17 March 2011

Logistics of Biking to Work

At a dinner meeting of Dayton Bicycle Adventures, I asked several people if they planned on commuting to work by bicycle. —Now I didn't ask everyone there, just those sitting near.— Some replies were along the lines of "I don't have a way to freshen up after the ride."

That's often a truly fundamental issue about commuting by bicycle. If your expected commute covers more than a few miles, or if you are a cyclist who just will not take an easy ride, you'll find it important to have a shower when you clip out from your commute. Here's what you need to plan for—or at least what a guy would need to plan for. (I'm pretty much removed from knowing exactly the typical woman's needs for a refreshed feeling after a bike ride.)

Cycling clothes
You'll need three kits of cycling clothes.
  •  One kit to wear to work, wash, and let dry. 
  •  A second kit that is waiting at work, cleaned and dry, which you can wear on the ride home, to then wash and let dry. 
  • A third kit waiting at home, cleaned and dry, which then becomes "Kit One." 
The kit usually consists of these items, at least.
  • A skinsuit (or jersey and bibshorts)
  • Cycling gloves
  • Socks
One pair of shoes should be sufficient, unless you ride in the rain or on wet roads, in which case perhaps two pairs will do.

Cold weather may mean at least these additional items.
  • Two pairs of Lycra tights
  • Two pairs of quilted tights
  • Two pairs of quilted gloves
Even with the hardest ride, you'll sweat much less during the winter. So two pairs of these items are enough.

Safety gear
Make sure you have
  • Two or three helmets, enough to allow cleaning and drying between rides
  • One or two pairs of impact-resistant glasses with dark, clear, and yellow lenses
  • A bike chain or coiled cable with a lock
  • Personal identification with Medical Power of Attorney information
  • Cellphone

Repair pack
Make sure the under-saddle pack is filled with these essentials.
  • 1 tube
  • 3 tire irons
  • Patch kit
  • 2 CO2 cartridges (or a frame pump
  • Multi-size hex wrench set
  • Multi-tool.
  • $1 in change
  • $5 bill
At the workplace, you'll need these items in your shaving kit.
  • Shorts & jersey cleanser
  • Facial scrub
  • Shampoo
  • Body wash or bar of soap
  • Razor
  • Shaving cream
  • Baby oil or moisturizer
  • Towel
  • A+D cream
  • Baby powder
  • Tube of antifungal cream

Work clothes
If you don't have a locker or storage at work, you'll need to pack this minimum to go with each commute.
  • 1 pr jeans
  • 1 shirt
  • 1 pr socks
  • 1 pr shoes
  • 1 pr underwear
  • Jacket at work for lunches out with coworkers
With a locker available, you can add this clothing for the week, as desired: 1 or 2 pr jeans, 1 to 3 shirts, 2 pr socks, 4 pr underwear.

Look forward to a later note on how to prepare for actually biking the commute.

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