What to wear when bicycle commuting? When the weather is good, Terry Plowman can get from home to his downtown Pittsburgh job in about 45 minutes. Not by car or bus, but by bicycle. And after a quick change from his biking gear to business casual, Plowman is ready for another day of work at Verizon.
There are signs that more Americans are commuting to work on bikes, a trend fueled by environmental concerns and the rising cost of gasoline. "It's unbelievable to me the change that has gone on over the past two or three years," said Brad Quartuccio, editor of Urban Velo, a Pittsburgh-based cycling magazine.
Whether rolling along trails, designated lanes or crowded streets, for bike commuters heading to work there's the question of how to dress. Most people who bike to work don't do so every day because of weather or schedules. But when they do, it takes planning because there's usually a need to groom and change clothes when arriving at work.
Plowman, 54, takes a change of clothes with him each day. Others, like John Burgess at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, keep a mini-wardrobe at the office to avoid added weight on the bike. In nearly five years of biking to campus, the professor has discovered that it's best not to wear your work trousers on the 15-minute trip. "You'll get grease on your pants, even when you're being careful," he said. "And on a hot day, you get sweaty."
There's an added dimension for professional women, who may find it more difficult to manage a bike in a skirt or dress. Barbara Brewton of Pittsburgh wears shorts or capris and a T-shirt, and carries a change of business-casual work clothes on her bike. Kim O'Dell of Mount Lebanon, her co-worker at the Heinz Family Foundation, keeps business suits and heels at the office. ( Read more.)
Helpful article from Pennsylvania, about the techniques bicycle commuters use to meet their office apparel needs. Many bicycle commuters who must dress for business employ a variety of means. One standard approach is carrying office clothing carefully rolled in panniers or in a bicycling garment bag; perhaps with an iron at the office for quick touch-ups. Other bike commuters leave all office apparel at work, using a nearby dry cleaner as necessary. And some drive to the office on certain days, with a week's worth of clothing, and bicycle commute the other days. And a lucky few are able to make the commute in their suit or dress.
Any other suggestions for handling the office dress code as a bicycle commuter?
The best thing I've found for biking to work in a skirt (which I must do often) is a skirtguard. They are really hard to find in the US. I got mine from www.theurbanbicycle.com but if you have time on your hands you can make one yourself.