I'm not that hard core.
The Bozeman Bicycle Advisory Board sponsors Bike Week every May, in which they arrange for a number of local coffee houses, restaurants and other merchants to offer prizes to people who stop by their shop while riding their bike to work.. You take your helmet in, get a sticker and a free coffee or something.
I've mentioned before why I occasionally ride my bike to work. I'm not as committed as some people. But this week I pedaled my way to work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, despite a forecast for rain. Since my husband and I work together, I can always throw my bike in the back of his truck and catch a ride home at 5pm if it's raining. My real motivation for biking to work this week has been to be able to go for bike rides for exercise. It's so much more fun than running or going to the gym to ellipticize.
I've learned a few things this week while riding to work:
- I'd need to have a stash of important things at work. Specifically, coffee, creamer and sugars. It's not easy to ride with a coffee mug, and I can't afford in cash or calories to go buy coffee downtown.
- Even if it looks cold out, wearing a jacket is usually too much. Even at 35 degrees. My hands get cold, but pedaling the bike keeps my core temperature up. It's weird to arrive at work both sweaty and cold.
- Along those lines, a toiletries kit with deodorant, makeup and other touch up necessities would probably be a good idea for keeping me looking professional.
- It is possible to ride your bike in a skirt. I did so on Tuesday in my Mountain Hardwear skirt and on Wednesday in a Banana Republic dress with a really full skirt. It seems the key to not flashing everyone is a full or A-line skirt. No mini's (obviously, since I'm headed to work) or tighter pencil skirts.
- It takes a while to break in your "saddle" after a long winter of other activities. Ouch.
- Knowledge of safe bike routes is key. No need to put yourself, and uncertain vehicle drivers in danger. You can use the City of Bozeman's interactive GIS map to find bike routes.
- A good commuting bag is a must. It's impossible to ride a bike with a purse, and really, I'd make fun of you for it. I have a North Face hip pack with a cross-body strap, which was a gift from my dad 10 years ago. It's fine, although maybe not big enough. I like that it clips around my waist since it keeps the bag from sliding around on my body. And I'm to cheap to buy a new one.
- Pack light. Duh. Specifically, taking leftovers stored in a heavy glass container for lunch is probably not in your best interests. Not the end of the world, but no need to haul around extra weight.
- Have a bigger wallet; one that could double as a clutch purse if necessary.
- Give yourself extra time. I'm usually a go-go-go-go-GO bike rider. Why go slow? But when you're wearing work clothes and don't want to arrive to work drenched, it's sometimes necessary to gear down and ride at a more leisurely pace.
Will I bike to work every day this summer? Probably not. This week just happened to coincide with nice weather and a lack of evening meetings, meaning I could ride home with DJ if the weather changed. It's kind of fun though, and a nice to get outside in the sunshine every day.