Today in our town, as well as many others throughout the country, it’s Bike to Work (or School) Day! It’s an exciting day full of promoting alternative transportation and getting people out of their cars. I know a lot of people don’t have the luxury of biking to work, and I really feel for the people who have those horrible hour-long rush hour traffic commutes. My parents used to have an epic hour and a half commute to work, inching along the freeway during rush hour, so my heart goes out to you guys. It sucks.
Fortunately, though, a lot of live in places where we can bike to work. Or bus to work. Or even walk to work, if you’re super super lucky (I’m super lucky). I think biking to work can intimidate a lot of people, but trust me–it’s great. You get some endorphins going, you have a ton of energy to start your day with, and people avoid giving you work because you’re too smelly to approach!*
The trick to biking to work, besides feeling comfortable and confident on a bike, is your clothing. I’ve already talked about the miracle that is biking in wedges, but honestly guys, I’ve amazed myself at some of the things I’ve worn while straddling my bike. So I’ve thought about it, and there are really five points I think are worth considering when getting dressed, if you know you’re biking.
Wear a helmet. I’m not even joking–some other blogger had a post about bike polo and she made some cute comment about how it’s not your typical fashion-blogger-on-a-bike post because all the girls you see in her post are wearing helmets. Helmets are really important. Like, super important. So don’t skip it. Your brain is really important, and you should treat it as such.
I’ve heard of people protesting the helmet thing because of silly things like ruining your hair, and Modcloth did a really cute series about helmet-friendly hairstyles. Personally, I asked my stylist when I got my hair cut about a product I could put in it that would ruin my hair when I get a little sweaty, and she gave me some crazy weird, semi-expensive water-reactive product. Meaning, I style my hair in the morning after my shower, I put on my helmet, I get to work and if my hair is a little sweaty, I restyle and fix it right then and there. If, the more likely option, my hair is not sweaty, because my bike commute takes two seconds and is entirely downhill, I rinse my hands in the sink and fix my hair that way.
As for your top, I’d suggest pretty much anything that has a tank underneath it, to keep any potential sweat stains from cropping up on your look. Looser, breathable fabrics are ideal. If you’re wearing something in layers, like a vest, I usually take the vest off and throw it in my purse before starting a longer trek. I also love heavier structured jackets for biking, because they make me feel safer.
The denim jacket (because I definitely was not kidding about the blogging world making me jones for one) is a perfect safety addition. It’s structured and heavy to keep my arms from being skinned if I fall, and it’s not so heavy that I’m drenched in a puddle of gross sweat by the end of my ride.
Use a bag or purse with an over the shoulder, messenger-style strap. Unless you have a basket on the back of your bike, in which case I’m super jealous. My old bike has a basket, a cheap-o white crate from Target, and it was seriously one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. A total lifesaver for longer trips, grocery store runs, or anytime you don’t want a bag to make your back super sweaty!
I’m definitely a girl who will bike in dresses and skirts, as long as they’re the right kind.What’ the right kind, you ask? Anything that doesn’t flash the cars. Oh, did you need me to be more specific? It’s usually a knee length a-line skirt that isn’t going to crawl up your legs as you peddle, like a tighter pencil skirt might. If it’s too flowy, you run the risk of it billowing out in a majestic, panty-revealing cloud which is also no good. I’ve biked in the flowier stuff, though, and you can just tuck up the excess skirt to keep from flashing. I’ve found it works pretty well.
For today, though, I totally took it easy and wore pants. Skinny jeans! I added a belt, though, as a safety precaution to keep from plumber-crack-flashing the cars behind me. I’m sure they’re grateful. Also, don’t be afraid of color! We all know color is super “in” right now (um when is it not?) but it’s a great safety measure. Make sure you’re wearing things that drivers can easily see. At night, this might include dork-tastic reflector bands on your ankles and across your back. Trust me, when you continue living after each bike ride, you’ll find it worthwhile.
I might talk it up about biking to work in platform wedges, and that’s all good and fine, but when you know you’re biking a lot (which I was on this day–I had about an hour total on my bike, full of hills), wear appropriate shoes. I opted for my trusty Birkenstocks, but Toms work wonders and pretty much any shoe you can wear socks with. Even ballet flats are fine, as long as you have those mini, invisible socks on. Looking fashionable is all good and well, yes, but take care of your body. A little dose of sensible never killed anyone!
Have fun and stay safe out there! Did I forget any important tips? Definitely let me know in the comments! Also, should you feel so inclined, I wrote a ton more about the other aspects of bike safety over on my other blog.
*Okay maybe that one isn’t so much a positive, but just remember to wear deodorant. Or leave some at your desk. Or in your purse. Or briefcase.