There's nothing quite like the feeling of riding a bike. The wind in your hair, the sun on your face - it's a good way to start your day. Biking to work is one of our favorite ways to start the day because:
- It boosts your mood
- Improves your focus
- It’s energizing
- You can avoid car traffic and public transportation delays!
But what do you do when it's hot outside and you don't want to arrive to work a sticky, sweaty mess? Here are favorite tips to help you safely bike to work and arrive looking presentable.
Keep your look intact!
What do you wear? You’ll be surprised by how much of your wardrobe you can bike in, especially if your bike is outfitted with the right accessories.
On hot days, wear a polo shirt or a sundress (tips for biking in a dress) on your ride to work. Once you get to the office, you can step up your wardrobe game with a nice blazer or a cardigan, which can be rolled up and stored in your bike bag. See how ambassador @rebelwithoutacar packs her pannier for commuting!
What about helmet hair? Use a texturizing clay or dry shampoo to restore your hair’s volume and texture after you remove your helmet. Women can also try a loose braided hairstyle that stays flat under a helmet and still looks good even if it gets messy.
Won’t you get sweaty and/or stinky? Yes, but not as much as you may think, especially if you ride at a comfortable pace. On particularly hot days, you can also try switching up your bike routine and opting for a shadier path to shield you from the harsh sun, or using a pocket fan at stoplights to help move air over your skin.
Then, quickly lower your body temperature when you get to work by standing in front of a fan or air conditioner. Many offices have showers, but if you don’t, wet wipes will restore a shower-fresh feeling when you arrive.
Choose Your Ride & Gear
For biking in "regular" clothes, we recommend using an upright/cruiser bike! This style prioritizes comfort - you won't be leaning over, revealing your forearms or lower back while riding your bike to work. It's no wonder that this is the style of bike that bike share systems use.
Choosing a step-through bike frame also gives you more wardrobe options because you don't have to swing your leg over as high to mount the bike. Notice we called this a "step-through" frame, not a "woman's frame"; this style is not just for the ladies anymore!
Fenders will keep your legs and back dry in the rain or for biking through a puddle, and a chainguard makes it easier to bike in long skirts and loose-legged pants because you don’t have to worry about chain snags.
A rear rack is essential for carrying things on your bike. Why is that important? Wearing a backpack or messenger bag will make your back sweaty, unnecessarily! A rear rack provides attachment points for trunk and pannier bags.
If you're looking for the best bike bag to fit your commuting needs when you ride your bike to work, here are a few of our favorite bags:
Bergen Pannier 2 - Perfect for carrying your laptop to and from the office! Bergen has a padded sleeve that fits most 13” computers, and the main compartment fits most 15” computers. Once you get to the office, Bergen transitions to a stylish cross-body bag.
Mardy Backpack Pannier - Perfect for big loads. If you have a lot of stuff to carry to and from the office, Mardy is perfect for you. It’s our highest-capacity waterproof pannier - with lots of pockets to keep things organized. If your “work” shoes are different from your “bike” shoes - you’re in luck. Mardy has a zippered bottom compartment to keep your shoes (or dirty bike lock) separate from your other things!
Chelsea Bike Trunk Bag - Perfect for small loads. If your bike commute haul is light, Chelsea is right for you. It has a padded sleeve that will fit most tablets, five interior pockets for organization, and an external water bottle pocket. Off the bike, extend Chelsea’s strap and you’ve got a good-looking shoulder bag.
If you don’t have a rear rack to leverage (we’re looking at you, scooter & folding bike riders), you may think you’re out of luck, but we’ve got you covered:
Spica Handlebar Sling Bag - With a taller, narrower shape than a traditional bike bag, it’s the perfect fit for an electric scooter or folding bike. When you’re done riding, remove Spica from your handlebars and just pull out the strap to instantly make it a comfortable sling bag.
You’re Ready to Roll.
If you have any additional questions, please send them our way. Have a wonderful summer and fall full of many wonderful rides and adventures!
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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.