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I Want to Ride My Bicycle – Commuting tips for bike month

I Want to Ride my Bicycle

By Julianne Simpson


Each year as May and Bike Month arrive, I am so excited to see more cyclists out on my morning and evening commutes. I love seeing their new clothing, new bikes and encouraging them to overcome their nervousness on their first bike commutes of the year.

I’ve been communing to and from work on a bicycle year-round for the last 15 years or so and people often ask me about what you might need to start commuting. I used to say that you really just need a bike and a helmet, but now thanks to bike share services like Lime and Jump, you don’t even need a bike!

If you have your own bike, having a proper fit is critical to keeping your knees, back, neck, etc happy and healthy. Terri Sullivan, PT, DPT, OCS offers bike fittings at our Seattle location. Give us a call to schedule one!

For the basics beyond a bike and helmet, keeping the water off you and off your stuff is an important consideration. For keeping water off my stuff, I love waterproof panniers, bags that you attach to a rack on your bike. A waterproof messenger bag or backpack is also great but they will give you a sweaty back. As to keeping yourself dry, there are two ways to go. One is with rain gear that goes over your clothes, the other is with warm clothes that can get wet and dry clothes to change into at work.

Being visible to other road users is also critical. I have always loved to have double lights, that way if one light loses power, you’ve got another to cover you. That means I have two front lights and two back lights. A lot of cyclists wear safety vests, some of them even flash.

Even if you are not participating on a bike month team through Cascade Bike Club, it’s fun to get out and explore Seattle’s bike trails and growing collection of Neighborhood Greenways and Protected Bike Lanes (City of Seattle Bike Map). Venturing out of Seattle is also fun. King County has maps of their trails. Washington Bikes has a large collection of maps as well.

City biking skills are also critical to learn and practice to stay safe on city streets. Classes are available for both adults and kids through Cascade Bike club. If you are feeling unsure about how to ride safely in an urban setting, Cascade Bike Club even offers an Urban Commuting Class for adults. Pedalheads and Cascade both offer classes and camps for kids.

Bike Month is great time to get (back) on a bike. Come say hi today, May 17, 2019 at our Bike Day station in front of our new location, 1200 Westlake from 4p-6p. We will have snacks, tunes and fun stuff!


Julianne Simpson, DPT, holds a BA from Oberlin College and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Eastern Washington University. A general orthopedic and pelvic health therapist, she is passionate about helping people move more and empowering her patients to live healthier lives. She dreams of raising kind children, cycling over the Alps and surfing in Alaska.

Why Physical Therapy is About More Than ‘Getting Better’

Why Physical Therapy is About More Than ‘Getting Better’

By Carrie Hall, PT, MHS

When you make an appointment with a physical therapist (PT) to rehabilitate after a shoulder injury, for example, it’s because you want to get better, right? Well, yes, but what exactly does that mean? As it turns out, “getting better” means different things to different people. To some, proper recovery from a shoulder injury means being able to carry a golf bag and swing a club while to others, it means being able to lift their child in and out of their car seat.

Here’s the thing – helping your PT know and understand your own personal goals is the key to success. As a patient, that means speaking up early and often about how the injury is limiting the everyday activities that are most important to you. With this knowledge, your PT can adapt your approach and individualize aspects of the treatment plan to ensure that you meet your goals. At Movement Systems Physical Therapy, we call this “person-centered care.”

It is part of a physical therapist’s job description to work with individuals to reduce pain and to improve strength, range of motion, balance and mobility. Your PT will address these aspects of your treatment regardless, but if you return home to unload the dishwasher and realize that you still can’t reach to place the coffee mugs on the shelf, then that’s a problem.

Your PT can’t possibly know everything that’s important to you—or the obstacles that you face—unless you share that information.  One way around this is to develop a list of the activities you cannot participate in at your preferred level. This list can include household chores, work-related activities, recreational or athletic activities, or hobbies. Bring this list to your first appointment and share this with your PT.  To take it a step farther, try to narrow that list down to ONE main GOAL – the thing that you want to be able to do better.  This ONE GOAL can give you something to focus on during your course of treatment—and motivate you to keep showing up and following the exercise program that your PT prescribes.  Communicate, Engage, Achieve – that is a successful formula.

With a little effort on both sides, you and your PT can work together to customize your care to get you back to doing what gives you joy. The Doctors of Physical Therapy at Movement Systems will guide you to be forever better!