A Butt-Blasting Commute (Try It!)

National Bike to Work Day

You can check your workout off your list when you ditch the car/bus/train for your bike.

So let’s get this straight: you get in your car (or onto the train or bus) to get to the office to…sit all day. Then you complain about not having time to work out. (Believe me, I’ve been there too!) Why not switch things up and take advantage of National Bike to Work Day (Friday, May 17): you’ll get your exercise in while you’re commuting (talk about multitasking!).

Okay, okay, I know the reasons why not (listed here), but I’ve countered with what I think are some pretty sensible (and practical) answers:

Women's Bike to Work Pants from Betabrand

Great stretchy Bike to Work pants from Betabrand; roll them up, and they have safety reflective strips. Plus, they have a higher rise in the back so you don't flash any motorists while you're riding!

I can’t bike to work. What the heck would I wear: sneakers and jeans? A valid point—which is why more men commute to work than women (it’s easier for guys to dress for the bike than women). But Betabrand is a company trying to change that: they’ve got super-great bike-to-work pants ($108; betabrand.com), above, and other clothing (for women and guys). But they also have a cool thinktank where you can send in your ideas about what you’d like to wear to work—and comment on design ideas: click on  http://www.betabrand.com/think-tank.html to give your feedback. (I’ve already submitted a few of my own comments!)

Where am I going to put my purse and my laptop—juggle it on my handlebars? Another good point! Even if you don’t travel with a laptop, you’ve still got your purse to

GiveLoveCycle Guilden Large Carryall Bike Bag

Handy carryall from GiveLoveCycle! It's waterproof, fits your helmet, and easily converts to a convenient backpack.

contend with. You definitely need a front basket (not so cool) or a back rack (much cooler; particularly the ones by Basil; www.basil.nl/gb/home/). But I also LOVE the GiveLoveCycle Guilden Large Carryall bag that doubles as a purse and backpack—and is even roomy enough to store your helmet! ($185; givelovecycle.com).

That’s completely impractical; I work too far away to bike. Okay, I get it. But how far is too far: 15 miles or 60 miles? 15 miles or 20 miles is actually very do-able—60, not so do-able. Assess and then dowload the free app, Everytrail (for iPhone and Android), which allows you to see your route and your current position on your phone via Google Maps or satellite view.

I own a clunker—this bike will never make it any long distance. One word answer to that: Rent. Inquire at your local bike shop for rentals—and you’ll have wheels in no time. (NYC just instituted bike sharing…as have many other cities, so if you’re city-bound, this is an option for you.) Then, consider investing in a bike for your body—and your sanity. (There’s nothing like riding in the fresh air to clear your mind of needless worry and clutter!)

There’s no place to store my bike at work. You’d be surprised how many work places have bike racks outside somewhere (you’ve probably never looked for them!). Or just lock your bike to a pole…or see if you can store it somewhere inside. You never know until you ask!

New Schwinn Swift Helmet

New helmet from Schwinn ($34.99; schwinnbikes.com) has patented EZ snap clasp technology (which means no pinching or under-neck discomfort).

Worst case, you can’t bike to work…so Saturday, make it a point to get out on your bike for a butt-blasting (and calorie-blasting) ride. The average 145-pound person can burn up to 600 calories in an hour. It’s a great, low-impact workout—and great fun! But don’t be stupid (sorry, the only word I can use here): ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET!! I have no idea why people don’t (maybe it ruins your hair, doesn’t look good…blah, blah, blah). There are simply NO excuses for not wearing one!

Now get out there and ride!

 

 

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Valerie LatonaAbout Valerie Latona
As the former editor in chief of Shape (the active lifestyle magazine) for 5 years, I personally spoke with a lot of women (thousands over the years, from around the nation) and what I found is this: it's not easy to stay healthy, to get (and stay) fit, and to stem the weight gain tide (and even the tide of disease) that inevitably happens to us as we get older.