With traffic patterns slowly getting worse every year and gas prices creeping upward, biking to work seems like a great alternative to driving. You can be less taxing on the environment, save money and get in shape.
Still, all these factors can fall short in the face of convenience. Instead of waking up earlier and preparing for a bike ride in a dozen ways, many of us chose to get dressed and turn the key in the ignition. Experience tells us, however, that the easiest way out isn’t always the best solution. Here are some solutions to issues that arise when biking to work.
It’s best to freeze your water or sports drinks during the day and let them thaw a bit overnight. A chilly water bottle leaving your house will taste like warm tap water 10 blocks into your ride, so keep drink super-chilly. You can put them in your office fridge to freeze over while you’re there, so you’ll have proper fuel for the ride back home.
According to consumerreports.org, cooling towels could help you along the way. Eduracool towels ($11.99-$41 on Amazon), endorsed by Dwayne Wade and Serena Williams, and competitor Chill-its towels ($10.50-$28 on Amazon) both have been proven to cool a person down during and after a workout. They just might make your rides a bit easier.
If you elect to pass on those products, one option is too freeze a slightly damp towel to wrap you head with on your ride. It will pay dividends on the way back home, when it will almost certainly be hotter than the morning.
What to Wear
Office clothing will always look like a wrinkled heap after even the shortest bike ride, so it’s best to keep professional wear at the office. Towing it on your commute isn’t a good idea, either. Save yourself some headaches and make use of local dry cleaning. Additionally, keep a few extra outfits at the job; you never know when a lunch time disaster will ruin your get-up right before a big-time meeting or an happy hour meet-and-greet.
Lock it Up
Fact: Most office buildings don’t offer bike storage, and you might not like the prospect of leaving your bike strapped to a sign only to hope it’s there when you punch out. The Bikes in Buildings program aims to make storing your bike at work easier. It allows tenants of office buildings to request bicycle access for their employees. In response to that request, a building owner must either grant access or request an exception from the New York Department of Transportation. The law only applies to buildings with a freight elevator. Likewise, it excludes buildings that aren’t primarily composed of offices.
Stay Fresh and Clean
The best solution after a ride, would be a shower at a nearby gym, but that would only make sense if you had a long ride. It’s unlikely that your job is next door to a gym, anyway. Baby wipes and wash cloths are the best bet.
Your bike route to work should be just long enough for a workout but not so long that it leaves you drenched. If the bike route is extra-long, consider driving part of the way there. Cutting the distance in half with a bus or train ride is a good option as well.