The Commute

Well recently it’s been a while since I managed to forget something in regards to riding into work. The curse of the daily bike commuter is forgetting some vital item that makes the day a work a complete disaster. Until wonders of modern urban design like Canada’s Velo City, become a reality, riding to work involves getting all hot and sweaty at best and getting soaked to the bone and cold at the worst. Commuting in work clothes, especially if that is office wear (shirt, tie, shoes, trousers) just isn’t an option.

As a result hardened riders will have a stash of goodies to make sure they’re not going to suffer the same fate twice. This may involve a bike lock which lives at bike racks. A towel and wash kit, with an emergency pair of pants and socks and a shirt and tie which live in a desk drawer and a pair of shoes in permanent residence under the desk. So after discussing it with some friends here’s a list of the worst things to forget when commuting:

Underwear. Not too bad I suppose as you can always go commando. It gets worse if you managed to break the fly on your trousers or split the seat of your pants on the same day.

Socks. This is particularly bad when you wear business attire.

Shirt. Sitting in stinky merino top all day is not good. Especially when you’re..um…’cuddly’ and the top is a tight fit.

Trousers. A serious omission as 3/4 bibs are not a good look for the office. As Al has described, it is “hard enough to deal with the fallout and ignomony of a pantless day without the ridicule of my smug pant wearing chums”.

Shoes. Clanking round the office in damp cycling shoes is not a good look. Veterans of the Art of the Commute will have strategically stowed a pair that live under the desk. How these can migrate and end up at home is the subject of much debate.

Security ID, swipecard or keys to Work. Worst if you have to open up or are first in. Unpleasant if you have to prove your identity to Security, but at least not so bad as having to go all the way home again.

Keys to Home. The frustration of knowing all day at work that you have locked yourself out. Significantly worse if a) no one else has a set of keys and b) your neighbours call the police thinking your breaking in.

Lights. Quite how you managed this sometimes surprises me. Frequently it’s that day after a night ride or the day after you had to go home before it became dark and so didn’t fit the lights in the morning. I’m not sure if it’s better to have an urban homewards journey where you have to dice with traffic or a rural one where you have to dice with unlit roads. At least in the former case, Scotchlite suddenly becomes the best thing ever. Must remember to eat more carrots.

Food and means to buy food on the same day. This in combination is quite horrible.Deoderant. It’s bad when there is no shower at work. A day without a chemical shower is unbearable.

Towel. Then doing the Mr Bean Limbo dance round the towel machine and hoping no one walks in on you

Family. Forgetting you’re picking your daughter up, then remembering when you’ve 20 mins to do a 40 min commute and having to redline it when you’re broken because you’ve already forgotten to bring any food/means of getting food that day. This can be can be quite bad.

State of Repair. For example, forgetting that your tyres don’t grip on wet leaf-goo slicked descents or that your tyres are shagged and cunningly also forgetting a spare tube and or pump.

You’re a Target. Remember you are virtually invisible to car drivers. Also remember that drivers forget you ever existed the instant their vehicle is alongside you.

Thanks to Jenn, Andy P, Piers, Marty, Alex, Bill, Gavin, Stu N, Simon and Alec.

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