How to Commute Like a Lady

lady_bicycling_cropI am in the early stages of planning a roundtable discussion with the working title “How to Bicycle to Work and Still Look Great – Tips & tricks from working women on how to look professional, stay safe, and have fun while traveling to work by bicycle.”  It will take place the evening of May 2nd at the Monroe County Public Library and I have recruited an excellent panel of ladies who are experienced at commuting by bicycle.

I hope to count myself among them by the time the roundtable happens.  Alas, I have a long way to go.  For the last six months, I have been driving to Columbus three days a week, racking up 300 miles a week on the odometer.  In February, I was also commuting twice a week to Indianapolis, bringing the grand total to about 500 miles a week.  Bleah.  Even with a Prius, it’s hard to justify that kind of carbon footprint. 

My contract position in Columbus expires at the end of March and I hope I can find long-term employment within bicycling distance of home, or at the very least a job within Monroe County.  The weather is becoming much more appealing as of late so I look forward to at least doing some recreational biking.  I’d love to become a bicycle commuter but if that doesn’t work out, my secondary goal is to be ready when the next “Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Bike Ride” comes around.  It’s organized by a couple of inspirational women cyclists who work for the City of Bloomington.  This year it was held on February 18th and promoted with the following description:

Rain nor sleet nor snow nor roving bands of zombies will keep us from the streets during Bloomington’s first annual Terrible  Horrible No Good Very Bad Bike Ride.  The 5-mile ride will traverse urban cycling routes around Bloomington to prove that it’s possible to bike in all kinds of weather.  Intended for both the fearful and the fearless.  If you can ride on this day, you can ride any day.

Alas, ever fickle Mother Nature ruined their carefully laid plans by providing a warm and sunny day but the 40+ folks who showed up all claimed to have a wonderful time anyway.  They talked about clothing options, bicycle fenders, and other techniques for minimizing the impact of icky weather.  Next year, I want to be a confident velocipedestrienne riding along with them, fearing neither cars nor rain nor roving bands of zombies.  My role models are the confident lady bicyclists who terrorized the streets in the 1860’s, as captured by the wonderful artist Kate Beaton.

Watch out, world.

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3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Heather said,

    March 13, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

    I have to admit that when it started to snow and/or ice, I left the bike in the house and either walked, took the bus or drove. I really hated slush and ice and snow and bikes. No amount of fenders helped, in my opinion. And the bike stayed put away until the stuff melted enough that it wasn’t in the street anymore.

    And if I was going to be out later than the bus ran, and coming home in the wee hours of the morning (like 11, 12, 1am), I would definitely drive.

    I would sometimes bike in the rain, although I was much more likely to either walk or take the bus. Since well, I also hated getting soaked.

    Cold was fine. It’s the stuff falling from the sky that make me a fair-weather bike-ist (is that a word).

    And I don’t ride anymore in LA at all. My last bike was kindly stolen from our locked parking lot garage. And I’m sorta terrified of the traffic here. I keep thinking that I’ll get a new bike and try it though….

  2. 2

    Maggie said,

    March 15, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    I hope to at least become a proficient fair weather biker this year, and build from there. Bloomington is much less intimidating than LA and I imagine there is less bicycle theft too. We can start biking together when you come back to Indiana!! :)

  3. 3

    Heather said,

    March 12, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

    How did you go? I live in a pretty hilly part of Melbourne, Australia, and as much as I want to ride, taking the tram is just easier (parking around uni has finally reached a point where its not worth my time, stress and wallet) but the bike is free!

    It doesn’t help the weather has been 32+ (that’s 90 to you lot :p) for a fortnight.

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