Bike your way to breakfast…and happiness!

(view more articles in SOS Tompkins Weekly)

Tompkins Weekly  5-12-14

By Norma Gutierrez and Jonathan Maddison

What could help you feel more alert, energized, and happy on a daily basis? Biking to work or school provides these benefits and more! Join hundreds of people biking to work in Tompkins County on Friday, May 16 for the 4th annual Bike to Work and School Day.

You’ll be treated to a free breakfast at any of the fourteen Bike to Work and School Stations from 7am -10am in Ithaca and Tompkins County. You can also enter to win prizes provided by Cayuga Ski and Cyclery and the Bike Rack. This year we’ve expanded to include NEW breakfast stations in the towns of Dryden, Brooktondale, Danby and Trumansburg. Plan your route and pick a station by going to For more fun, plan to meet a friend for breakfast at the Bike to Work and School station!

Need to refresh your bike skills or get your bike checked before Bike to Work and School Day? The Finger Lakes Cycling Club offers beginner or advanced level road rides hosted by bicycle club leaders. The Friends Bike Clinic is a great opportunity to meet other cyclists and learn bike repair skills, offered on Sundays (learn more at Recycle Ithaca Bikes (RIBS), a program of the Southside Community Center, offers bike repair tools and an open bike repair shop on Sundays and Tuesdays.

Do you have a long or uphill commute? You can skip the hill or distance by loading your bike on a TCAT bus bike rack. All TCAT busses are equipped with a bike rack that loads up to two bikes.
If your new to biking, Way2Go suggests that you participate in a beginner road ride offered by the Finger Lakes Cycling Club to learn from experienced bicyclists. Here are a few basic tips that will increase the safety of your bike commute:

  • Ride with traffic
  • Keep to the right but also leave enough room (at least 3 feet) to steer around road hazards or car doors that may swing open.
  • Obey traffic lights and signs. Riding through a red light is dangerous and unlawful. Signal your turns.
  • Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach you to make sure you are seen.
  • In the city of Ithaca, you may not ride your bicycle on sidewalks (children age 10 and under, and anyone who, because of a disability, uses a bicycle as a means of transportation or mobility may ride on sidewalks)

For more safe cycling tips see

There are also few basic steps that you can take to ensure your bike is running properly.

  • Check your tires. First, inflate your tires so they are firm, most tires have the proper inflation printed on the side of the tire. Look for wear such as cracks which indicate that the tire needs to be replaced. Loose spokes should also be repaired.
  • Clean your chain and bike gears thoroughly. Soap and water can help clear out gunk. After cleaning lightly oil the chain with light oil made specifically for bicycles.
  • Test your brakes. Look at the brake pads for wear. Adjust the brakes so your brake pads sit as close to your rims as possible without actually touching or have a mechanic help you adjust them.
  • Make sure your tail light and head light are working and shining bright.
  • Outfit yourself with reflective tape or a reflective vest for biking in the evening, if you don’t already have it.

Bike to Work and School day is part of several local events celebrating National Bike Month, including Streets Alive! Ithaca and the Two Wheels to Freedom Bike Art Show.  These events are part of the community wide effort to improve conditions and awareness of bicycling as a viable means of transportation:  a green, clean, healthy and beautiful way to get around. Choose your Bike to Work and School Station, invite your friends and join the fun! For event information and location details see

For information about getting around Tompkins County safely, affordably and comfortably contact Way2Go at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County at (607)-272-2292, or

Norma Gutierrez is a Way2Go educator. Jonathan Maddison is Way2Go program manager

If you liked this article, you may want to check out our complete archives of SOS Tompkins Weekly articles