Whenever I discuss commuting by bicycle with people from all genders, there are always obstacles in their minds that are difficult to overcome. Men, women, and all genders in between have their own preferences and concerns when it comes to cycling to and from work. Let me tell you: I have an answer to all of those complaints and hardships. I have heard all the pains and excuses people use to avoid a nice bike ride to work. That being said, I’d like to address just a few of the obstacles that women have pointed out to me. I have heard the same from others, but women tend to think differently and sometimes prefer a thought out, informed response to their questions. Here are the four most frequent obstacles I’ve heard while in the cycling industry:
Obstacle #1: “I get sweaty when I ride. I can’t be sweaty at work.”
Solution: Sweat dries. No one will ever notice that your pores were behaving like waterfalls 15 minutes ago. What they will notice is a more awake, happier, more motivated, and more productive co-worker! Bring a washcloth and a change of clothes. Buy some Rocket Shower (in stock and on sale at County Cycles!) for a refreshing, cleansing splash. If your workplace has a gym or showers to use, all the better.
Obstacle #2: “It’s too far. I can’t bike all that way!”
Solution: Tell yourself that you can, and it will happen. Our own brains are our biggest interference. “Change your thoughts and you change the world.” -Norman Vincent Peale.
For those who commute distances that would make it simply unreasonable to ride, there are several variances you can make to your commute that would allow for riding part of the way. There are Park ‘n’ Rides all over the city. You can drive part of the way and ride the rest. Better yet, you can combine bike and bus! One of my friends lives in Bayport and works in Saint Paul. She drives to the Park ‘n’ Ride in Maplewood and rides her bike the rest of the way. Another thought is to find work closer to home or home closer to work. It’s a stretch, but is an important lifestyle choice to consider.
Obstacle #3: “But I need to carry things back and forth.”
Solution: Are you kidding me? Don’t even get me started on bag shopping! I’m a woman, too, you know! There is a bag for everything. Marty has maintained an incredible selection of bags in stock at County Cycles. There are bags for your bags, garment bags, snack bags, cell phone bags, grocery bags, briefcase panniers, bags that are both a pannier and a backpack, bags for kids, colorful bags, etcetera. Come take a look for yourself. You can easily find a bag for all that you need to carry. When I was a kid riding to school, I carried my books, lunch, clothes, nordic skis, boots, poles, and my trumpet on my bike. Gosh, I wish I had a photo to share with you! All it takes is a little planning ahead.
Obstacle #4: “It’s too time consuming and I need to run errands after work.”
Solution: Trust me, I get it. We all have families and social lives and chores to take care of. Guess what: You don’t need to ride every day to make it count. Pick a couple or a few days a week when you don’t have other things going on and ride on those days. Maybe ride a half day and carpool with a coworker or family member or friend or neighbor. If you have just a quick errand to run, see if you can add it to your commute, now that you have all those bags to carry things! Commuting also cuts down on the extra time you need to spend at the gym or out exercising in general. Rather than spending a half hour in a stressful traffic jam, you would be getting your daily exercise out of the way while creating a pleasant, stress free commute home. It’s like double dipping that potato chip in onion dip! Wouldn’t it be nice to feel alive, awake, alert and enthusiastic when you get home?
Well, I just gave you four fewer obstacles to get in your way. Get out there and try it! If you need help planning a route or getting organized for a commute, stop in to County Cycles. I am happy to help you in any way I can! And guess where I learned all I know! That’s right, County Cycles. My co-workers are very knowledgeable and anyone can help answer your questions. We invite you to share your commutes and experiences on our social media as well! The followers and friends of Instagram and Facebook await proof of your fearless adventures!