I’ve been biking to work since 2008. This was mainly due to necessity- there was no where to park in Cambridge and the T was super overcrowded, and because I only had to bike about 1.5 miles. I kept this up at my next job, biking a whopping 1.2 miles each way. I never even brought a change of clothes because I didn’t get sweaty, and I often wore a skirt. I also rode through the Boston Common for most of it on a sidewalk, and practiced my serious face whenever I ended up next to a ‘real biker’. Not really a commuter biking phenom.
That all changed this week when I started my new job in SF and really biked to work. I love my pink bike and I was ready to put it to the test. It’s 6 miles (EACH WAY!) to work, so it took some preparation and a bit more willpower than I thought it would, given the SF hills. I wore my work pants because they’re pretty durable and my Tom’s shoes because they’re much lighter than my running shoes and work just as well. Of course I had my Giro helmet on, my front light and a rear light, and an ankle reflector. Gloves for me are also a must. My backpack also has reflectors on it, which I’d recommend. I threw my work shoes in my backpack (but then left them at work so I don’t have to carry again), brought a shirt and sweater in my bag, and wore a dry-fit workout top under my jacket. I was lucky in that I didn’t get too sweaty since it’s cooler in the mornings, but I’ve ordered some biodegradable body wipes to handle that issue when it arrises. Luckily my office is pretty low key so I can wear jeans & two others bike to work. I also started using a cool cycling app (Strava), to track how fast I’m going, how far I make it, my top speeds, etc.
The days of blow drying my hair and putting on a business suit each morning seem like a far away world. I’m much happier getting to rock out in sneakers and feel pretty kick-ass when I’m on my bike. It’s a bit of a rush to be flying down Polk Street and I get a little buzz thinking ‘holy shit I’m actually doing this.’ It’s a bit of a ‘I am woman hear me roar’ moment. It’s also a nice way to start the morning. I’m SUCH a last minute person, but now I can’t really be. It helps me wake up and I get a good think in on the way to work. The only bummer news is that I’m currently getting passed by the ‘real’ SF bikers, but every day I go a little faster and a few less people fly by. It’s also going to rain next week so I’ll have to tackle that for the first time. That update to come but I do know that fenders & serious rain gear are a must! I promise if I can do this, you can do this. Start small, get yourself a bike and start with a mile. Start in a park or on a less busy street and work your way up to biking to work. I know you won’t be disappointed.