How to Overcome 5 Bike-to-Work Challenges

OK, so biking to work isn't always as easy as clipping in and taking off.

Each of us have circumstances that throw a wrench into the prospects of a daily bike commute. A lifestyle change rarely has a seamless transition.

Here are some of the biggest challenges that new bike commuters face, and suggestions by the League of American Bicyclists on how to handle them.

More: 10 Reasons to Start Biking to Work

How Do I Handle a Change of Clothes?

Lots of theories abound on the best way to handle a change of clothes. A lot of it depends on how formal your work attire is.

If you're at a laid-back company, you can roll up your clothes and put them in a backpack. Cycling-specific backpacks make carrying essentials like clothes no big deal. If it's raining out, put your change of clothes in a plastic bag before putting them in a backpack to keep them dry.

If your job requires more formal wear, one idea is to drive to work on Monday with a week's worth of clothes so you don't have to roll your suit and tie up every morning and lug it on your bike.

One more tip: it's not a bad idea to have an emergency change of clothes (underwear, socks, shoes) at the office at all times in case something goes wrong on the ride.

More: Pedal With a Purpose: Ride to Work

How Do I Carry Work Items Like a Briefcase or Laptop?

A rear rack is your best bet here. They can be purchased for as little as $20 and many are big enough to accommodate a briefcase. Make sure you get a bungee cord, too, so you can secure your work valuables to the rack.

More: Safety Tips for Commuting by Bike

I Don't Want to Stink at the Office. What Do I Do?

The best-case scenario is that your office has a locker room and a shower for you to get cleaned up before you get to work.

But if it doesn't, you could look to see if there are any health clubs near your office. Or, you could wipe yourself down with a sponge or pre-moistened baby wipes in the bathroom.

The key, if you're sweaty, is to get out of your cycling clothes ASAP.

More: Freedom From the Grind: Become a Bike Commuter

What If I Have a Child to Take to Child Care?

This can be a little tricky, but there are ways to handle it.

  • If your work has on-site child care, hitch a trailer and take your child with you.
  • If your child goes to a daycare center, you could take your child there by trailer and then leave the trailer there.
  • Or, you could drive to the daycare center, then bike from there.

More: 10 Tips From Hard-Core Bike Commuters

What If I Need My Car at Work?

Many of us aren't chained to our desk, and might need the car to meet with clients or other work-related duties.

In this case, you could consider driving to work Monday morning with cycling gear and one full week's worth of clothes. Then you can leave the car at work and bike-commute Monday afternoon to Friday morning, and take the car home Friday afternoon.

More: 4 Tips for Finding a Bike-to-Work Route

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About the Author

Ryan Wood

Ryan Wood is an editor for He enjoys a good ride and loves participating in endurance events throughout the year. Follow him on Google+.
Ryan Wood is an editor for He enjoys a good ride and loves participating in endurance events throughout the year. Follow him on Google+.

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