First Time Riders Guide

The ultimate “ride-guide” on how to get around by bicycle

Riding your bike around town is the most efficient mode of transportation and is a great way to get to know your community! It also helps you get healthier and lower carbon emissions. If you’re a first-time bike rider, Ride Together Pierce wants to equip you with the information you need to hit the road with confidence! 

Knowledge, confidence and safety will contribute to your enjoyment of bicycling, so check out our step-by-step guide and helpful bike riding commuter tips below.


Make sure you and your bike are ready for your journey! This video from REI covers the ABC’s (air, brakes, chain) and here are some other things to consider:

First time riders guide (Bike) - PREP FOR THE RIDE
  • Check the condition of your bike: Make sure the tires are full, the lights work, your brakes work, etc. Keeping your bike well-maintained regularly will keep your bike ready for the ride.
  • Dress for the weather: Consider dressing in layers so you can add or remove clothing if the weather changes, and bring along a waterproof poncho to keep you dry if the rain rolls in.
  • Bring the essentials: Whether you have an attached saddle bag, pouch, or bring along a backpack, pack what you need for the day and try to keep it light. Don’t forget a bike lock if you have to store your bike!
  • Safety first: Wear a proper fitting helmet to keep your head safe and dress in light colored clothing with reflective elements so you’re fully visible.

Our favorite commuting tips:

  • Carry essentials for making bike adjustments or repairing a flat tire (two tire levers, a CO2 pump and adaptor or hand-held pump, replacement tubes and a hex key).
  • Always travel with enough water to get you through your ride safely hydrated.
  • Bring a lock, even if you don’t think you’ll need it!
  • Know where you’re going and where to park your bike ahead of time — that brings us to the next step!
  • Check out this comprehensive Bicycle Commuting Tips & Tricks guide from Pierce Transit that covers everything from maintaining your bike to fueling your body for your ride and preparing for the worst-case scenario.


Knowing your route ahead of time will ensure you choose a bike-friendly route and get to your destination on time. Check out our Bikes Maps & Routes page to connect to abundant resources for planning your bike route. 

Our favorite commuting tips:

  • Check out the Pierce County Bike Map and the King County Regional Trails Map which show you helpful insights about the types of terrain for each path and whether they are separated from motor vehicle traffic or have designated bike lanes.
  • Use Google Maps, Strava and Komoot to help plan your biker-friendly route.
  • Chat with other cyclists or commuter bikers that you know and get tips for best trails for commuting.
  • Find a buddy! Riding with a coworker, friend or neighbor for even a portion of your bike ride can keep you motivated and excited to ride. You can even get matched with a buddy on


First time riders guide (Bike) - GET ON THE ROADOnce your bag is packed, your bike is thoroughly checked and you know your route, you’re ready to hit the pavement! Check out the WSDOT Bicyclist Laws & Safety list for more information on how to be a safe, responsible rider. 

Our favorite commuting tips:

  • Be visible by wearing light colored, reflective gear and have your lights on at night.
  • Be aware of surroundings and ride defensively. Keeping your eyes and ears open lets you know what’s coming and bike safely.

Wear your helmet. A helmet is required when biking in unincorporated Pierce County and can reduce the odds of a head injury in a bike accident by 50%.


Arriving at your destination feels great! You’ve logged some exercise for the day, and after a little refresh and a sip of water, you’re ready to carry forward!

Be sure you securely lock your bike to a designated area or store it safely in a locker or employee parking area. Check out our Bicycle Parking page to find lockers and storage facilities. If you want to nudge your workplace to offer bike parking, check out this guide for how to convince your employer to install secure bike parking.

Be prepared to carry your belongings with you or have a safe place to store your things, such as a personal locker at work or the gym. Double check to make sure you don’t leave anything behind, such as your water or bike lights.


For every trip you log into the RTP Trip Calendar you can see how much money you’re saving! You can also enter to win prizes through our Community Challenges.

First time riders guide (Bike) - LOG YOUR TRIPS