May 14, 2012


May 14, 2012

Comments (23)

Comment Feed

You call this cold???

Great article. I wish you happy and safe cycling.
I've been biking to work for about 8 years now, 14.5 mile round trip. I don’t know how cold it gets in Vancouver but here in New England I have ridden through weeks of temperatures in the single digits and teens, thanks to electric glove liners. Those stuffed into Pearl Izumi Lobster Claws have made a HUGE difference in my life. That and stuffing the inside edges of my balaclava into ski goggles when it’s 20°F or less. Oh yes & I bought a second bike & installed studded snow tires. Good on icy streets.
From your article it is clear that some aspects of this are more problematic for women. I don't have makeup to worry about, and a little helmet or balaclava hair is easily fixed. I am also now blessed with a private office so no more sponge bathing in the men’s room. Some have mentioned baby wipes: I use Wet Ones “Big Ones”: They are adult size & unscented.
I second what others have said about the helmet. This past summer I took a spill that only cost me 6 stitches, road rash, & 3 days out of work (every cloud has a silver lining, OSTS!). I was doing 20+ when I spilled & without the helmet I could have been dead or perhaps something even worse than that! I use turtle lights in front but only for flashers: For actual light I use a NiteRider 350. Recently I festooned both my bikes yellow reflective stickers. I think drivers can actually see me better a night as I look like a Christmas tree going down the road!

plh 30 days ago

Bike commute

Wear what you want - lid or not, tights or not, (just back off when someone chooses differently). Experiment. I added a down vest as I have a cold downhill in the morning, but rarely wear it for the climb later on. For winter drop your pressure a bit or, better yet, get a fat bike.

Chris 168 days ago

bike commuting in florida

a helmet isn't an option it is a necessity. on my bike commute of 4 miles each way, i've been tapped by a car, been pushed by pedestrians and hi8t oil slicks. each time went down, each time ended up with a cracked helmet. better the helmet than my head!. do not buy cheap lights. you have to be visible at dawn and dusk and you have to be able to see the road ahead. bikeray makes a great inexpensive rechargeable headlight [about $80 us] and a flashing red can be about $15 US. i had cheap lights. they wore out after a few weeks and cost a fortune in batteries and they didn't work.i keep suits, tops, undergarments and shoes at work, have my own office and change there. my BF works for a major corporation, he keeps shoes and jacket in the break room, carries his shirt, pants, tie in a small flat case strapped to his pannier support. i never get flats, he gets them 2x a week, he rides past lots of construction. bike commuting is worth the effort, great transition from work to self. LOVE IT, wish mine was longer.

robyn more than 1 year ago

And as fall approaches, reflect reflect reflect

I've been riding to work 2 or 3 days per week and haven't had a flat yet; I got Continental bike tires with a kevlar liner and a SUPER feature, reflective sidewalls. As summer ends and the nights arrive sooner, all the visibility we can muster is important.

Kimmi more than 1 year ago

And as fall approaches, reflect reflect reflect

I've been riding to work 2 or 3 days per week and haven't had a flat yet; I got Continental bike tires with a kevlar liner and a SUPER feature, reflective sidewalls. As summer ends and the nights arrive sooner, all the visibility we can muster is important.

Kimmi more than 1 year ago

Prevent Flats

You can prevent a lot of flats by making sure your tires are pumped to the maximum PSI. I've riddedn almost 9000km on two different sets of tires and my only flat was when the tread was worn out because I didn't replace them soon enough.

mike more than 1 year ago

No Flat Tires

As stated, you shouldn't be getting flats with proper tires.

1. Anti-flat technology to resist punctures (some brands work better than others).
2. Low tpi (threads per inch) means a stiffer tire that will resist pinch flats when you have low tire pressure.

I highly recommend Michelin tires with "Protek" (purchase online). They have great traction and they actually eject shards of glass, or whatever, so you don't need to pick them out later.

I've also had good luck with Bontrager "Hard Case" (at your local Trek store).

The only flat I've gotten in years of daily commuting was a nail. Ride on!

James Bikes Green more than 1 year ago

how to avoid flats

After getting flats nearly every week decided to try puncture resistant tyres, a bit more expensive than regular ones but have puncture-proof material in the layers of rubber. No flats in over a year of daily commuting, so well worth the money for peace of mind. A few companies including specialized make them.

Paul more than 1 year ago

if you get a flat

Nice post!
Just a small comment on one part: In my city, "call a van taxi" isn't really an option (they're too rare and would take too long). But the other alternative is to just lock your bike up where ever you get the flat or other trouble, jump a bus or (regular) taxi to work, and come back for your bike later. That gives you hours to arrange for a van-taxi for the evening. Plus it's always reassuring to know that's an option, no matter what happens.

Happy cycling!

Barn Stormin' Jenny more than 1 year ago

When no Shower is Available

If you'd like to really freshen up after your ride in to work, try Action Wipes ( 100% natural body wipes for when you can't shower.

martha van inwegen more than 1 year ago

Excellent Wake Up

I am by no means a morning person, but by the time I get to work I am fully awake and ready to go thanks to my daily bike ride to the train station. The physical activity helps get my blood pumping and the cool morning air really wakes me up. I just wish the pollen weren't so bad this season.

Miguel@GJEL more than 1 year ago

Bus + bike commute

I work in downtown Cincinnati and I ride the bus to work with my bike on the front bike rack of bus. Then I ride my bike back to where my car is parked (13 miles) I bring a change of clothes for ride home. I leave a pair of dress shoes in office. I collect all my work clothes once a week when I drive.

Tim Jones more than 1 year ago

Bike to work

Biking to work is exercise. No matter if work is one or ten miles away from home; you still get your daily dose of exercise. And its fun and informative (you get to see things normally you don't). Dressing accordingly, planning is also fun - plus challenging: on your toes, alert as to what is best, more convenient. The helmet issue is debateble. I for one, don't agree helmets should be compulsory. If, however, you happen to be insured, ALWAYS WEAR an helmet.

Jaume Saladrigas Cussons more than 1 year ago

It's easier than you think

I bike to work at least twice a week. It's a refreshing start to my morning and allows me to start my day with more energy. I was amazed at how easy it was once I started. It does require a little more planning, but it's extremely rewarding and fun. What I really love most about biking to work, other than the exercise and fresh air, is that I get to see the city in a whole different way. There are streets and buildings I never quite noticed before. Commuting by bike allows me time to appreciate all the city has to offer. Rather than just "passing through," I'm now a leaving, breathing part of the urban experience. Sounds good, right?

Brian more than 1 year ago

my 'commute'

I'm a real estate broker (rentals) in Brooklyn NY and get around to all my appointments by bike because a: it's the fastest way, b: I stay connected above ground (vs. subway), and c: keeps me fit. I have the bonus of always having keys to vacant apartments, so I can always clean up if I get there early. In the summer I arrive 15 minutes early everywhere.

I have a mountain bike with slicks + fenders with a rack and cargo net (I LOVE the cargo net), and wear Craft base layers (perfect for keeping my button-down shirts sweatless). I use Pinhead locks and 1 full strength Kryptonite Ulock, and after 2.5 years nobody's stolen anything - knock on wood. I use a handlebar mounted Knog bag; I hate the way paniers make the rear feel leaden; up front I don't feel the weight at all and the suspension fork takes the brunt off potholes.

I also advise: wear a helmet, always. I also always wear at least fingerless gloves now, because something got caught in my front spokes a year ago, sending me over the handlebars. I cracked my helmet but only got 7 stitches on my eyebrow and a huge gash in my hand (hence the gloves now!). If I didn't have a helmet I might have suffered way worse; I was only going maybe 15mph, so please - wear a helmet folks. You never know, and you only get one brain in life.

Aside from that, enjoy it out there! Be patient, always be conscious of whether drivers can see and predict your movements, and watch out for cars making unsignaled rights and you'll be fine!

liam more than 1 year ago

Wear a helmet!

Essential: a bike helmet "if local laws require"? No, no, no. A bike helmet. Period.

jan more than 1 year ago

bike to work

My commute is 3.5 miles each way, even with bike racks outside mi building i still carry my bike into the building because it's too expensive to be kept outside and i had 1 stole 4 years ago.
I have cleaned and empty a drawer on my desk and i have extra clothes most of my shirts are black fruit of the loom t shirts and i can wear jeans at work. I keep 2 boxes of baby wipes, carry 1 bike rack with 2 waterproof panniers and a rack bag, I also attached a handlebar bag and a combination lock since sometimes all i need fits there.
we have no showers and no lockers. bathroom is big enough to change clothes.
For lights i recommend LED lights I use Duracell AAA 20 Min rechargeable batteries and charge them every weekend. one tail red light that i recharge batteries every month and. I use cargo shorts and a Black t shirt to ride since sweat is less noticeable on black colors... and then i just pull another black shirt and get my jeans from my panniers. Drinking cold water while riding and when you get there helps a lot cooling down and stop sweating ASAP. also got a mini fan for my desk for $10 at Target and i blow it on my face as soon as i arrive. I was using a mountain bike but i found out i was pedaling more and getting nowhere so i decided to buy a 29er Bike, Please check them out they are fast and strong. for long rides in the Vineyards I use my road bike for 20+ ride miles.

Mimo more than 1 year ago

Long Commutes

I ride from Gainesville to a small town (pop. ~3700) called Newberry. There is no public pool or gym or anything like that unfortunately. I do have a travel size bathroom bag I keep at work to freshen up a bit but that's all. I would love to add a bit more comfort to my commute and sell my truck to go down to a one vehicle family. I guess I am going to have to start getting creative...

David more than 1 year ago

Lights and Showers

I second Stephen's critic, that Turtle Lights are not bright enough, especially on a dark side streets. I work freelance, and don't have the luxury of knowing if the place I will be working at for a day to a couple of weeks has showering facilities, so, I carry lots of deodorant. The unscented baby wipes also are a helpful tip that I also use.

Joey more than 1 year ago

Long commutes and lights

Look for a gym or pool nearby if there's no shower at work, they might rent lockers or consider adding racks for panniers so you can carry clothes each day. I'm not a fan of turtle lights, not bright enough, difficult to change batteries, can't use rechargeables.

Stephen more than 1 year ago

Long Commutes

This is a great article, but what about those of us with long commutes. I ride 2-3 days per week to work and it is 12 miles each way. I do keep a pouch of baby wipes with me but on really hot days, it's just not enough. I love the commute, though, through rolling countryside just outside of Gainesville, FL but as the summer is rapidly approaching, what can I do to arrive in good shape. My employer is small and has no interest in installing a locker area, showers, etc. because I am the ONLY person who bikes to work. I would love to ride 5 days per week but I have no place to store extra clothes and food at work. Any suggestions would be appreciated greatly!

David more than 1 year ago

baby wipes!

Carry a pack of unscented baby wipes with you. I've found that if I just let myself cool down and stop sweating once I get to work I can use the wipes to clean myself up and make sure I'm not smelly.

Brian more than 1 year ago


Almost all rainy weather can be handled by installing fenders on the bike--the biggest problem with wet weather is not what falls down on you, but what sprays up from the road.

Michael Wise more than 1 year ago

Subscribe and Win a 2014 Opus Classico 1.0
Newsletter 2014 (RIGHT)
Contests Blog