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Bike the Strike: A Note for First Time Cyclists

Cyclists on Spruce Street.

Cyclists on Spruce Street.

As of now, we still don’t know if the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will strike on November 1. According to the most recent reports on October 31, talks are ongoing. The Transport Workers Union Local 234 and SEPTA have not yet reached a deal.

So, we are prepared for a strike. And if the strike is anything like the last time SEPTA went on strike, in 2009, we can expect a lot more bicycles on the streets as new riders find alternative modes to work, school, and other destinations.

2009’s strike saw a 38 percent increase in bicycling, and given infrastructure has improved since then, and we now have a bike sharing system, expect to see an even greater increase if a strike happens.

For those commuters considering bicycling for the first time during this year’s potential strike, here are some pointers to get you started.

1) Check your bike. If you’re someone who’s pulling an old bicycle out of your basement to get around during the strike, make sure your ride is basically maintained. That means checking your brakes, tire pressure, and gears, if you have them. You can learn how to do that here, or bring your bike to a local shop, all of which are available here.

2) Bicycle Coalition Discounts. For those of you who are members of the Bicycle Coalition, you get discounts to numerous bike shops around the Greater Philadelphia region. So, if you need a new tube, tires, lights, grips, whatever, be sure to use your Bicycle Coalition discount. (More information on becoming a member here.)

3) Ride Indego. Indego bike share is a viable option for anyone able to ride a bicycle in the city. If you have a membership, great; you know how it works. Even if you don’t have a membership, you can walk up and use a credit card to take a bike out for a half hour. Information here.

4) Find somebody to ride with. For first-time riders, riding your bike with a more-experienced cyclist is a great way to be introduced to urban riding.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia will be leading four rides from four spots in the city on Wednesday, which will be the second potential day of the strike. Stay tuned for more information!

5) Best bike routes. Philadelphia has hundreds of miles of bike lanes—some better than others. So, the Bicycle Coalition, with help from our members and supporters, have been putting together a “faded” lane map over the last month. We urge you to check that map out to see what the safest way to ride from will be for you. You can see the map, and all our maps, here.

6) Follow the rules of the road. Bike nice. Ride with traffic, stay off sidewalks, don’t put pedestrians at risk. It’s important you follow the rules of the road, and if you’re not entirely sure what they are, you can read them all here.

Topics: Bike Share, Biking in Philly, Featured

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