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Seeking Biking Advice

Saturday, June 01, 2013

My job is a total of 3 miles from my house. Occasionally I have to carry things, but usually its just me an my lunch. I would really like to start biking. Does any Sparkers have advice on this: particularly not arriving at work as a sweaty mess? Do you bring clothes and change or just try to take it easy. Where do you park? How do you broach the topic with your boss, do I even need to?

Thanks Biking Sparkers!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REIKKA 6/13/2013 1:44AM

    Go for it! I bike twice as much every day. There's no shower, unfortunately. The previous European country I lived in had it in the law to provide a shower for the workers, but there's no such law here in Germany. So I just clean up a bit in a restroom and add deodorant.

Commuting by bike is an excellent stress management tool.



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HILLSLUG98239 6/7/2013 9:54AM

    I commute by bike most days. I wear biking gear on the bike because I wear suits in the office. My ride is about 9 miles. While I do sweat (even when it's in the 20s), it's less of an issue than people think. I keep a microfiber towel at work to wipe off my sweaty spots .My hair is fine, so it dries very quickly. Fresh sweat normally doesn't stink, so I don't stink.

If you're concerned about stinking, consider using baby wipes to clean up when you get to work.

I'm lucky to have a good work situation. I have my own office, so I store my bike in my office. (It can be a conversation starter!) I'm required to have a car at work, so I ride in on Monday with suits & lunches for the week, and then leave my car there all week. (It's a 1998 Ford Escort. I'm not terribly concerned about it being stolen.) You may not be so lucky, but if you tweak a few things you'll probably find you can ride to work.

I always tell people to try it once or twice: they may be surprised at how easy it is. Even if you only ride once a week, you cut your commuting costs by 20%.

Ask around - there may be others at your workplace who commute by bike. They can give you advice about routes & pitfalls. Also, see if your employer has a commute trip reduction plan. I work for a rural county that doesn't care about pollution, parking, or traffic issues, so no CTR. But when I worked for the State, it paid me $20 a month if I used an alternative to a single-occupancy motor vehicle eight times a month.

Good luck!

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MISSG180 6/5/2013 10:42PM

    I regularly bike 10 miles to court. I clean up in the bathroom and go.

3 miles is not far. Start slow, and give yourself plenty of time. You can do this!

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DOGLADY13 6/4/2013 10:45PM

    Hubster had a job that he biked 9 miles to. He brought clothes with him and did a quick freshening up with a wash cloth and small hand towel. Work out sweat is "cleaner" than the nervous sweat the builds up during the work day.

With only a 3 mile ride, you can probably get away with a package of baby wipes at work and a clean shirt.

Really, think about how sweaty you get going outside during recess or if you ran an errand during the day. You'd just let the sweat cool you off and move on with the day, right?

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BECKYANNE1 6/2/2013 8:45AM

    DH bikes to work and he usually takes a change of clothes. Being only 3 miles shouldn't be that big of an issue unless where you live it is extremely hot. Here in MN, biking is big and many people ride their bikes to work. Like someone else said, give it a
try, maybe on the weekend or something and see how it goes and remember to WEAR A HELMET!

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KRISZTA11 6/2/2013 6:14AM

    Biking to work is so much better than driving!
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The only time I used to bike to work was during summer at my 5th year of university.
I don't bike that much since, but I would like to point out that biking is much "cooler" than running: a warm weather that would make you sweat profusely running, will not do the same when you are biking.
In my city many people go to work biking, in casual wear business attire, and don't need a shower after that.
3 miles is not too much for a bike ride, you may be able to do that without needing to change at all.

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FITFOODIE806 6/2/2013 6:10AM

    DH bikes to work everyday. He loves it because anything that is stressful is wiped away by the time he gets home. Gotta love endorphins!
I'd do a practice ride. Medium effort and see how you feel when you get there. I'd think a change of shirt & bra would be enough after 3 miles.
I'd get a pannier. Backpacks make me warmer. Have fun!!

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HORSESX4 6/2/2013 3:27AM

    Good luck...sounds like it should be fun...

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ROXYZMOM 6/1/2013 9:36PM

    Link with SpeedyDog. He is the expert

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LUVS2BIKE101 6/1/2013 9:04PM

    If parking bike outdoors, be sure to chain lock both wheels as well as frame to a secured post/rack/tree. My husband secured front wheel and frame to a fence but not the rear wheel. We left it unattended for 10 minutes and came back to find rear wheel missing. Be sure to have your front and rear lights illuminated (strobe if possible), even in daytime. And, wear bright orange vest or some neon colors to be noticeable. Dismount at each intersection. Can you tell safety is tops on my list????
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KATRINAKAT23 6/1/2013 8:24PM

  I just bought a bike last Saturday. I haven't used it yet because it has been rainy and very windy. I too am going to start riding my bike to work. Good luck and I hope you enjoy your bike riding.

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JPONCIN 6/1/2013 8:16PM

    You totally can ride 3 miles to work. Good for you! I'm going to be doing it in the fall too, at the school I'll be student teaching at. I'm going to make a math lesson plan out of it too...how much will the teacher save in gas per day if she rides her bike to school? How much carbon? It's going to be fun. :)

There are all kinds of pannier bags you can put on your bike that you can carry stuff in. I don't have one, but I've seen my friends' bags and they are nice, and it's easy to take them off when you get there. I usually just bring all my stuff in a backpack.

You should be able to freshen yourself up and change your clothes when you get there. If you're working in a school, you shouldn't have any problem locking your bike up on a bike rack.

I do have a friend who has a super awesome bike with a ton of stuff on it, and she has had some problems with people trying to steal it...so definitely don't have too flashy of a bike! My commuter bike is very plain Jane, and no one looks twice at it...and I go to a university with 20,000+ kids there.

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ONEKIDSMOM 6/1/2013 7:58PM

    Some of this depends on climate, schedule and how supportive your town / employer are. I live 6.5 - 7.2 miles from work (depending on route) and when I bike commute it's usually Summer. So I leave plenty early both because it's cooler then and to allow time to wash up and change in the ladies' before starting my work day. Some folks have shower facilities at work, but I don't. I'm lucky (if you can call it that) to be post-menopause and don't have a huge perspiration / odor issue.

I usually take easily roll-up/foldable comfy clothing to change into for work... and wear my biking shorts and sporty bra, shoes etc. for my ride. Store work shoes in your desk if you have to.

Give it a try. It might just work. 3 miles is a nice bike commute. Didn't we do this as kids going to school? emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/1/2013 7:59:06 PM

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LESLIELENORE 6/1/2013 7:33PM

    I hope you get some good advice! I would think it would be very doable. Way to go!

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JANELMARIESTAR 6/1/2013 7:31PM

    I am not a biker yet! Because I am too big but I just want to say emoticon emoticon emoticon

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