Let’s face it: riding your bike to work isn’t pretty. The most common questions I get when people hear that I ride 6+ miles to work involve the nitty-gritty on sweat, wrinkled clothes and bad hair days. Riding to work does involve all three every day. But I am fortunate. WCCO-TV has a co-ed shower with a lock on the door that’s as clean as my YMCA gym shower. I have a locker with the basics (soap, towel, shower flip flops). I carry my clothes to work each day carefully rolled and tucked into the 3 compartments of my $100 Bontrager panniers. I leave my makeup, my flat iron (ladies will understand) and my hair dryer at my desk. I hardly need it on the weekends at home right now because I’m renovating my house and taking care of two children. Looking fancy isn’t a high priority. I’m also fortunate that my employer offers free bike parking in the basement of our building. There are two racks like these and often they are full. But parking your bike in downtown Minneapolis is easy. And for $100 a year you can rent a bike parking space that includes access to a shower in downtown Minneapolis.
When it comes to bike commuting, like most things in life, a little planning goes a long way. And for some reason that seems to be the biggest challenge for me. I’m not the type who gets my outfit ready the night before. Crazy, rushed, scrambled mornings are more my speed. But those mornings don’t work well in my new bike life. My time is more pressed. So every night I pack my bag and two bags for my sons. It’s about a 20-minute chore that I dread. I’m looking forward to the day when it’s such an auto-pilot activity that I don’t even realize I do it. Don’t they say it takes three weeks to form a new habit? I’m in the middle of week three and I really hope that’s true.
Angela Keegan Benson is the Assistant News Director at WCCO-TV and a mother of two. On August 1, 2011 she began her quest to live one full year as a bike commuter. Follow along as she figures out how to mesh the cycling culture with the demands of parenthood and an affinity for 4-inch heels. And yes, she’s committed to sticking it out through February storms. For more Cycling In The Cities, follow @Angela_Keegan on Twitter.