Pedal Pretty for #MayisBikeMonth

By Leia Ostermann

About a year ago I realized the ridiculousness of driving a car anywhere in Sacramento. I work two miles from my home, live two miles from my gym and remain a constant half a mile away from my favorite coffee shop,  and I never drive to bars.

It’s getting into the habit of riding my bike to work each morning that has been difficult to master.

To become a bike commuter has required adjustments. I have to get up in time to pack a backpack, pick a bike and office appropriate outfit and drink my coffee before I leavethe house instead of en route. It’s sad that these are my biggest dilemmas. But since I need the exercise, the weather is perfect this month, I constantly preach the benefits of biking (physically, culturally and environmentally) and May is Bike Month, this was the month I made my resolution to bike.

When I told people my plan, I heard a few justifications as to why it was not plausible for them to bike to work.

Well, I don’t live close enough to work …

If you live in West Sac, East Sac, or anywhere on the grid, you live close enough. I’ve learned that it is actually faster to ride my bike to work than to drive.

I wish I was in shape enough to do that!

Pedal Pretty

Well I dress too fancy for work, so I can’t do that.

On the first day of May, I rode to work in a pencil skirt. I hiked it up over my hips, pulled on a pair of shorts and some TOMS, threw my heels in a backpack and rode my bike to work. Unfortunately on the way home I realized that I had ripped the slit up the back of the skirt. I mean, all the way up.

I call this trial and error. But not a reason to give up.

Obviously I still need to look professional (for my clients) and cute (for myself) and I refuse to go bike-grunge. So, I started hunting down cute ideas in fashion blogs, trying new quick change techniques in the office bathroom and scouting out the methods of other women that wore slacks and pencil skirts to work but still rode their bike.

Thus was born my list of tips, tricks and outfit ideas for the bike-riding-working-girl:

How to Prepare Your Office:

Keep some items in your desk to prevent emergencies. My desk includes:

  • Makeup – blush, lip gloss (don’t you dare apply this before you ride!), foundation, powder, etc.
  • Deodorant – just in case you forget in the morning. Don’t judge.
  • Mirror – because lipstick on your teeth is never a good look
  • Refillable water bottle – if you’re starting your metabolism with a quick bike ride in the morning, I guarantee you’ll get thirsty!
  • An extra sweater – just in case the wind picks up on your ride home
  • A hair tie – for a quick fix if the wind ruins it in the morning
  • A hair brush – again, the wind
  • Shout’s Wipe and Go – or really anything that can quickly remove the signs of coffee stains or chain grease

What to Pack in Your Backpack:

  • Closable coffee container – I happen to like my home brew better than the office Keurig. I used to bring it in a travel cup. After a white-blouse-incident, my mug has a tighter lid.
  • Extra pair of shoes – just pack those cute and uncomfortable work shoes in your bag and put them on when you get to the office (I wear my TOMS on a bicycle).
  • Change of clothes – no one wants to stay in their work clothes for a leisurely ride home! Maybe you’ll want to take the long way when the weather is good or go by  Concert in the Park after you get off.

Outfit Tips to Last the Season:

    • Opt for a warm sweater or jacket over the one that matches your outfit – it’s about comfort and survival and no one is looking (probably). Plus layers are always a good plan.
    • Change your shoes – I didn’t for the first week of May and ended up with some gnarly blisters and a pair of ruined heels
  • Wear those sunglasses! Even if the sun isn’t shining, the wind in Sacramento can make small pieces of dust or leaves fly into your eyes. Plus, it helps you avoid the squinty wrinkles.
  • If it’s cold, wear gloves – It’s amazing how cold your fingers can get on a chilly morning.
  • I happen to be a huge fan of ponchos if it’s raining, but you can also opt for that trench with the hood. And maybe wear a pair of older pants and change at the office.
  • Wear shorts underneath your skirts or dresses – you can always take them off when you get to the office!

Outfit Ideas for the Biker/Fashionista:

But the most important part of looking cute on your bike is putting together some outfits you can commute in comfortably. To start my closet inspiration, I usually go to the fashion bloggers. Here are examples of a few bike-friendly outfits I’d be pretty proud to rock:

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But the most important part about May is Bike Month isn’t even the exercise, it’s the community. I’ve made more friends, had more interesting conversations, laughed at more drivers stuck in traffic in my seven minute commute over the past few weeks than I have in the last year.

Plus, Golden Bear is giving out discounts to those participating in the May is Bike Month challenge.

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