Confession: I cheat.
Ok, I admit it. I’m a bike commuter fraud. Yes, I do ride 26 miles most weekdays. But let me get something out in the open. I have a huge advantage over most people who bike to work. I’m a slob.
It’s not that I’m really a slob, I just have a loose work dress code. When you’re a grad student working in a lab with one other person in a basement of a building that’s removed from the majority of labs (yeah bed bugs!), the dress code can be pretty lax (i.e. nonexistent). In the winter, it’s jeans and a t-shirt. In the summer, it’s shorts and a t-shirt. Sneakers are all season.
I think that a sizable bike commute obstacle people worry about overcoming is workplace appearance. Take Mrs. Bicyclebug for example, who just began bike commuting. After her first week, she purchased some extra cosmetics to keep at work and a travel steamer to ensure her packed work clothes end up crisp. Me? I’ve only recently thrown a 25 cent barber shop comb into my bag – still unused!
The other night chatting with friends over drinks, bike commuting came up. They’ve dabbled in commuting but were in awe of my persistent and long rides. My chest puffed. My ego grew. My awesomeness awesomed. Then they asked if I kept spare suits at work? Did my office have showers? No and no. Well what do you do when you arrive at work all sweaty? I um..not really an issue, I guess. Exchanging glances, they were now skeptical. You are so busted, their expressions told me. About to be exposed for the fraud I am, I quickly changed the conversation, so, how about that local sports team?
The reason I end up feeling like a cheat (vs. fortunate) is that I omit what is a very important part of a bike commute for my suit-wearing counterparts (I mean you haven’t officially finished the 96-er if you don’t eat the gristle and fat, right?). After having a bike to ride, figuring out how to look like you didn’t just bike to work is the next most important thing to figure out.
But then again, am I really cheating the system? After all, I get just as sweaty as everyone else. The only difference being that I keep myself immersed in the joy of bike commuting – the damp, sticky, smelly joy of bike commuting all. day. long.
On second thought, maybe a spare t-shirt is in order…