I’m a huge fan of cycling to work. A couple of miles here and there adds up over the years, gives you a clear mind before a busy day and can help you wind down after a stressful day in the office. If you haven’t already been converted yourself into the wonders of riding your bike to work, here are my top 10 tips for cycle commuting as a woman.
Get your cycling gear (and work clothes) out the night before
Organising your cycling clothes and work clothes the night before can really help you to stay motivated and follow through with your intention to ride to work.
It can also avoid potentially embarrassing situations where you have no underwear or left your work clothes on your bed at home and end up sitting in your workout gear all day. Yes this has happened to me!
Prepare your lunch and snacks the night before
Especially during the darker, colder months getting your lunch ready the night before gives you that extra snooze time that most people want. If it’s ready to go you’ll have less excuse to not get up and ride. Leftover dinners from the night before are great for this.
Panniers and a waterproof bag
I honestly don’t know how I managed to ride the streets of London for a year without getting some panniers! Wearing a backpack can hurt your back and make you a bit sweaty, so now I always use a pannier bag when riding on my Liv commuter bike.
Pannier bags quickly clicking into place on the racks of your bike (if you have pannier racks that is!). They are great for shopping and can hold a huge amount of stuff including laptops, textbooks, clothes. Waterproof bags are especially helpful if it rains a lot where you live!
Eat breakfast at work
Keeping a box of cereal or breakfast bars and fruit in your locker/drawer at work helps you on days when you forget to pack food are running late or don’t feel like eating early in the morning. Chances are, after a bike ride you’ll be feeling a bit hungry. Keeping a stash at work helps keep you prepared and avoid running late or skipping breakfast.
Wash kit and make up set
Dry shampoo is a must for fresh looking hair. Personally I’ve found that keeping a second set of make up (and deodorant) at work saves transporting it backwards and forwards (less weight to carry too) and avoids situations where you need to go barefaced for the day.
If you are one of the lucky ones with a shower available at your office, having shampoo, shower gel etc there ready to go helps you look and feel your best. Just don’t forget your towel (yes I have done this and had to resort to using toilet paper to to dry off!). Microfibre towels used for travel or sport are great as they dry quickly. No shower? Baby wipes are a good alternative.
A legal requirement for night time riding in some countries, lights are so important to see and be seen. Don’t be that invisible bike rider wearing black without lights narrowly missed by cars at night. Personally I love the rechargeable ones which charge quickly in a USB on your computer or phone charger and don’t need batteries.
Not the most fashionable of items, reflective gear is important to stay visible and avoid being accidentally hit. Whether it’s a high vis jacket, backpack or belt, there are lots of different options out there to choose from.
Particularly important in wetter countries like the UK, having waterproof clothing like jackets, pants and shoes keeps you warm, dry and avoids you having to go home in cold damp clothes later that day. I wouldn’t recommend the latter option.
Keep shoes under your desk
Shoes are bulky things which can take up precious space in your backpack or panniers. Having a pair or two at work keeps the load lighter. I typically would keep a pair of black or brown heels and some walking shoes (for lunchtime walks) under mine.
Helmets may not always be the most stylish of accessories, but when it comes to safety they are a no brainer. Perhaps not so essential in really cycle friendly countries with more bikes than cars, in most countries cars outnumber bikes in a big way. Your brains are important so keep them protected.
Do you cycle to work?