Introduction: How to Bike Commute With a Suit
“The momentum for going by bike is undeniable,” noted Trek’s Director of Advocacy, Rebecca Anderson. “Growing traffic congestion; skyrocketing gas prices; alarming obesity rates; concerns about global climate change as the result of greenhouse gas emissions; there is interest all over the country for transportation alternatives. The bicycle—as arguably the most efficient mode of transportation on the planet—represents a simple solution to some of the toughest problems; and tons of communities are recognizing this fact by taking steps to become bike-friendly. There has never been a better time to go by bike!”
Some employers/professions (like mine) require their employees to wear a suit to work. This was not immediately a problem for me. I dont mind dressing up from time to time. However, this became problematic when I remembered that 1) I live in the muggy deep south and 2) I would much prefer to bike to work.
In an effort to maintain my sanity by not driving to work and my decorum by not working all day in a sweat-drenched, wrinkled suit came up with a system that works for me.
1) First, you need a Bike.
2) Next, You need to get a good set of biking tights and a sweat wicking techincal t-shirt. A biking Jersey would work as well. By the end of work, I typically dont mind if I am putting on sweaty clothes, but if you want to bring two sets to have clean clothes for the ride home, it would fit in the bag.
*If you are uncomfortable walking into the office building in biking tights or shorts, then you could get a pair of bike-to-work pants. Levi's and Beta Brand make some good ones. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmhiWaOgLUA http://www.betabrand.com/bike-to-work.html
3) Next, you need to get a good waterproof backpack. I use the Ortlieb Messenger Bag (http://www.ortliebusa.com/CartGenie/prod-53.htm) There are probably less expensive options, but these bags are lightweight and made for bike commuting. The bright yellow and side reflectors make cars pay attention to you. You could also do panniers, but installing a rack system and using two or three smaller bags would likely cost more and be more cumbersome.
4)Now to pack the bag....
You will need
A Travel Organizer/Shirt folder Eagle Creek makes some good ones. http://shop.eaglecreek.com/travel-organizers/l/211
A Mudbox/Shoe Carrier http://shop.eaglecreek.com/packit-mud-box-medium/d/1110_c_216
A TOWEL! If you want to get fancy, you can use an ultralite camping towel to save weight and space. http://www.rei.com/product/804060/discovery-trekking-outfitters-extreme-ultralite-towel-34-x-28
5) Fold your suit, shirt and tie into the Travel organizer and then close the velcro straps. Slide the Pack into the backpack. Do this first, that way the support of the backpack and the pack's board will keep the folded goods nice and protected.
6) Put your shoes, belt, socks and underoos in the Mud Box. Put the mud box in the back pack
7) Roll the towel and put it on top.
Close the Bag and Hit the Streets!
-Leave early and take easy streets to beat the heat.