard-sized bicycles are permitted on board, which includes standard electric and folding bicycles. This means none of the following:

  • Tricycles
  • Tandems
  • Bicycles with training wheels
  • Cargo bikes
  • Recumbent bikes
  • Gasoline-powered bicycles
  • Scooters

MetroBike Shelters Keep Your Bike Safe Overnight

Still concerned for your bike’s safety? Well a few MetroRail and MetroRapid stations offer MetroBike Shelters to keep your bike safe and secure while you are away. These shelters make it easier to store your bike when you know that you will be standing in a crowded bus. They offer:

  • Secured, limited card key access (Use your bike lock inside)
  • Fully enclosed bike parking for up to 24 bikes
  • Open 5:00 a.m. – 2:30 a.m. seven days a week
  • 24-hour camera surveillance
  • Sitting area for changing shoes, etc.
  • Air pump, work stand and tools for minor bike repairs
  • Secure access to all seven MetroBike shelters for only $30/year

This service is available at the following stations:

METRORAIL:

  • Kramer Station
  • Lakeline Station
  • MLK, Jr. Station
  • Plaza Saltillo Station
  • Highland Station

METRORAPID:

  • Tech Ridge Park & Ride
  • South Congress Transit Center

McMinn Supports Bike Austin and Alternative Commute Options

McMinn has proudly supported Bike Austin since 2015. We believe in the importance of alternative modes of transportation to not only decrease traffic and vehicle accidents, but to decrease vehicle emissions and environmental damage.

Jason and Justin McMinn also realize the vulnerability of cyclists on the road, and encourage Austin to promote bike safety, and make the roads a kinder place for cyclists and drivers alike. If you or a loved one is injured on the road, McMinn Law Firm’s accident attorneys are available by phone, live chat, or web form 24/7.