Incorporating Biking into Real Life

Post by Ben

So for the past few months I’ve been trying to incorporate biking into my transportation routine.  As another Canadian winter sets in, however, it’s unlikely that I’ll be doing too much of it.  I like the warmth fellow TTC riders provide during the long, dark winter.

However, the cooler fall made it much easier for me to bike compared to summer.  My commute hasn’t been especially long (6 km or so, mostly downhill on the way to work), but once the temperature starts creeping up over 25 C I arrive at work a hot, sweaty mess.

As biking has become more popular as a form of commuting, though, there has a been shift towards ditching the usual perception of bikers as spandex wearing geeks.  A recent NYT article even makes it look sexy (thanks to Rebuilding Place for the link).  There are certain things that a workplace needs to make arriving in style a reality, though.

  • A change room – Ideally a locker-room style space with running water.  In the hottest months it’s just not possible to ride in your work clothes.  Right now I have to change in a storage space across from my cubicle.  I lock it by propping a wooden shelf against the door.  This is not ideal.
  • Bike parking – The Conde Nast bike parking area in the NYT article has cultivated serious envy in me.  I mean, look at that place.  Clean, indoors, lots of space to maneuver.  At least I have a bike rack that’s under an overhang.  Better than a tree or a gas meter, I guess.  There is an underground lot at my work that would likely have space for bikes.  However, I doubt the property company would want to sacrifice their $40/day (cost for two spots) to something as useless as bike parking.  The City of Toronto recently opened a bike parking area at Union Station, but that doesn’t really help me.

  • Incentives for active transportation – Right now if I have to travel for work-related meetings I have four options: Walk, TTC, cab or bike.  If I walk, bike or use transit, I’m out of luck.  If I take a c ab it is covered.  If I had a car, the mileage would be covered, as well.  I’m not saying I want to get paid to ride my bike, but it seems like there could be some sort of reward for making the smarter choice.  You know, like an embarrassing picture of me in our monthly newsletter all disheveled from a ride in.  Anything, really.

Shortly after my arrival in my current job I submitted a proposal to convert an unused janitors space into a changing facility.  One year later it is apparently under review.  Maybe by the time it gets approved I’ll be driving my Rascal to work.

One addition to my biking arsenal has been a bike rack garment bag.  My wife gave it to me as a birthday present and it works pretty well.  There are few options out there for this sort of thing, and the Two Wheel Gear bag seems like a decent choice.  My work clothes arrive slightly more wrinkled than I’d like, but better than drenched in sweat.

Beyond biking for my commute, I’d eventually like to arrive at a point where I could show up at a bar without looking like a fool.  We’ll see how that goes, I don’t know if I’ll ever reach this point.

Anyone out there have any tips on cycling in style?


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4 responses to “Incorporating Biking into Real Life”

  1. Lachlan says :

    Biking to the bar sounds great and all, but chicks kind of lose their wantonness when you have to double them home on your handle bars. You may need to rethink your exit strategy.

  2. Ben says :

    Double them home? In my experience women find me so irresistible that I can’t even get out of the bar.

  3. Lachlan says :

    Those are queens, Ben.

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