Sunday, July 15, 2012

What to Wear Biking...to/from Work

I bike to work at least once a week because it: doesn't pollute, doesn't give me road rage, gives me a workout, is fun, is way more scenic than highway.

Whatever your reason, here's a random assortment of possibly helpful tips for biking to and/or from the office.
  1. Map your ride - riding to work isn't just about getting to the office. Turn the everyday into something better by taking a different route. Take a side street or cut through a park or both!
  2. Plan your gear - depending on how long your ride and how much your sweat, you may have some flexibility with gear. I take my bike on the train in the morning, so I only have a 1-mile ride, allowing me to arrive in my work clothes. Going home, I bike the entire distance, so I wear cycling gear. This saves time on arrival (no changing) and fewer people have to see me in bike shorts. If you have a long ride or sweat at the mere thought of cycling, wear gear and change in the handicap stall (more room so you won't drop a pant leg into the toilet while getting dressed). Important: no matter what your plan, figure it out the night before and pack accordingly. There's nothing worse than planning on changing at work and realizing you forgot shoes.
  3. Do a practice ride - especially important if you're planning on riding in your work clothes. Do you have any idea how sweaty you get when riding in pants and a button down shirt? Can you even peddle in your skinny jeans? Is there a hill that seems like a gentle slope in the car but is actually a mile climb?
  4. Be safe - in the summer, more daylight makes us feel more visible but being seen is always an issue when cycling. There is no shame in being a human torch if it saves your life. Bright yellow vests and jackets are best in summer daylight but at night, get lit! And don't just think about what's ahead, remember the car approaching from behind. Reflective gear is good when traffic is going under 25mph. Bright, flashing lights are needed for anything faster.
  5. Remember your bike lock - you never know when you might want to stop and smell the flowers. Be prepared to pause with a lock. Also, some offices don't let bikes in. If that's your situation, politely raise a ruckus - if FedEx trolleys are allowed in, so should bikes - and lock up outside until your ruckus gets results.  
It probably would also be smart to learn how to change a flat and carry a flat-tire kit. I don't so do as I say and not as I do. Or don't. Most importantly, enjoy the ride!