Bike to Work Week is almost here and although the number of female bike commuters has been increasing over the last few years (over 30% of our Bike to Work Week participants were women), women still represent just 25% of all bike commuters. There are a number of reasons, but certainly a main factor–many women (and men too) just don’t feel comfortable on roads that lack safe and comfortable biking facilities.
Last year, women that participated in our Bike to Work Week survey cited issues such as lack of bike lanes, lack of showers at work, potholes, driver awareness, and not feeling safe.
And if you do an internet search, many other women cite the same reasons. Other reasons women do not bike to work are: “helmet hair”, concerns about sweating, commute too long, and worrying about getting a flat or other emergencies.
As someone who would like to bike to work but worry about all of the above (including biking on Alexander Rd.), I am always in search of great tips to make biking to work possible more often and also more comfortable.
Let’s face it no one wants to get to the office looking and feeling like this
so here are a few tips that will hopefully help you get on your bike:
- A silk scarf beneath your helmet can reduce friction and eliminate frizz.
- Wearing your hair in a ponytail is a practical way to avoid helmet hair, and if a few hairs are out of place when you take your helmet off, you can fix it really fast when you get to work ( this is one is my favorite and best to tame curly helmet hair)
- You can find more styling tips here
- If you do not have a shower at work, see if you can find a gym near your workplace and make some an arrangement to use their showers ( you can use the $20 commuter benefit towards paying for this)
- Keep a change of clothes at work
- If none of these options are available to you, baby wipes are a great way to refresh
- If you are only biking a short distance, you can wear your office clothes and bike on a route that does not take much effort so you do not sweat. This works for me since I only have to bike 2 miles to work.
- Keep a make-up, dry shampoo, hair styling, deodorant, and baby wipes kit at work, just in case.
Commute too long
- Try to do only part of it by bike. Our colleague Carol does this every year, and she commutes from Hopewell to West Windsor. She drives one day and bikes back home and the next day she bikes to work and then drives bike home.
Getting a flat
- You will need to do some planning for this one. Here is a great article on what to carry with you and how to change an inner tube.
As far as feeling safe and comfortable, remember to start small, pick the safest route, always wear a helmet, have lights on your bike, plan your route ahead of time and try to bike it during the weekend when you are not under pressure, and you can take your time. If you are not sure what the best route is, we can create a personalized map from your house to your workplace.
This is not a comprehensive list, so if you have any advice, please feel free to share; we would love to hear your tips.
And I hope you signed up or will sign up for Bike to Work Week. Remember to log your miles during May 16 -20 and win great prizes. Enjoy the ride!