Should I Ride My Bike To Work?

I’m fortunate enough to live about two and a half miles from work.  This is great in that my gas costs are significantly lower than they would be if I had a longer commute.  I once had a job that was sixty five miles each way.  Needless to say, the gas costs were through the roof, and gas was less than three bucks a gallon.

Still, I’ve often considered the idea of riding my bike to work once the spring time weather hits in a few weeks.

Since we moved in, riding my bike hasn’t been an option I’ve been comfortable with for the simple fact of the freeway that lies between my house and where I work.  There is an overpass to the freeway that I would have to cross, and the problem was that there was no bike lane or barrier from the road.  While many brave people on bikes did go over the road, I had no such will to ever do such a thing.

Last year, though, they completely re-built the overpass as part of a road widening project.  In doing so, they added a dedicated bike lane that’s separated by a fence and concrete barrier from the traffic lanes.

This means that I could now potentially ride my bike to work.

I would definitely consider it, but I’m curious if anybody else out there has ever undertaken a bike ride to work.

I would probably only do so on days when there was a 0% chance of rain and also when it wouldn’t be overly hot or cold.  Any days where we had something to do would be out of the question.  Still, this could further reduce my costs of gas and wear and tear on the car, as well as give me some needed exercise.  Since there are bike paths and sidewalks the entire path to and from work, there would be a safe path the entire way.

Would it be best to wear appropriate riding clothes to and from work, changing into my dress pants and polo or button-down shirt when I get there?  In that case, what’s the best way to transport those items without having them wrinkled and such?  I already have a backpack type carrying case for my laptop, so that would be pretty easy to manage.

What other things would I have to think of before considering this idea?

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32 thoughts on “Should I Ride My Bike To Work?

  1. I’ve thought about this topic many, many times. I very much want to be able to ride my bike to work to reduce gas costs and wear and tear on my car. There are also benefits like improved fitness, a greater connection with your community (you’d be surprised how much more you notice from a bike than from a car) and environmental benefits as well. Unfortunately at the moment I live 7km away from my work, which is too far to comfortably ride (it’s also extremely hilly and in a rural area with speeding cars). One of the non-negotiable terms of my future first home is that it must be within riding distance of work.

    I would wear biking specific clothing and change when you get to work, you can purchase pannier bags to store your work clothing, the bags hook directly on to your bike, they can be quite roomy and are often weather proof.

    Good luck!

    • The main stretch I’d be driving by is a bunch of industrial buildings, so it’s probably not going to be the best gauge of my community. But, you’re absolutely right, I’m sure I will learn ‘things’ that I would never otherwise learn when driving in a car should I decide to move forward.

    • I’m sure there’s a lot I haven’t thought of but if even some of the basics are covered, it’s worth a try.

  2. If I lived close enough I would ride my bike – especially in the spring and summer. Maybe even early fall. Its a great way to stay healthy and cut costs.

    • I figure it will save around $1.50 in gas, give or take $0.50, so if I can do it three times a week, that’s right around $5. That’s not going to make me rich, but an extra $5 in my wallet versus that of the gas station, is nothing to sneeze at.

  3. I’m about to start riding my bike too and my office is 7 miles away. For me, a 2.5 mile commute would be a no brainer! Fitness, both physical and financial, can be yours!

  4. My brother-in-law rides his bike to work. He lives about 4 miles from his job and doesn’t have to dress nicely, so no changing required. You could always try it one day (maybe put a change of clothes in a backpack?) and see how it works. If it doesn’t, well….at least you got a little workout that day, right?

    • I have a backpack anyways where I transport my laptop, and there’s plenty of room so I could likely transport clothes or come up with some way to have clothes on hand.

    • Good idea. I would never go on days when it’s raining or likely to rain, so hopefully that wouldn’t come into play 🙂

  5. I would love to bicycle to work. I live 7 miles from work. I would probably need a shower when I got there. That is a problem because I work in a middle school and there are no private showers. I guess my riding will remain on the weekends.

    • There’s no showers here so I would definitely have to make sure I wasn’t a sweaty mess.

  6. I used to bike 15 miles each way to work. If I only had to do 2.5 miles, I would bike kind of slowly and not break a sweat (like they do in europe). Wear normal clothes. I would put fenders on my bike and then carry a raincoat and try and bike more and more. If you are concerned about being sweaty, then leave 2-3 clean shirts in the office and change when you get there. For 2.5 miles, you could even consider walking (this is from someone who currently lives in the country and has a .5 mile driveway).

    • That’s probably what I would do. Our city is hilly but the path to and from work is actually pretty flat, so I could likely do it slowly and with less exertion for getting there. On the way home I’d probably push it but I wouldn’t mind getting sweaty then 🙂

  7. I remember someone who did this and they didn’t smell too good. Though, maybe their grooming habits were bad to begin with and this just accentuated the problem.

    Maybe bring deodorant, a comb, and sunscreen.
    Maybe a back-up plan in case you get sick at work that would make riding a bike home impossible. A plan that in case of an emergency how do you get there quickly.

    Last but not least what does Mrs. Beagle think about it?

  8. I’ve thought about doing this several times, but it’s just never worked out. I might give it a go this summer though, as my new part-time job doesn’t really have as stringent of a dress code as my previous job so I could get away without having to change most days.

    As for the clothes, you could try just folding them nicely and putting them in the backpack with your laptop. For that short of a ride, they shouldn’t develop any major wrinkles, I wouldn’t think.

  9. I read the title of this post & the song Bicycle Race by Queen popped in my head! Now, it won’t go away…

    It would certainly be nice to save money by riding a bike or even walking to work if the option were feasible. It’s just not something I could do (60 mile round trip to work each day) or would want to do during the scorching summers in Texas.

    “I want to ride my bicycle…I want to ride my bike…”

  10. Dude! 2.5 miles is nothing on a bike! I’d say if you’re serious (coming from someone who bikes to work 🙂 ) try a trip to your office on the weekend. See how long it takes you and how sweaty you get. In 2.5 miles, you shouldn’t get that icky. If you find you do get a little sweaty, bring a change of shirt, deodorant and a small hand towel to wipe down.

    I ride between 3.3 and 2 miles each way to work (depending on which school I’m at that day). Since it’s cool in the morning, I wear my usual “work clothes” though they are pretty casual. It takes me about 20-30 minutes to ride 3.3 miles (depending on if I’m going up hill or down hill). Just be aware of cars, make sure you make eye contact with drivers, and you should be just fine. Good luck and definitely update us if you decide to ride!

    • I would definitely plan a change of clothes either way. I am just unlucky enough that something would get me dirty.

  11. I live way too far from my office to bike to work, but if I was close I’d definitely do it on nice days. I’d save a bit on gas and get in better shape at the same time.

    • Agreed. Gas prices annoy me so even if it’s only saving a buck or so a day, it’s a way to at least temper some of the profits going to the oil companies.

  12. I live 4.5 miles from my office; sometimes I cycle but for me that is not very safe because I am not that good on a bike. But I do regulalrly walk or run it (usually on the way back). Probably worth doing a bike riding course or something…

    • I’ve been riding casually for years and the ride itself would be really easy (it’s all paved) so I’d be fine. I guess I could consider walking as well but I never have to date *lol*

  13. Okay, 2.5 miles is ridiculously doable. I do 6-7 miles on a single speed bike one way in my work clothes (Dress pants, dress shoes, nice polo or button down shirt).

    Here are the keys:

    1) Take a good shower in the morning, with a non-chemical laden soap.
    a) I could get into lots of chemistry reasons, but I’ll just say Dr Bronner’s Peppermint bar soap is ridiculously awesome.
    2) Use a good, neutral scented, not overly chemically deodorant.
    a) I just use Crystal deodorant
    3) Don’t hammer the route. Take it easy. Plan on arriving a few minutes early so you can cool off / un-flush your cheeks.

    These are seriously the only things you need to worry about in regards to “hygeine”. I do these to things and occasionally have had my wife “pit check” me when I get home (so that’s 12-14 miles by that time), she’s yet to say I stink (and trust me, she would, I once upgraded to Burts Bees All Natural Deodorant and after about a week my wife started complaining and asking if I was taking showers that or not … and that was a week where I wasn’t riding to work…)

    That’s really all there is to it.

    If you can’t help but hammer, invest in the following:
    3) Something to get your backpack off your back.
    a) Rack & Panniers
    b) Basket
    c) Front “Portuer” rack… I’d suggest Somafab or Velo-Orange
    4) Merino (preferred) or technical fabric (close runner up):
    a) Socks – feet will feel better and will be less prone to stink
    b) Undershirts / Polos – take your time and get these on sale. Till then, feel free to sub a light t and keep your dress shirt in your bag.
    c) Boxers / Underwear – again, look for sales. Also, at Target Champion / C9 has a boxer brief with a gusset that are very comfortable (way more comfy than tighty-whiteys) and wicking
    5) baby wipes (leave at office), give your pits and unmentionables a quick wipe and then dry with paper towels.

    Please remember, perspiration doesn’t stink. Sweat on otherwise unwashed bodies stink. Massive amounts of sweat (think gym workout), if not wiped off, stinks. Sweat when you have a really horrible diet *might* stink (some of this is genetic).

    • THanks for all the great tips. Lots to keep in mind here. I think I could avoid going too crazy. My big thing is that I feel like I’m not really accomplishing anything if I don’t work up a sweat but I know that if I get there, I will have actually accomplished something, sweat or not, so I just need to put that first in my mind. Like other’s have said, I think I’ll give it a go on a weekend and that will teach me more of what I need to do than anything else.

  14. I started riding to work last week. Here what I did and it worked out well.
    I drove to work one day and left a gym bag with extra clothes in it. Then left one day in work out clothes in my car. The next day I don’t have to carry anything with me, its all already at work. I’ll drive in when I run out of stuff and take the laundry home and bring the new stuff in. Really, you need to get everything you need away from home and now store it at work. Think about work as the “home base” and your just commuting home now. Once you get that mentality, its easy. BTW, my ride is also a lil under 3 miles.

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