Friday Musings: Leaving Things at Home

I swear I've got better style

Everyone leaves stuff at home sometimes – their lunch, their wallet, their jacket, etc. Us bike commuters are special though, because – especially if we change at work – we have the option of leaving even more things at home!

For example… yesterday I forgot to pack a pair of work socks, and spent all day wearing bright white/red socks with my dress pants and shoes. I usually keep a spare pair of socks at the office for situations like these… but had already used them on another forgetful day.

I’ve frequently forgotten to bring my bike lock or the keys to my bike lock. A few months ago, I did this in reverse… arrived at work only to discover I had taken both sets of house keys AND the car keys… and my wife needed the car keys! I had a nicely doubled commute that morning… and a workday that started closer to 10:00 than the usual 8:00.

And for the worst thing I’ve left at home… last year, I took out my change of clothes only to discover I’d forgotten to bring underwear! And let me tell you… padded bike shorts under dress pants are not particularly comfortable. Fortunately my wife was coming close by on some errands and (once she stopped laughing at me, which took a lot longer than I’d have liked) she agreed to drop by with the necessary item.

So, fellow bike commuters… am I the only forgetful one here, or have some of you done similar things? What were the consequences?


  1. matt_fantastic

    I once forgot my trousers – had to spend the whole day in the office wearing my cycling shorts – luckily that day I had chosen baggies. Sitting @ my desk, you couldn’t tell…!

  2. Ghost Rider

    Ha — I cannot imagine wearing cycling shorts under dresspants all day. I’d MUCH rather go commando. TMI?

    As for socks, I solved that problem by developing a massive collection of cycling socks and wearing them for any occasion. Librarians tend to be somewhat quirky dressers, so my wild lime-green-and-white checkered “Swag Whore” socks from Interbike are quite dashing when coupled with chinos and dress shoes.

    But yeah, I’ve forgotten lunch, clothing articles, keys, helmet, magnetic swipe card, etc. Sometimes, it was a perfect excuse to just ride home and call in “sick” (God bless government employment)…other times, I improvised.

  3. Elizabeth

    Hmm… I’ve definitely forgotten things, especially if I switch out the pannier or backpack that I’m using or decide to “clean out” my pack. Luckily it’s never been anything too serious. But snacks for the day or stuff I intended to mail and sometimes the extra layer. Now I try to make it a point to always have a bag of extra layers (just in case one of those 30-degree temperature shifts sneaks up on me). I’ve had to loop back, too… and usually on the days I shouldn’t be late logging extra miles. πŸ˜‰

  4. John

    I have forgotten a few things down the Years all right. Like forgetting the Rain overtrousers on a frequent showery day in Dublin.I was OK going around the City in and out of Shops but on the way home was caught in a downpour and no where to shelter so my Trousers was saturated.

    On another occasion I went into the City and Grafton Street only to discover I forgot the lock,so into the nearest Bike Shop and bought a medium priced Padlock and covered insulated Chain/Treelock Brand /around €30 Euro expensive for just a browse around the Town then into Moore Street for Fruit and Veg.

    On another occasion I was in my local Supermarket Tesco Artane Dublin about 1 1/2 KM from Home and got all the groceries ,a big load of stuff . Got to the Checkout and discovered I did not bring my Wallet. I had to leave the big pile of food on the Tray and go home and come back with the Cash. I am sure they loved me that day.Dublin Ireland.

  5. daisy

    I keep lots of extra stuff at work. In my locker (where I shower) at the gym, I have an extra pair of underwear and a bra. In my office, I have a few pairs of shoes and extra socks.

    This lesson was learned the hard way.

  6. Mir.I.Am

    Oh MAN have I suffered the ails of forgotten undermaroos. Good thing there is usually a bikini or something at work that will do for the day! One time I did have to run out and buy a pair! Or you can always go commando…

    And sometimes a sweaty sports bra does NOT go well with business casual!

    Yesterday I just opted for wearing bike clothes all day long, no meetings or clients saw me! So it wasn’t worth rooting around in my bag o’back-up clothes at work… πŸ˜€

  7. Dalton

    I am like Ghost Rider above with the socks – I just don’t care what people think about my socks, so I wear cycle socks as my normal socks.

    As for forgetting, I have forgotten the underwear a few times and sometimes I forget my undershirt, but the worst is the belt. I forget that and I am totally screwed, so I have improvised a belt a few times by taking a strap off a bag and using that… nylon belt. Doh!

  8. Cliff

    With me it’s not so much clothes as it’s food. So many times I ride off without my lunch. Although my commutes only 4 miles so no biggie. It’s when I’m running late, decide to eat b-fast at work and forget my daily oatmeal that I’ve meticulously fixed; no instant oats in my house thank you very much. Lunch takes a lot longer to come around on those days πŸ˜‰

  9. Michael Snyder

    I forgot my work laptop at home. Which is problematic since I am a programmer. As I was getting close to work I was thinking to my self how good of time I made (I guage this by where I meet specific cars along my route) And how fresh my legs felt. After the ride home and back to work again my legs didn’t feel so fresh.

  10. BluesCat

    Like Dalton, one time I forgot my belt. Which is pretty weird because I avoid forgetting MOST things by — the second I park my bike when I arrive back at home in the afternoon — unpacking my work clothes and underwear, putting them in the dirty clothes hamper, and repacking my pannier for the ride in the next morning; and USUALLY that means I put a fresh pair of undershorts, socks and a t-shirt in a bag, and roll up a fresh pair of chinos and a polo shirt in a towel which I secure with my belt.

    I have forgotten my helmet a couple of times, but found that out less than a block from the house when I went to check the adjustment my helmet mirror and found myself just pawing the cool morning air next to my left temple.

    And one time I forgot my gym card, but the bar code reader at the front desk was broken so the gal just waved me by.

  11. bigbenaugust

    Other than going commando style for a few days in the last decade or so, last year I went up to SF Bike Expo on the train and accidentally took my wife’s car keys with me. We had gone to Farmers’ Market together and I got my bike out of the car to head for the train up to the Cow Palace… she texted me when I got off the train to ask me if I had her keys. Oops. She and our son had a nice bus ride and walk home and I came back with the car in the evening.
    I’d have been home a few hours sooner if not for having three flats that day…

  12. grantxyz

    Socks are the big one for me. This winter I forgot them AND had my first meeting off site (no access to the spare pair at my desk) and my winter cycling socks (Wisconsin) are super-thick expedition woolies that won’t physically fit inside my dress shoes .Think Don Johnson…

  13. Steve A

    I keep a pair of cowboy boots at work. With them, sock choice is pretty much irrelevant. Mostly it is lunch items I forget, or to grab my water bottle.

  14. Guy

    I’ve forgotten gloves or knew where they were and didn’t bother taking the time to go back for them. Or forgetting the rain gear. What’s hard now is anticipating that extra layer. Mornings are chilly but afternoons can be a bit warm. Since I use a backpack, I want to keep the stuff I bring as minimal as possible.

  15. NHcycler

    Because my shift frequently ends at midnight, I usually double and triple check my pack for the absolute essentials, as in lights and reflective gear, and, frequently, cold weather gear.

    Of course, since the parking lot is very well lit, forgetting to actually don the safety gear or actually turning the lights on…

  16. Ben

    I forgot my belt today because I only have one and it’s in my long riding pants and it’s warm enough for shorts today. Luckily the pants I took to work today aren’t to terribly loose.

  17. JonO

    I forget clothing all the time so I always have extra stuff in my gym locker. Worst ever was forgetting my pump one day and of course I got a flat. Spare innertubes yes, pumps no. I had to do the walk of shame the remaining four miles to work, angry…alone. (Orange County, CA)

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