Bike to work day for the San Francisco Bay Area is Thursday, May 9th.
Over 1 million people in the Bay Area live within 5 miles of their work. For a lot of people the logistics of biking to work get in the way of what should be a really good idea. How do you balance getting all sweaty with the fact that you need to make yourself presentable?
My husband is a bike commuter as well as some of my customers. I’ve gotten some tips and hints from my bike peeps to help solve this dilemma.
Because being smelly and unkempt at work is pretty much a deal breaker.
Reasons to bike to work
- It’s great for the environment by saving on fossil fuel.
- Creates less air pollution. Clears traffic.
- Saves you money on gas.
- It’s darn good for you.
- Clears your head, wakes you up and improves your functionality and mood.
- Makes your butt look fly.
What’s not to love?
Bike to work problems to overcome
- Helmet head
- Sweat and overheating
- Odor prevention
- Changing clothes and wrinkles
How to overcome bike-to-work challenges
Sweat and overheating
After my research and consulting my bikers it seems the consensus is to allow yourself to cool down before you change your clothes. This will prevent any excess perspiration from clinging to you. It takes several hours for sweat to turn to odor so if you freshen up properly this shouldn’t be an issue.
See below how some of my customers freshen up after their bike ride.
If you can’t wear your hair short then invest in or make a dry shampoo. This will soak up any excess oil and allow you to rebrush and freshen up your hair.
For the gals: Consider an updo on occasion and buy some hair pins and accessories to give you some options. We know hair can be moody.
My favorite hairclip is a Ficcare. It’s $40 but it holds even the most fine and thin hair (talking from experience). It’s one of the best $40 I’ve ever spent for a hair accessory.
If you are lucky enough to have a place to stash some clothes you can roll some shirts at the first of the week and hang them to use throughout the week. If you can’t stash your clothes then roll any button-downs and shake them out as soon as you arrive. In some cases you can also adjust your wardrobe to suit your work environment and your new routines simultaneously.
In some cases you may change only your top and wear the bottom on the bike. And, in some cases you’ll have to change from bike wear to work wear. How you pull this off depends on your work environment and what kind of space you have to work with when you get to the office.
It may take some time and trial and error but you can make it work.
- You may have to get up slightly earlier to get organized but the time you save on commuting is negligible if you’re traveling under 5 miles.
- You’ll be saving time by exercising while you bike to work.
- You’ll get a lot more energy by biking to work then you would sleeping in a few minutes longer.
Ride when weather permits. There’s no need to make this difficult. Rain and nasty weather make bike commuting a lot more complicated.
There are some fantastic bike groups and clubs that can help make this a snap. They have classes on bike safety, can suggest the best bike routes in your neighborhood and offer lots of great information on bike culture and what gear you need for the utmost safety and legality. Make sure you have the proper safety gear and lights to make you as visible to traffic as possible.
Check out these online resources:
San Francisco Bike Coalition
You Can Bike There
Birdy customers speak about some tips and products to help your bike commuting work.
To help you keep fresh after a bike ride you need some crucial types of products to help you make this easy and doable.
- All bikers should apply deodorant before and after a ride.
What Karissa S. does:
What David P. does:
Additional items David has on hand
I realize that biking to work may not be ideal in every case and situation but if you can make this work the benefits far outweigh the difficulties.
And since it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, always follow your mom’s advice and “Wear a helmet, dammit.” 🙂