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Rode to work for first time...Co-workers think I'm a freak(29 posts)

Rode to work for first time...Co-workers think I'm a freakbiknben
Mar 15, 2002 12:37 PM
Started a new job a few weeks ago. The office is 14 miles from home and has a shower. Seems like the perfect bike commute. It was finally warm enough today to ride in.
I have been receiving endless comments from co-workers busting my balls all day. Everything from "You know I could get you a kickstand so you don't have to lean it up against the wall" to "hey stinky". Everyone seems to think bikes are toys for kids.

Questions for all you commuters out there: What is your routine? Do you bring clothes in the day before? A day's worth of clothes or a week's worth? Where do you put your bike during the day? Do you come in extra early to avoid people seeing you in the bike garb? Do you purchase extra clothes to leave at work?

Just wondering
re: Rode to work for first time...Co-workers think I'm a freakMiklos
Mar 15, 2002 12:50 PM
My commute is either 12 miles each way from a park-n-ride or 25 miles each way from home. I am the only one in a company of 75 people that cycles.

I either bring clothes a day ahead of time or pack them in my backpack along with my breakfast and lunch.

My bike is leaned up against my cubicle wall and my cycling clothes are also hung up along the wall with a fan to quickly dry them out for the ride home. Once they are dry, I take them down and fold them up.

I dont worry about what my co-workers think of my cycling clothes. I dont get many comments since I am the biggest, meanest, ugliest dude in the company. Hahahaha!

Enjoy your commute. I is a great way to get some mileage in. When the weather is more cooperative, I can easily work in extra mileage on the way home for a metric century or longer.

get used to it...revel in being a freak (nm)ColnagoFE
Mar 15, 2002 12:58 PM
When I used to ride to work...Pedal Jockey
Mar 15, 2002 1:02 PM
I carried one days worth of clothes in my backpack, then changed in the bathroom once I arrived at the office. My then government job did not have a shower, so I packed along a small towel, deodorant, and a brush to clean myself up at the office. I usually tried to arrive much earlier than my co-workers, so they did not have to smell me walking through the door. I kept my bike in an area where it was out of the way, but still within my sight.

As far as the heckling from your co-workers, shrug it off, and as they get to know you better over time, they will stop making the snide remarks. You can always tell yourself how much better off you are because you are in shape, unlike 95% of all donut eating office employees.

I enjoyed commuting on my bike to work, but now I work 35 miles from my house, so driving is a must. I was significantly less stressed riding to and from work than sitting in my car in traffic.

Keep it up, and you will be an even better person in the long run.

Just sit back and watch,The General
Mar 15, 2002 3:15 PM
The past two places including the current place I work people were "shell shocked" when I showed up for work the first day on my bike. I have been commuting for so long the remarks just kind of blend into the routine.

When I started at my current job I was the only one to ride to and from work. We had a few cyclist but none of them would brave coming to work in tights, I work for a large manufacture and some guys get a little uncomfortable with others walking in a set of lycra shorts. After the others saw it wasn't that bad they started commuting 3-4 times a week. Now we have about 8 people that ride bikes to work on a consistent basis with several others doing when the weather is good. In Oregon that isn't to often, I commute almost every day of the year rain, snow or shine. It helps me deal with the rainy days better then most people.

Keep it up, maybe it will rub off on someone else.

The General
re: Rode to work for first time...Co-workers think I'm a freakDave Hickey
Mar 15, 2002 1:06 PM
When I commute, I'll bring a couple of days worth of clothes. I also keep a box of baby wipes. They are great for cleaning up. I keep my bike in my office and I'm lucky enough to be the local boss, so comments about my attire are usually just said behind my back.
You're either part of the solution or part of the problem.guido
Mar 15, 2002 1:09 PM
That might be one way to shut up your incredulous co-workers. Gimmie five, man!

If I were commuting 14 miles, I wouldn't want to carry everything with me, so I'd leave business clothing at work. If you use the shower, nobody can call you stinky, but I've found if your body is clean from the night before or that morning, the sweat built up on the ride doesn't leave an odor after it evaporates. I get comments like, "Be careful!" when leaving work, but the local citizens seems to respect that obviously I'm commuting to and from work on a bike, riding a clean, well maintained adult bike with fenders, dressed in T shirt or jersey and lycra shorts, carrying a nice backpack. The suburban ladies in their SUVs watch out for me, so I nod and talk to them if there might be a problem as to right of way. Mostly they appreciate this interaction, and movement through traffic is very safe.

I think the co-workers must be jealous that here's a guy getting over on the automobile tyranny and making it work as a fitness routine. Most co-workers I've talked to seem to attribute personal qualities such as bravery, athletic ability and fitness, patience, thinking out of the box, to cyclists, never thinking they themselves could do it.
Put a sock in shorts and show up when there's an audienceBarnyard
Mar 15, 2002 1:17 PM
re: Rode to work for first time...Co-workers think I'm a freakpmf1
Mar 15, 2002 1:24 PM
I haul in about a weeks worth of clothes at a time. Sometimes more when the weather is good. Yeah, it seems like I have to buy more clothes than if I were just coming from home. I presently have a temporary job where I have to wear a suit everyday. I bought 4 suits and two pairs of shiny black shoes (one for office, one for home). I probably could have gotten away with 3 suits if I didn't commute. I keep one in the office. Its good for about 6 days. Another guy here rides and never takes his clothes home. He saves them up and goes to the laundry down the street. In a few months I go back to my normal job where I don't usually wear a suit. Life will be easier then. I hate ties and dark wool suits in 95 degree weather is not fun.

The bike I lock up in a courtyard that has very heavy security. Normally in DC, I'd never do this because someone would steal pedals, saddle, etc. My normal job has a secure bike locker.

As far as the looks go, who cares. I get strange looks here and have been hassled a few times by military types when I didn't have my ID around my neck. Really though, do you care if anyone makes fun of you? I find most folks think its kinda cool.

Bike commuting is a great way to get miles in, keep sane and save time. It takes me almost as long to ride the train into work as it does to ride the 16 miles. A 14 miles commute is a good one. Not too short and not too long. You'll be hooked soon.
re: Rode to work for first time...Co-workers think I'm a freakMisJG
Mar 15, 2002 1:24 PM
I turned my old Schwinn Le Tour (Sport-Touring Road Bike) into a commuter by adding lights, a mirror (which I think will be removed this year as I didn't like it last year) a kickstand (it came with the bike in 1987 so I just put it back on) and rear panniers. I pack what I need for the day (clothes, lunch) into the bags and away I go. I have baby wipes at work (the largest, cheapest store brand I could find) because there is no shower. I arrive about ten minutes before my regular time to give myself time to clean up and change clothes. I used to keep my bike in the cubicle next to be, but then a co-worker was re-located to that cube, so now I keep it in an enormous closet where no-one will see it (nobody wears coats in the summer). I work with a lot of women, so they like to see me in my bike clothes. I always get cat-calls when walking around like that. Just take it in stride. Everbody knew I was a cyclist before I started to ride to work, so it wasn't a major shock to many people. My managers think it's great that I exercise so much. A year ago, when it first occured to me that I could ride to work, I asked my then manager what it would take to get a shower installed so that I could ride to work. She said, "I have too many other things to worry about. . .stink!!" So I started to ride that week. I also hang my cycling clothes up and turn a fan on them so they will be dry for the ride home.
Freakdom is kewl!look271
Mar 15, 2002 1:50 PM
I do it all year round. I come in about 15 minutes early, bring my clothes with me in a backpack, shower in the locker room and I'm good to go. Most of the people that I see are dayshift people who, for the most part, are miserable, overweight, post-menapausal women. The biggest thrill they have is to see me in my spandex! =) BTW-my coworkers think I'm nutz.......
I was one of "THEM"gusriley
Mar 15, 2002 1:58 PM
I walked into a new job several years back. One of the guys was a commuter. He bicycled 24 miles round trip, even in the winter. I thought he was out of his flippin mind!!! We were a small office and everyone was close. The more he rode the more I realized this guy was doing something pretty darn KEWL!!! I bought a bike and began commuting, only my commute was longer than his. Since then I've converted my share of non-cyclists. Maybe you'll convert one or two as well?
My job kind of screwed me.offrhodes
Mar 15, 2002 2:01 PM
My brother, who also races, worked with me last summer, but got laid off this winter (he found another job quick luckily). He worked 7:30am to 4:30pm and I worked 11am to 8pm so we had a deal going. I would bike in to work which is 20 miles straight in, I trained in the morning though so usually 45-50 miles before coming to work, he would drive in. At night I would drive home at night and he would bike home. We switched cars every other week, it was great. Now I have to figure something else out. I have biked home at night a few times this winter, but it is cold and I don't get home till past 9pm (which can suck when you go to bed at 10pm). I would bring in a week of clothing at a time plus snacks, likes bagels or fig newtons. What I really need is new work hours. Anyone out there need a buyer with some EDI experience in the southern NH area?

But y'are, Blanche, y'are!! nmAlexx
Mar 15, 2002 2:07 PM
re: Rode to work for first time...Co-workers think I'm a freakQuack
Mar 15, 2002 2:13 PM
You didn't mention whether your business has a casual or a formal dress code. If casual, get a large size courier bag like the DeeDog Timbuk2 and carry in the days' clothes with you. My clothes aren't any more wrinkled in my bag than they are after I drive my car to work in them. Bringing a weeks worth of clothes ahead of time is fine but eventually you will have to drive in and get them losing another day of cycling in the process.

You also didn't say how large your company is but I will assume that since you have a shower, you probably have a maintenance crew on site as well. The maintenance guys always know of good spots to stash your bike out of sight that are close to the entrances (boiler rooms, storage closets, etc.)

As far as the looks and heckling you receive in your bike garb, you just have to suck it up and put your best bulge forward. It's the one time a day when you can proudly say to the world "I am a biker and proud that I have not lost touch with the child inside me." Plus, as an added benefit, once you tone up and build some muscle mass, the women will without a doubt be checking out your assets. In the three years that I have been commuting, I would be willing to bet that over half of the women that see me are actively checking out my junk. Even dudes check you out if you're in spandex. Probably a comparison study.

Happy commuting!! Your whole body will love you for it.
bike comparisondmoragon
Mar 16, 2002 4:35 PM
I am new at this and I think I may be doing this wrong, but, the heck with it. I just want to know if anyone has any opinion regarding Raleighs or Trek bikes. I want to get a new bike. It will either be the Raleigh C40 or the Trek Navigator 300. Anyone can help me with this decision. I cannot make up my mind because I don't know enough about bikes.
Thank you!!
bike comparisondmoragon
Mar 16, 2002 4:38 PM
I am new at this and I think I may be doing this wrong, but, the heck with it. I just want to know if anyone has any opinion regarding Raleighs or Trek bikes. I want to get a new bike. It will either be the Raleigh C40 or the Trek Navigator 300. Can anyone help me with this decision? If you can, send me an email. I cannot make up my mind because I don't know enough about bikes.
Thank you!!
My email is
Just enjoy it!Softrider
Mar 15, 2002 2:37 PM
I commute about 40 miles round trip 3 days a week when the weather is permitting. I keep baby wipes, deodorant and a few other necessaties at work to clean up in the morning. I Bring clothes on the days that I drive, and take the dirty ones home in my backpack.

I have never had a problem with people at work giving me a hard time, but most of them are into something athletic (i.e. runners, etc.)

Just enjoy it, it is a great way to get in a bunch of miles.
re: Rode to work for first time...Co-workers think I'm a freakmlbd
Mar 15, 2002 2:50 PM
I used to work at the National Acadmey of Sciences in Washington and I biked in. to get to the locker room i had to march straight through the main hall. one day they happened to be having a big event and the main hall was overflowing with members of the academy all dressed in dark suits drinking coffee out of fine china. i took a deep breath and proceeded to weave my way through the crowd--lycra, helmet and all! i bumped into one gentleman who must have been around 90 years old. he said, as only an old eccentric professor can, "what are you from Mars?" then he laughed quite hysterically.

you just have to shrug it off. as earlier posts said, you'll be less stressed and you'll be able to squeeze in more miles without cutting into family time or whatever.
re: Rode to work for first time...Co-workers think I'm a freakharry hall
Mar 17, 2002 4:03 PM
Put flags and patriotic slogans on your commute bike, perhaps with an anti-Arab needle in it. Get the message out that cycling is a way to financially fight terrorism.
"Starve a Raghead, Bike to Work!"
Don't worry about itkenyee
Mar 15, 2002 4:39 PM
At one job a while back (before I got interested in bikes again), a few coworkers biked in from Cambridge to Waltham in Massachusetts. I thought they were nuts, but respected them for being able to do it. One even sold her car (did I mention both were female?) and did it full time. They took cabs in from a local train station when the weather got too snowy.

They're probably just giving you a good ribbing (the comments you posted implied this). If you really want to get back at a couple of them, challenge them to a race :-)
re: Rode to work for first time...Co-workers think I'm a freakBike Bum
Mar 15, 2002 7:41 PM
I live 60 miles from work and in the spring, summer and part of the Fall I car commute 2/3s of the way park and ride in the rest of the way to work. Once I even rode the whole 60 miles and had my wife come and pick me up in exchange for dinner and a movie (Yes, it still works after 18 years of marriage...). They have showers at my job and bike lockers so it's pretty cool....Hey, getting ribbed about the bike garb will slack off after a while...besides being called "that Nut on the Bike " is usally said with alittle awe. It's a badge of honor, bask in it....
try a backpack or a big camelback, screw the co-workersslow-ron
Mar 16, 2002 5:46 AM
My commute is 36 miles each way but I have three cars (all worth less than my bike). I usually ride to work one day on my bike and then drive home. I can then drive to work the next day and ride home with the other car still available. My cars are usually filled with clothes, towels, bike parts, food, etc.

One thing I've done to make the commute better when I forget something is to use a mini backpack. I found a really nice one that doubles as my camelback yet still has room for underwear & socks but not to bulky for the ride.

I'm fortunate because at work we have a shower, a garage & the CEO is a racer, so bike culture isn't frowned upon.
re: Rode to work for first time...Co-workers think I'm a freakMJ
Mar 16, 2002 11:04 AM
office is a (grey pin-stripe only) suit kind of place - very business formal

we have everyone from junior support staff to equity partners cycling in - but we are (collectively) happy to revel in freakdom - we proselytise for new recruits and fair weather usually yields results - as spring is near/arrived we've started hectoring the fair weather crowd

we have a shower and an indoor storage (locks not necessary) - so that's sweet - second the maintenance guys maybe giving you a place for your bike (and lava soap for unexpected emergency repairs)

as I don't normally wear pin stripe suits outside of business hours I have no need for my work clothes at home (unless there's a wedding) and all of my work clothes live at the office - I use the dry cleaner - my wife doesn't even know what I own work clothes wise... she's used to me in lycra and casual - maybe you can have your clothes laundered/dry cleaned near where you work and not have to shuttle in clothes which is always a logistical challenge - you can justify it by the money your saving in not driving and not joining a gym

they'll get over your commuting and (as others have said) you may even encourage a few to join you - as far as co-workers seeing me (gasp) they have gotten used to it - it's far more traumatic for them than me - I know how ridiculous I look marching through the lobby in my urban cycling lycra bat gear - I still get cat calls/flirty comments/ridicule - I respond by telling people if they don't behave I'll make them smell my lycra - or that I'm heading to a club to go dancing - alot of people seem to respect the commitment/effort
re: Rode to work for first time...Co-workers think I'm a freakSteven in Arizona
Mar 16, 2002 8:35 PM
I have been commuting to work now for about 1 year. What I do is arrive about 15 mins early so that I can clean up and change into my work clothes. It may be a little easier for me since I am a blue collar worker and don't have to dress to impress anyone. I mounted a rear rack and hang one pannier on it with my work pants, socks, and underwear. I just ride wearing my work shirt since it will be dirty by the end of the shift anyways. I'm a stickler for dry socks so I bring a pair to wear at work while the ones I wore for the ride dry in my locker.

As for my co-workers, at first I got the usual lame jokes. But after they got use to seeing me ride everyday the harrasment eased up. Now a year later, my co-workers are very supportive of my riding and I can always count on them for donations whenever I do charity rides.

Oh yeah, man the money I've saved on gasoline........
Did it for three years in ChileApplejuice
Mar 16, 2002 9:34 PM
I don't ride so much anymore (occasional mtb trip or spinning class) but when I was living in Santiago, Chile I road to work and then school everyday. I had no car, so that helps, but it was awesome. I was racking up 10,000 km a year or more.

I miss it. Wherever I end up working after my MBA, I'm riding. That's all there is to it.

Regarding your situation, you'll get comments but take it in stride. People will come to respect and admire you. If they don't, well then tell 'em they can kiss your hard butt cheeks.

I didn't usually change clothes at work. But I did use two deodorants. One underarm and one body spray. I showered in the evenings. Then again, it was casual dress at work. I'm sure I won't be so lucky in the future.

By the way, the best thing I ever did was to get a recumbent. It made the commute sooo much better. People loved my bike and no one wanted to steal it. But that's another story.

Keep on keepin' on, Aaron
Mine's shorter, similar circumstances ...Humma Hah
Mar 17, 2002 8:53 AM
... I have a 5.3 mile commute the short way. I usually do the short way to work, take a longer route home, can make that leg 27 miles if suitably inspired.

We have a shower, but I've not used it yet (I have towel, washcloth, soap in my credenza, if I ever need to, but I've not had to face hot weather yet). I ride in my normal work clothes. For your distance, particularly in hot weather, I'd probably stuff a change of clothes in the backpack. I shower in the morning before leaving, and don't have enough bacteria on me to raise a stink when I ride so soon after a shower.

What do you consider warm enough? I've commuted this winter as low as 15 F, and still raised a good sweat. They look at me funny when I come in with ice in my beard. At least half of the male employees claim to be avid cyclists, and several bikes are permanant residents of the hangar. I've rarely actually seen any of the others ride, though, and none cycle-commute.
Warm enough is...biknben
Mar 18, 2002 6:21 AM
Warm enough is about 40 degrees in the morning. Any colder than that and the car will be my choice for commuting.

For me it's not about saving gas, pollution, or fighting terrorism. I'm just getting in some miles to work and training on the way home.
Kudos To You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Lliduak
Mar 18, 2002 5:26 AM
I commend you for doing something that is greater than they will ever understand. While they are polluting with their large SUVs and other cars, you are helping to make the earth a better place. Who cares what they think. Maybe you should put it to them like that. Let them know they are the evil ones.